Heterospathe scitula

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Heterospathe
(heht-eh-roh-SPATH-eh)
scitula (sit-oo-lah)
HetSci.jpg
Photo-Rare Palm Seeds. com.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Heterospathe
(heht-eh-roh-SPATH-eh)
Species:
scitula (sit-oo-lah)
Synonyms
None set.
Native Continent
Oceania
Oceania.gif
Morphology
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
None.

Habitat and Distribution

Philippines. Luzon (Bicol Peninsula: Camarines Norte Prov. and Albay Prov.) In lowland
Cutler Bay FL. Photo by Andrew Street.
dipterocarp forest on gentle slopes; c. 100-200 m. Endemic. (E.S. Fernando. 1990)/Palmweb.

Description

Clustering, slender, undergrowth palm to 2 m tall. Stem about 1.5 cm in diam.; internodes to 2 cm long. Leaves pinnate, to 8 in crown, arching; young leaves reddish-brown; leaf including petiole to 50 cm long; leaf sheaths not forming a well-defined crownshaft, each to 10 cm long, folded, scaly, and drying striate, the edges not readily marcescent; petiole slender, about 20 x 0.3 cm, flattened adaxially, convex abaxially and covered with scattered, brown, peltate-lacerate scales, the edges sharply angled; the leaves including sheaths and petioles abscissing neatly from the stem; rachis covered above and below with brown, tomentose scales, rather dense, especially near leaflet bases. Leaflets 2-10 on each side of the rachis, very rarely of a single pair, uni- to pluri-costate, regularly arranged, spaced 2-4 cm apart, linear-elliptic with long acuminate tips to sigmoidal or slightly falcate towards apex, midribs and secondary nerves prominently elevated, the margins slightly thickened; ramenta prominent along midribs on undersurface, with smaller peltate-lacerate scales along secondary nerves, and the surface of the lamina puncticulate; basal leaflets 1- to 3-costate, about 37-41 x 0.8-2.3 cm; middle leaflets generally unicostate, about 34-41 x 0.7-1.2 cm; apical leaflets 2- to 5-costate, about 26-38 x 1.3-4 cm. Inflorescences infrafoliar, arching, 18-45 cm long, branching to 1 order only; peduncle about 14-23 x 0.5 x 0.3 cm, covered with tomentose scales; prophyll about 8-13 x 1-1.8 cm, flattened and 2-keeled, splitting apically, the surface lepidote-puncticulate; peduncular bract attached below middle of peduncle, to 34 x 2 cm, tubular near base, flattened near apex, splitting abaxially, the surface covered with ribbon-like to tomentose scales; rachillae 4-5, each about 14-20 x 0.3 cm, terete, lepidote-tomentose; triads borne spirally along rachilla and subtended by low, lip-like bracts about 1 x 1.5 mm. Staminate flower oblong, about 3 x 2.5 mm; sepals 3, imbricate, shorter than the petals, about 1.75 x 2 mm, ciliolate along the margins; petals 3, valvate, ± equal, striate when dry, acute at tip, 2.75 x 2 mm; stamens 6, anthers dorsifixed, 2 mm long, filaments 1 mm long, pistillode conical, 1.5 x 1.75 mm, trifid. Pistillate flower rounded in bud, shorter than the staminate flower, about 1.75 x 1.5 mm; sepals 3, imbricate, about 1.75 x 1.5 mm, rounded with acute tips, sparsely ciliolate along the margins; petals 3, imbricate at base with valvate tips, unequal, about 1 x 0.5 mm; pistil conical, 0.75 x 0.3 mm; staminodes minute, flattened, tooth-like, borne at base of pistil. Infructescence with arching rachillae. Fruit spirally arranged to 3 lax series, white, ripening orange-tinged then glossy red, spherical, about 8 x 6 mm, stigmatic residue obliquely apical, epicarp drying granulose with sclerosomes. Seed globose, about 5 x 5 mm, with prominent hilum; endosperm ruminate. (E.S. Fernando. 1990)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

H. scitula is certainly one of the most elegant species of palms indigenous to the Philippines. This species is similar to H. philippinensis and H. dransfieldii but differs in its neatly abscissing, shorter leaves with fewer leaflet pairs, and in its infrafoliar inflorescence. Two forms of H. scitula occur even within the same habitat: one with leaves having about 8-10 pairs of mostly unicostate leaflets; and the other with leaves having about 1-6 pairs of leaflets, mostly pluricostate. The two forms are otherwise indistinguishable. Both leaf character states have also been occasionally observed on different stems within the same clump. (E.S. Fernando. 1990)/Palmweb.

Culture

Comments and Curiosities

A dwarf palm from the island of Luzon in the Philippines that forms clusters of short, canelike trunks to 2 m (7 ft.) tall with small crowns of finely pinnate leaves. The emerging leaf displays a beautiful bronze color when opening. A rare gem for the understory of the tropical garden. (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).

Fernando, E.S.1990. The genus Heterospathe (Palmae: Arecoideae) in the Philippines. Kew Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 219-234.


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

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