Areca ahmadii

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Areca (ah-REHK-ah)
ahmadii (ah-MAH-dee)
Semengoh, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Areca (ah-REHK-ah)
ahmadii (ah-MAH-dee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Areca ahmadii is found in Borneo, Sarawak, 1st Division, known only from
Borneo. Photo by Clayton, Utopia Palms & Cycads
the type population. In lowland Dipterocarp Forest on gentle slopes by sluggish stream at about 20 m altitude. In April 1981 I counted about 30 plants of this curious palm. Were it not in flower, it would perhaps be passed over as a seedling of a species of Pinanga. (J. Dransfield. 1984)/Palmweb.


Acaulescent, solitary, undergrowth palmlet; stem very short, subterranean or somewhat decumbent c. 8 x 2.5 cm, bearing very close leaf scars and short stilt roots about 3 mm in diam. Leaf sheaths about 13 cm long, about 7 cm in basal circum- ference, apparently tardily abscising, scarcely forming a crownshaft, splitting along ? the entire length opposite the petiole, tinged dull purplish brown, longitudinally striate, and bearing scattered brown scales; ligule present but soon disintegrating. Leaf excluding sheath to about 1 m, often less, with petiole about 42 x 0.5 cm; leaflets narrow to broad-lanceolate, in the holotype 6 on each side of the rachis, fewer in some plants noted in the field, (1-) 2-4-ribbed, acuminate except for the apical 5-6-ribbed pair with short apical lobing; basal and mid leaf leaflets to 45 x 1.5 cm, apical pair to 30 x 6 cm, some what sigmoid, the apical lobing to 5 mm deep; lamina glabrous, adaxial surface rich dark green, shining when fresh, abaxial surface paler. Inflores- cence interfoliar; prophyll to 35 x 1.3 cm, flattened, tinged purplish, bearing scattered brown scales; peduncle becoming arcuate, about 200 x 2 mm, oval in cross section, somewhat increasing in width with age to 3 mm, purplish with scattered brown scales; rachillae 5-8, purplish, crowded at the end of the peduncle, at staminate anthesis about 60 x 1 mm, increasing as fruit develops to c. 110 x 2.5 mm. Flowers borne in triads only at the very base of the rachilla, usually no more than 1 triad per rachilla, sometimes no triad present, distally the flattened rachillae bearing a single row of pairs or solitary staminate flowers. Staminate flower sessile, greenish in bud, narrow-clavate, to 4 x 1 mm; calyx 1.5 mm, tubular at the base, tipped with 3 triangular lobes, the central line of each lobe somewhat thickened; petals 3, striate, free almost to the base, 3.5 x 1 mm; stamens 6, with anthers to 2 mm, filaments to 1 mm; pistillode absent; pollen white. Pistillate flower in bud 7 x 3-5 mm; sepals 3, imbricate, cucullate, to 7 x 3 mm; petals 3, imbricate to 6 X 2 mm; staminodes absent; ovary strongly trigonous to 4.5 x 1.5 mm. Mature fruit purplish black, fusiform, 4.3 x 1.4 cm, tipped with conspicuous trifid stig- matic remains; mesocarp thin, fleshy; endocarp thin, fibrous. Seed basally attached, narrow obclavate, 22 X 7 mm; endosperm deeply ruminate; embryo basal. (J. Dransfield. 1984)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

The interfoliar inflorescence with long peduncle is superficially very like that of A. brachypoda (see below) and A. subacaulis but the uniseriate staminate flowers indicate this species belongs to section Arecella rather than to section Microareca to which A. brachypoda and A. subacaulis belong. It is unlike any other species in the section because of the inflorescence position, but in details of flowers and fruit it conforms to the pattern common in the section. (J. Dransfield. 1984)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Ahmad bin Drahman, the supervisor of the Biological Centre at Semon-goh, was the discoverer of this palm and is commemorated in the specific epithet. (J. Dransfield. 1984)/Palmweb.

A handsome small-sized palm which is only found in Semengoh.

This species is named after Mr. Ahmad Drahman in honour of the first person who collected it. This palm is quite common in the low-lying areas in Semengoh Forest Reserve near Kuching. (J. Dransfield. 1984) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Dransfield, J.1984. The genus Areca (Palmae: Arecoideae) in Borneo. Kew Bulletin, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp 1-22.

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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