Eremospatha laurentii

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laurentii (law-REHN-tee)
Congo, Likouala, Likouala aux Herbres River; c. 4000 upstream from brigde at Matoko, Voucher: Moutsamboté 6145 (E)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Eremospatha
laurentii (law-REHN-tee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zaire.
Congo, Likouala, Likouala aux Herbres River; c. 4000 upstream from brigde at Matoko, Voucher: Moutsamboté 6145 (E)
This species occurs predominantly in the lowland forests of the northern Congo Basin. However, intriguingly, there are out-liers of this species found in the forests of Upper Guinea, with a pronounced dis-junction from Ivory Coast to Benin. Eremospatha laurentii is found in both open areas as well as in closed-canopy forest. However, this species responds particularly well to selective logging and is a common component of regrowth vegetation where it occurs.


Clustered robust palm climbing to 30 m long. Stems ± triangular in cross-section, without sheaths, 18-24 mm in diameter, with 25-30 mm; internodes 10-16 cm. Leaf sheath lightly striate, moderately to profusely covered in caducous grey-black indumentum, or indumentum absent; ocrea entire, obliquely truncate, extending for 1-2 cm; knee conspicuous, narrow, linear, 5-8 cm long, rather abrupt at base. Leaves sessile, up to 3m long; rachis 1.2-1.5m long, abaxially rounded, adaxially convex to concave, becoming trapezoid then triangular in cross-section distally, sparse grey indumentum present below, or absent, armed along the margins with robust reflexed, bulbous-based, black-tipped, spines, becoming sparsely armed distally; cirrus 1.2-1.5 m long, unarmed; leaflets up to 30 on each side of the rachis, inequidistant, opposite to sub-opposite, linear-lanceolate to ovate, bluntly contracted at the base, very finely acuminate at apex, with apex often breaking off giving slightly blunt appearance, 22-38 cm long × 2.8-3.8 cm broad at the widest point, concolorous, armed along the margins with slender to robust black-tipped yellow spines, with about 6 moderately conspicuous transverse veinlets 1-2 mm apart; lowermost leaflets, smaller than the rest, linear, strap-like, armed along the margins with robust bulbous-based black-tipped yellow to orange spines, laxly swept back across, or tightly clasping stem; acanthophylls 3-4 cm long. Inflorescence glabrous, 24-32 cm long; peduncle 10-15 cm long, somewhat flattened in cross-section; rachis 12-17 cm long, erect, arching; rachillae distichous 8-10 on each side, 5-16 cm long, decreasing distally, adnate to the inflorescence axis for 3-5 mm; rachis bracts, acuminate, <4 mm long, decreasing distally; flower cluster subtended by <1.0 mm. long incomplete bracts. Flowers borne in close pairs; calyx 4 mm long × 5 mm wide at the mouth, with 3 rounded, striate, 1.5-mm long lobes; corolla 7-9 mm × 3-4 mm, divided to ¼ of its length; stamens united into 4 mm-long epipetalous ring, free filaments <0.1 mm, anthers <0.5 mm; ovary 1 mm × 1.5 mm, tipped by 1 mm long style. Fruit at maturity, 1-seeded, globose or cylindrical, 1.6-2.2 cm long × 1.7-2 cm wide, with 18-22 vertical rows of scales. Seed ± compressed, 1-1.2 cm long × 0.8-1 cm wide × 0.6-0.8 cm thick, rounded on one side, embryo lateral, raised into conspicuous 1.5 mm-long stalk-like organ (T.C.H Sunderland, A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae) in Phytotaxa 51. 2012)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Specific epithet in honor of Marcel Laurent (1879?1924), Belgian botanist.

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).

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

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