| Dictyocaryum |
Hawaii. Photo by Bo-Göran Lundkvist.
Habitat and DistributionDictyocaryum lamarckianum is found in Eastern Panamá south through the Andes of
Canopy palm. Stem solitary, erect.
Stem more or less ventricose, to 25 m tall, 12-40 cm in diam. at base, 15-50 cm in diam. at swelling, 12-40 cm in diam. at apex, gray, smooth, with nodes obscure and internodes to 25 cm long; stilt roots to 150, nearly vertical, closely spaced, branched near or below ground level, to 1.5 m x 4-7 cm, longitudinally ridged with brown flaky scales, brown at first but becoming gray or black, with longitudinal lines of blunt spines. Leaves 3-6 per crown, stiffly spreading; sheaths forming a compact crownshaft, usually swollen at base by presence of inflorescence bud, 1.2-2.6 m long, glaucous, gray-green, outer surface with deciduous brown trichomes; petiole 7-75 cm long (including narrow, apical, petiolar part of sheath), 11-12 cm in diam. at base, 6-9 cm in diam. at apex, proximally rounded abaxially and shallowly grooved adaxially, from middle upwards terete, green, densely light brown-tomentose, glabrescent; rachis ridged adaxially, rounded abaxially, 2.7-5.0 m long, 6-9 cm in diam. proximally, tapering to filiform free apex, densely brown-tomentose adaxially, densely whitish-brown-tomentose abaxially; pinnae 3 5-54 per side of rachis, subop-posite, asymmetrically oblanceolate with blunt praemorse apex, gray-green glabrous adaxially, gray-white waxy abaxially with decidous hyaline trichomes, occasionally abaxially with lines 3 mm wide of dense white tomentum running parallel to veins, split to the base into 2-14 stiff segments inserted at different angles and radiating in different planes; proximal pinna split into 2-5 segments, proximal segment up to 67 cm long and 1 cm wide at mid-point; middle pinnae split into 7-15 segments, proximal segment 75-95 cm long and 5-8 cm wide at mid-point, distal segment 70-80 cm long and 1 cm wide at mid-point; apical pinna entire, flabellate, up to 20 cm long and 2.5 cm wide at mid-point. Inflorescence erect in bud and at anthesis, to 3 m long in bud; peduncle terete, straight, 35-80 cm long, half encircling stem at base and then abruptly narrowing to about 10 cm in diam. and tapering to 2.5-6 cm in diam. at apex, green, at first densely brown-tomentose, at anthesis with 8-9 bract scars; prophyll inserted at base of peduncle, caducous, ancipitous, coriaceous, tapering to apex, splitting apically and then longitudinally;
peduncular bracts 7-8, the first three inserted 2-7 cm apart, 15-40 cm long, similar to prophyll, the remaining four woody, with long non-splitting apex, 1-2 m long, occasionally an incomplete eighth peduncular bract present, this strongly folded under at base; prophyll and peduncular bracts green and densely tomentose on outer surface, glabrous and greenish white within; rachis 59-180 cm long, 2.5-6 cm in diam. at base and tapering toward apex; with similar tomentum to that of peduncle; rachillae 65-170, glabrous, spreading, cream-colored at anthesis, proximal ones branched into 3-9 rachillae, with a basal flattened sterile section to 25 cm long, 75-100 cm long proximally, 16-22 cm long distally, 2 mm in diam. at mid-point at anthesis (thickening to 4 mm in fruit), each subtended by a strongly cucullate bract from 3 cm long proximally to virtually absent distally; triads spirally arranged, 3-5 mm apart, with vestigial bracts; flowers proximally in triads, distally staminate in pairs or solitary, occasionally an inflorescence all staminate, yellow or cream-colored; staminate flowers 1 mm long; sepals depressed-ovate, 1x3 mm, very shortly connate proximally, imbricate, gibbous; petals lanceolate, 7 x 2 mm, very shortly connate proximally and adnate to receptacle, valvate; stamens six; filaments 1-2 mm long, adnate proximally to base of petals, abruptly tapering; anthers 5-6 mm long, sub-basifixed, latrorse; pistillode very short, blunt, 3-lobed; pollen with clavate or clavate-rugulate exine; pistillate flowers 2-3 mm long, surrounded by two vestigial bracteoles; sepals depressed-ovate, 2x2 mm, free, imbricate, fleshy; petals ovate, 3 mm long, 2 mm wide at base, briefly connate proximally, free and valvate distally; staminodes six, dentiform, 0.5 mm long; stigmas sessile, triangular, 0.5 mm long, erect at anthesis; ovary glabrous, 3-locular with usually only one ovule developing; fruit more or less globose (occasionally irregular when two seeds present), 2.5-2.8 x 2.3-3 cm, stigmatic scar sub-basal to lateral; epicarp glabrous, greenish-yellow at maturity and splitting irregularly; mesocarp 3-4 mm thick, white, with outer layer of sclereids and inner layer of tannins and fibers; endocarp papery; seed globose to oblong-ellipsoid, 1.7-2.5 x 1.6-2.2 cm, basally attached; raphe branches reticulate, spreading; hilum rounded; embryo basal; eophyll bifid. (Henderson, A. 1990)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Closely related to Iriartea which it resembles in flower structure and protandrous flowering pattern. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb.
