Heterospathe barfodii

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barfodii (bar-FOH-dee)
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Scientific Classification
Genus: Heterospathe
barfodii (bar-FOH-dee)
Was misclassified as Heterospathe glauca.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Papua New Guinea. Known only from one wild collected specimen, from the lowlands of mainland Milne
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Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Lowland tropical rainforest vegetation at about sea level. The type locality is an open grassy area at the side of a dirt road through the forest (L.M.Gardiner, J. Dransfield, J.Marcus and W.J.Baker. 2012)/Palmweb.


"This is an unusual Heterospathe... solitary pinnate palm, but with a well developed and striking crownshaft of nearly pure white (no other Heterospathes I know have a crownshaft)." (Geoff Stein)

Medium, solitary palm. Stem erect to (2-) 8 m tall, 7 -10 cm in diam.; leaf scars 1-2 cm wide; internodes 3-10 cm (up to 17 cm in juvenile stem); green to dark brown but upper few internodes covered with white farinaceous indumentum. Leaves 7-9 in the crown; sheaths 55-67 cm long, forming a well-defined crownshaft, pale green, covered with dense, thin farinaceous white indumentum with scattered, minute, pale brown, white-edged scales; petiole 20-40 cm long, concave adaxially, bright green, indumentum as for sheath; rachis 205-240 cm long, 10-12 mm wide at midpoint; leaflets 38-56 per side, borne 4 cm apart (along mid-section of leaf), regularly arranged, in a single plane, held horizontally with tips drooping slightly, narrowly to broadly linear, leathery, singlefold but apical leaflet pair sometimes multifolded and partially joined, tapering to bifid apices, bright green, concolorous, red-brown or whitish medifixed ramenta to 5 mm long scattered on abaxial surface of proximal portion of midrib and secondary veins, transverse veinlets conspicuous, proximal leaflets 39.5-49 cm long, 1.2-2.1 cm wide, middle leaflets 67-78 cm long, 4-5.5 cm wide, distal leaflets 22-23.5 cm long, 1.5-2.4 cm wide. Inflorescence 68-99 cm long, infrafoliar, branched to 3 orders, branches spreading, deep maroon at anthesis; prophyll 25-34 cm long, 5-7 cm wide, opening apically, persistent, covered with white farinaceous indumentum; peduncular bract similar to prophyll, caducous or persistent, exserted from prophyll, insertion about 14 cm from base of the peduncle, enclosed within prophyll; peduncle 32-33 cm long, 20-22 mm wide; rachillae 14-36 cm long, 2.5-3 mm in diam., with about 6 triads per 1 cm, rachilla bracts minute to 1 mm, triangular; all inflorescence axes sparsely covered with floccose to lanate brown to pale brown indumentum, diminishing along branches. Staminate flower 2.9-3.7 mm long, 2.7-3.3 mm in diam. in bud, ovoid; 7.5-8.4 mm in diam. and deep maroon at anthesis; sepals 3, imbricate, thick, triangular, 1.1-1.5 mm long, 1.0-1.7 mm wide; petals 3, 3.0-4.0 mm long, 1.7-2.4 mm wide, valvate, triangular; stamens 6-9, 4.2-5 mm long; filaments 3-3.5 mm long, 0.4-0.5 mm in diam., fused at base for 0.4 mm to form a ring around pistillode, white, inflexed; anthers 1.2-1.9 mm long, 0.6-0.9 mm wide, medifixed; pistillode 1 mm long, 0.8 mm in diam. at base, conical, minutely trifid. Pistillate flower immature, bud about 4.9 mm long, about 2.7 mm in diam., globose-ovoid, deep maroon; gynoecium about 2.1 mm long, about 0.9 mm in diam., perianth imbricate. Fruit 1 cm in diam., spherical, surface striate, red when mature; perianth cupule clasping; stigmatic remains subapical; endocarp thin bony, dark brown; occasionally bilobed with two developed carpels or one developed and one partially developed carpel. Seed 7 mm in diam., spherical, pale brown; endosperm ruminate; embryo basal. (L.M.Gardiner, J. Dransfield, J.Marcus and W.J.Baker. 2012)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Reasonably fast growers. Supposedly it has some cold hardiness.

Comments and Curiosities

This is a tillering palm, it exhibits saxophone style root growth (it has a heel), keep top third of heel above soil elevation!

External Links


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).

L.M.Gardiner & , Dransfield, J. , Marcus, J.W.J.Baker. 2012. Heterospathe barfodii, a New Species from Papua New Guinea.

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

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