Cyrtostachys glauca

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Cyrtostachys (sihr-toh-STAHK-iss)
glauca (GLAW-kah)
Cyrt glau 080703 trz.JPG
Leilani Estates, 25 miles S of Hilo, Island of Hawaii. Photo by Bo-Göran Lundkvist.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Cyrtostachys (sihr-toh-STAHK-iss)
glauca (GLAW-kah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Vekintambu (Lababia dialect; Morobe), Hek (Madang dialect).

Habitat and Distribution

Cyrtostachys glauca is an endemic Papua New Guinean species. This palm is
Leilani Estates, 25 miles S of Hilo, Island of Hawaii. Photo by Bo-Göran Lundkvist.
distributed in Morobe, Milne Bay and Central Provinces. Growing in primary forest, or secondary forest, with scattered subsistence gardens, in lowlands to sloping terrain, or hill forest at an altitude of 30 – 400 m. above sea level.


Slender to moderate, clustering palm to 5.5 – 15 (– 21.6) m, withup to about 3 adult stems and up to 4 or more suckers at base, crown spherical in outline. Stem 5 – 15 cm in diam., bright green and becoming grey in age, nodal scars conspicuous; internodes 3.5 – 7.5 cm long. Leaves 6 – 8 per crown, leaves spreading, 172 – 410 cm long (including petiole); sheath tubular, 66 – 130 cm long, 8 – 22 cm wide, forming a distinct crownshaft, 70 – 240 cm long, bright glaucous, sparsely and minutely lepidote with membranous brown scales; petiole green, elongate, 25 – 88 (– 100) cm long, 2 – 3 cm wide and 1 – 1.6 cm thick at the base, rounded and rather densely and minutely brown lepidote below, concave and similarly lepidote or puncticulate above; leaflets regularly arranged. (Ch.D. Heatubun. 2009)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Cyrtostachys glauca, is easily distinguished from other species in its genus, by its spherical crown, glaucous leaf sheath and crownshaft, slender and elongate petioles, of more than 50 cm. long (– 100 cm.), papery leaflets, slender inflorescence, and rachilla with sparse superficial pits, and by the unique presence of trichotomosulcate pollen grains. This is a very peculiar species within Cyrtostachys, because of the nature of the pits along the rachilla. The pits are very shallow, or even lacking in a few specimens, and together with the tiny flowers (in bud), the species may be superficially confused, with Heterospathe or Rhopaloblaste. However, the generic characters such as presence of a crownshaft, connate petals, and stamens in staminate flowers; fruit and seed, morphology, still clearly indicate it as a species of Cyrtostachys. (Ch.D. Heatubun. 2009)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: Stems for building purposes.

This rare relative of the famed Sealing Wax Palm has a bluish green crownshaft. A slender, clustering palm for tropical regions. (

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).

Heatubun, Ch.D.2009. A monograph of Cyrtostachys (Arecaceae). Kew Bulletin 64: 67-94.

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

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