The type of Dictyocaryum lamarckianum consists of two seeds. This species is interpreted from the type, the description, the description and illustration of Martius (1847), and from recent collections from near the type locality in Bolivia (Henderson & Solomon 521, 531, 533, Solomon 9540). Martius (1847) incorrectly described and figured the seeds as having a lateral embryo, whereas the type clearly has a sub-basal embryo, as pointed out by Wendland (1863). Also, Martius' (1847) illustration of Iriartea orbigniana, figured on the same plate as that of D. lamarckianum, contains a pinna clearly belonging to D. lamarckianum.
The type of Dictyocaryum schultzei consists of one large hanging sheet with a leaf section only. A paratype at B (Schultze 483) consists of a similar sheet with leaf section and a few pistillate flowers. Dictyocaryum schultzei is interpreted from the type, paratype, the description, and from recent collections from at or near the type locality (Henderson & Bernal 167, Romero-Castaneda 8257). Burret distinguished it from D. lamarckianum by its ventricose stem and smaller seeds. However, D. lamarckianum, as interpreted from specimens for which at least three stem diameter measurements (base, middle, apex) have been given (Henderson 98, 535, Henderson & Bernal 127,137,139,167, Balslev 4293, Balslev & Henderson 60671, 60664), always has a more or less ventricose stem, thus this character is not considered significant. Burret described seeds of D. schultzei as being globose and 1.8 cm in diam., and considered these smaller than those of D. lamarckianum. But Burret was using Martius' (1847) illustration for comparison, where seeds of D. lamarckianum are drawn as 2.5 cm in diam. This is clearly an exaggeration, because the actual type seeds, not seen by Burret, are 1.8-2 cm in diam.
The holotype of Dictyocaryum platysepalum is not at B, and is presumed destroyed. No isotypes are known. The neotype comes from the type locality. Dictyocaryum platysepalum is interpreted from the description and the neotype. Burret distinguished D. platysepalum from D. lamarckianum by its larger seeds, broadly ovate-elliptic, 2.5 x 2.2 cm, and with an equatorial constriction. Seeds preserved in alcohol from the neotype are globose, 2.5 x 2.2 cm, and lack an equatorial constriction. The differences between the seeds described by Barret, and those from the neotype are probably due to an artifact. Dictyocaryum platysepalum agrees with D. lamarckianum in all other respects.
The holotype of Dictyocaryum superbum in not at B, and is presumed destroyed. No isotypes are known. The neotype comes from the type locality. Dictyocaryum superbum is interpreted from the description and the neotype. Burret distinguished it from D. lamarckianum by its smaller seeds and swollen stem. Burret wrote that the seeds of the type were destroyed, but those from a second specimen (Schultze-Rhonhof 3027) were uninjured. These were described as globose, equatorially constricted, and 2.1 cm in diameter. Unripe seeds, preserved in alcohol, from the neo-type, are globose, 1.5 x 1.5 cm, and lack an equatorial constriction. Neither this seed size, or stem swelling, are considered significant characters with which to maintain D. superbum.
The type of Dictyocaryum globifemm consists of 10 sheets, containing relatively complete material. Dugand did not distinguish his new species from any of those previously described. Interpretation of D. globiferum rests on the description, the type, and a recent collection (Henderson & Bernal 127) from near the type locality. The type is similar in all details, within reasonable bounds of variation, to Henderson & Bernal 127, and both are similar in all details, within the same bounds, to specimens previously mentioned as representing D. lamarckianum.
In general, Dictyocaryum lamarckianum represents an uniform, but quantitatively variable, aspect. The inflorescence bud is almost always erect, and this is the most characteristic feature of the species, distinguishing it from the other two species. (Henderson, A. 1990)/Palmweb.
This is one of the most beautiful palms there are, but also one of the most difficult to grow... unless you live in a climate where it's from, many of the palms from high elevation near the equator are difficult to grow, since they have developed such an intolerance to cold AND heat, needing high humidity and a very narrow temperature range. Many attempts at growing this palm in So Cal have all met with failure, and as far as I know Miami growers can't do it either. However there are a number of beautiful specimens in Hawaii so it seems to tolerate a moderate humid heat pretty well... has a brilliant turquoise crownshaft topped with a large head of leaves and premorse leaflets that dangle down (like a weeping foxtail palm), all supported by an ornamentally ringed trunk and 2-3' of stilt roots (the trunk doesn't touch the ground)- amazing. It towers above the vegetation in its native central and south America (70' tall), (Geoff Stein).
Renowned as difficult to grow, it demands very high humidity year round, but can withstand quite cool conditions. HATES having roots disturbed, in any climate. Will not grow in Mediterranean climates, at least in the experience of some commentators. (David Bleistein)
Comments and Curiosities
Uses: In Colombia the fruits are eaten, and the leaves used for thatch. The stems are used as coffins by Embera Indians. In Peru the wood is used in construction. In Bolivia the palm hearts are eaten.
This fantastic species from the Andean Cloud Forest (to 2000 m (6500 ft.) makes even Roystonea look bland. Its smooth, slightly swollen trunk can reach to 25 m (80 ft.) and carries a large, grayish crownshaft and up to six enormous leaves. The stiff, long leaflets radiate in all directions, giving the leaf a very full appearance. Dictyocaryum will thrive in a humid and cool, tropical, subtropical, or warm temperate climate. We are proud to be able to offer this difficult-to-collect species again after several years. (RPS.com)
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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).
Borchsenius, F.1998. Manual to the palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador.
Henderson, A. 1990. Introduction and the Iriarteinae.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.