Areca mandacanii

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Areca (ah-REHK-ah)
mandacanii (mahn-dah-KAHN-ee)
INDONESIA: West Papua Province, Sorong Selatan Regency, Teminabuan District, Sayal Village. Photo by Dr. C.D. HEATUBUN.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Areca (ah-REHK-ah)
mandacanii (mahn-dah-KAHN-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Nggafa (Sayal dialect) and/or Pinang Hutan (Indonesian for forest betel nut).

Habitat and Distribution

West Papua Prov.: Sorong Selatan Regency, Teminabuan Distr, Sayal Village, Maampou forest.

New Guinea. Bird’s Head Peninsula of Western New Guinea.
Thailand. Photo by Cindy Adair.
This palm grows in forest transitional between swampy areas and lowland rain forest, where the soils are temporarily inundated by water. Other palms that occupy the same habitat are Areca macrocalyx, Calyptrocalyx sp., Drymophloeus litigiosus, Licuala beccariana and Sommieria leucophylla. (Dr. CHARLIE DANNY HEATUBUN Departemen Biologi, Sekolah Pascasarjana Institut Pertanian Bogor, Bogor, Jawa Barat, Indonesia.)


Solitary, moderate pleonanthic, tree palm. Stem up to 15 m tall, 8–10 cm in diam.; internodes 13–30 cm long, dark green, shiny, nodal scars conspicuous, white. Leaves 8 in crown, pinnate, appearing plumose, 200–250 cm long (including petiole); sheath tubular, about 92 cm long, smooth, light green; crownshaft well defined, up to 152 cm long and up to 15 cm diam.; petiole short to 6 cm long, channelled adaxially, rounded abaxially; rachis somewhat arching, with adaxial longitudinal ridge, rounded abaxially; blade with irregularly arranged leaflets, divided into 13–15 groups, about 60 leaflets on each side, held in several planes, near petiole small and gradually becoming larger, terminal leaflets regularly arranged (about 13 or 14 leaflets); leaflets somewhat arching, single-fold, linear, 55–60 cm long, 2 cm wide, tip acuminate, notched, split to 3 cm long and pointed in a few leaflets near the petiole, papery, green adaxially and light green abaxially. Inflorescence infrafoliar, about 60 cm long at anthesis, protandrous, branching to 2 or 3 orders; peduncle 5 cm long, green with numerous minute red-brown dots; prophyll 64 × 6 cm, borne about 1/3 way up the peduncle, lanceolate, 2-keeled, papery, cream to light brown, entirely enclosing the inflorescence, then splitting longitudinally and falling before staminate anthesis; rachis green to whitish green; rachis bracts not persistent; rachillae numerous, 37 cm long, covered by light brown to chocolate-brown thick indument, highly contrasting with the rachis, first branching rachillae about 50 cm long, elongate. Staminate flowers small, triangular, 4.5 × 2.5 mm, asymmetric; sepals 3, low, about 2 × 1 mm; petals 3, strongly keeled, 4.5 mm long, cabout 1.25 mm wide at basal; pistillode 2.5 × 0.5 mm, trifid, dark brown; stamens 6, 1.5 mm long, sagittate; anthers 1.5 mm long, arrow head shape, creamy, longer than the filaments, twisted basally; filaments 0.5 mm long, dark brown. Pistillate flowers larger than the staminate, triangular, 10–13 mm in diam., sitting on the branch-nodes; sepals 3, imbricate, triangular, 10–13 mm long, 10–12 mm wide, 1–3 mm thick, asymmetrical, thicker at base, cream to light green; petals 3, imbricate, triangular, 13 × 10 mm, 0.5 mm thick, cream; staminodes ovate, 10 mm high, 9 mm wide, pointed, brown coloured at the tip, fleshy. Fruits ellipsoidal, 65–70 × 42–45 mm, with conspicuous woody discoid depression at apex, shallowly concave, 10–12 cm diam., stigmatic remains persistent in centre of depression, perianth persistent; epicarp smooth, shiny, about 0.5 mm thick, dark green when young, turning to golden yellow or light orange when mature; mesocarp fibrous, ca. 10 mm thick, but much thicker at the base of fruit (below the seed), where about 20 mm thick; endocarp very thin, adhering closely to seed; seed subglobose, about 28 × 25 mm; endosperm deeply ruminate; embryo basal. (Dr. CHARLIE DANNY HEATUBUN Departemen Biologi, Sekolah Pascasarjana Institut Pertanian Bogor, Bogor, Jawa Barat, Indonesia.) Editing by edric


Cold Hardiness Zone: 11

Comments and Curiosities

A new species of Areca related to A. catechu has been discovered in swampy areas in western New Guinea. This remarkable palm has future potential not only as a nut-crop species, but also for its ornamental horticulture value. As part of the Palms of New Guinea project (Baker 2000, 2002), the author conducted a field trip to the area of Teminabuan (south of Sorong) in the Bird’s Head Peninsula of Western New Guinea in 2003. See external link.

Uses: The stem of this palm is used for flooring by local people for their houses and the seed is chewed as a substitute for betel nut (A. catechu L.).

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).

Dr. CHARLIE DANNY HEATUBUN Departemen Biologi, Sekolah Pascasarjana Institut Pertanian Bogor, Bogor, Jawa Barat, Indonesia

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

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