Gaussia princeps

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Gaussia (GAWS-sih-ah)
princeps (PREEN-sehps)
Gaussia princeps y bombacopsis.jpg
Bombacopsis cubensis on left. Viñales National Park, located in the Sierra de los Órganos range, in Pinar del Río province. Pnoto-PLANTS OF VIÑALES.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Gaussia (GAWS-sih-ah)
Species:
princeps (PREEN-sehps)
Synonyms
None set.
Native Continent
America
America.gif
Morphology
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
palma barrigona de sierra, palma de sierra, palma de sierra barrigona.

Habitat and Distribution

Cuba. Palm endemic to Sierra de los Órganos, The species grows on steep-sided
Cuba. Photo by Jason Schoneman.
limestone hills (known as mogotes) in Pinar del Río Province in western Cuba. In open forest, growing on embankments above rocks.

Description

10-15 m high; with whitish fusiform trunk, which are swollen at the base and slightly curved, wider at the lowest third and narrower towards the higher part trunk is 30 centimetres in diameter at the base. Trees have three to six pinnately compound leaves in the crown, leaves pinnate, bright green, up to 2.5 m; inflorescence between the leaves, amply supported on pedicels; fruits ellipsoid, with orange-red pericarp, 1 cm long and 7 millimetres in diameter, with one to three seeds. This species is very similar to Roystonea regia, but the trunk gets wider towards the base and narrower towards the top. Editing by edric.

Culture

Like all Gaussia, not to fussy in cultivation. Its enjoys a sunny spot in a tropical climate but will also do well in warm temperate regions that do not experience any more than a rare light freeze. Well drained soil is essential, limestone is preferred. It copes easily with drought and can take some exposure. Rarely grown in cultivation.

Comments and Curiosities

A moderate to large, solitary palm, native exclusively to westernmost Cuba, where it grows by the thousands on steep and mostly inaccessible karst limestone outcrops locally referred to as mogotes, often clinging to the bare rock with its thick, fleshy roots. Together with such species as Leucothrinax morrisii and Microcycas calocoma, it is perfectly adapted to this habitat and the strongly seasonal monsoonal climate. The Sierra Palm initially produces a pale, massively swollen, barrel-shaped trunk that tapers markedly when the palm reaches maturity and gives it a distinct similarity to the Bottle Palm, Hyophorbe. The crown holds 3 to 6 plumose leaves in a nearly distichous arrangement. Like all Gaussia, it is not fussy in cultivation. Its enjoys a sunny spot in a tropical climate but will also do well in warm temperate regions that do not experience any more than a rare light freeze. Well drained soil is essential, limestone is preferred. It copes easily with drought and can take some exposure. Despite its ornamental qualities and being quite common in its native habitat, like most Cuban palms it is still very rarely seen in cultivation. (RPS.com)


External Links

References

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).


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

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