Eremospatha haullevilleana

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(eh-reh-moh-SPAH-thah) haullevilleana
TC488 Eremospatha haullevilleana Cameroon Lele Sept2013 06.JPG
Near Lélé village, Cameroon, September 2013.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Eremospatha
Species: haullevilleana
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate, bifid as juvenile.
Survivability index
Common names
Muka, mbamba, lubamba (Kikongo), rattan.

Habitat and Distribution

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire. Eremospatha haullevilleana is found both in closed-canopy forest and in open areas.

Near Lélé village, Cameroon, September 2013.


Clustered slender to moderate palm climbing to 25 m. Stems circular in cross-section, without leaf-sheaths 6-15 mm in diameter, with 10-25 mm; internodes ±15 cm long. Leaf-sheath longitudinally striate, bearing sparse black caducous indumentum; ocrea entire, obliquely truncate, extending to 3-4 cm; knee absent. Juvenile stems up to 15 m long, stem with sheath <1 cm in diameter; petiole up to 15 cm long; leaves bifid, up to 40 cm × 25 cm, deeply notched with rather rounded lobes; cirrus emerging from the centre, up to 60 cm long, armed with inequidistant, reflexed, bulbous-based black-tipped thorns. Leaves on mature stems sessile, or with very short petiole up to 1.2 cm long; rachis 60-80 cm long, abaxially rounded, adaxially concave, becoming trapezoid, then triangular in cross section distally, armed along the margins with inequidistant reflexed, bulbous-based, black-tipped spines, indumentum absent; cirrus up to 80 cm, armed as the rachis, although spines becoming increasingly inequidistant and sparse distally; leaflets 8-14 on each side of the rachis, sub-opposite to alternate, cuneate, spathulate or ovate with an uneven, moderately to strongly praemorse apex, broadly contracted at the base, 9-24 cm long × 2-6 cm broad at the widest point, concolorous, with ciliate-spiny margins, up to 10 sub-equal main veins, transverse veinlets 1-2 mm distant, moderately prominent; lowermost leaflets smaller than the rest, sometimes reflexed and laxly clasping the stem, or absent entirely; acanthophylls up to 2 cm long, very fine. Inflorescence glabrous, up to 35 cm long; peduncle to 10 cm long; rachis up to 20 cm long, sometimes arching, more commonly straight, erect; rachis bracts up to 2 mm long, broadly acuminate; rachillae distichous, opposite, becoming sub-opposite distally, 7-12 on each side, the lowermost ca..7 cm long, decreasing distally, adnate to the inflorescence for 8 mm, less so distally, arching vertically or straight. Flowers borne in close sub-distichous pairs with <1 mm long triangular bracts subtending each dyad; calyx 5 mm × 3 mm wide at the mouth, with 3 rounded to triangular striate lobes; corolla 8 mm × 2 mm, divided to ¼ of its length; stamens borne on 3 mm-long epipetalous ring, anthers minute, ca.0.6 mm long; ovary ca.5 mm long, with stigma to ca.2 mm long at anthesis. Fruit at maturity, ovoid to almost cylindrical, 2.5-3 cm × 1.5-2 cm wide with 17-21 vertical rows of dull brown reflexed scales. Seed 2-2.5 cm long × 1.5 cm wide × 0.8-1 cm thick, flattened on one side, with slightly undulate margins; embryo lateral opposite the flattened side. (John Dransfield, A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae) in Phytotaxa 51. 2012)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Cold hardiness Zone: 11

Comments and Curiosities

The leaf bears a long barbed spine (called a cirrus) arising from between the leaf lobes, which it uses to climb to the forest canopy.

Present in secondary forest in DR Congo and the Central African Republic.

An important economic species. The stems are used for basket work and to make belts for climbing oil palm trees (Daeleman & Pauwels 1983). They are also used in house construction.

Conservation: Least concern.

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).

John Dransfield, A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae) in Phytotaxa 51. 2012

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

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