Hydriastele cylindrocarpa

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Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
Ho'olamuhia Botanical Gardens, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
motoual (fide Harland).

Habitat and Distribution

New Hebrides.
Ho'olamuhia Botanical Gardens, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein.

Native to rainforests on the Santa Cruz Islands (part of the Solomon Islands) and Erromango, Malekula, Ureparapara, and Vanua Lava in Vanuatu, in the South West Pacific between near sea level and 800 m. (RPS.com) Editing by edric.


Solitary palm to 27 m rn height; stems to 15 cm in diameter; Ieaves about 18 in a crown, strongly arcuate, with pinnae erect; sheath to 95 cm long, petiole to 25 cm long, rachis ca. 2-2.5 m long; upper sheath, petiole and rachis lepidote with reddish and white scales; pinnae about 55 on each side, to 95 cm long, to 3:3 cm wide, apex notched, lower surface with a few whitish ramenta near the base on the midrib. Inflorescence branchine to 2 orders, the lowerp rimary branches divided into about 4 rachillae, with about 25-32 rachillae altogether; rachillae to 43 cm long, 2-2.5 mm wide, bearing up to about 190 traids. Staminate flowers (mature?) 2.5 mm long (Kajewski 6-ll), stamens 6. Pistillate flowers 2.5-4 mm high, 2.25 mm broad, staminodes 2-6. Fruit apparently yellowish at maturity, cylindrical to somewhat ovoid, slightly curved, l2-I3 X 5-6 mm, cupule about 3.5 mm high; seed with homogeneous endosperm. (Frederick B. Essig 1973) Editing by edric.

This species seems to be most closely related to H. hombronii. Stamen number is different, and there may be a difference in ripe fruit color, but the cylindrical nature of the fruit does not seem to hold up well when specimens other than the type are examined. The anatomy of the pericarp is most similar to that of H. hombronii. (Frederick B. Essig 1973)


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Once known as Gulubia cylindrocarpa. It forms a tall, slender, solitary trunk to 27 m tall, that holds a large, glaucous crownshaft and a crown of elegantly and strongly arching, deeply keeled and finely pinnate leaves. Plants that grow under the forest canopy hold broad leaves that are only sparsely divided or completely undivided in the manner of Pelagodoxa, or the new Hydriastele boumae from Fiji. Even though it makes a fabulous ornamental for the tropics and is as easy to grow as an Hydriastele, it is very rarely seen in cultivation. (RPS.com), edric.

Gorgeous palm, with pale yellow to silvery green crownshaft 8' long, strongly arched leaves, with upright leaflets forming a V shape looking down the leaf, and stilt roots as a younger palm. Young palms also have entire leaves (unsplit), and look a lot like Pelagodoxas. From the Solomon and Vanuatu Islands. These are marvelous landscaping palms, and should be grown everywhere in the tropics-hard to get better looking palms than these. As of January 2007 Dransfield has officially reclassified this species, and all Gulubia species, into the genus Hydriastele. (Geoff Stein), edric.

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).

Frederick B. Essig, University of South Florida, Tampa Florida.

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

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