Iguanura curvata

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Iguanura (ig-oo-ah-NOOR-ah)
curvata (koor-VAH-tah)
Photo by Clayton York, Utopia Palms & Cycads.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Iguanura (ig-oo-ah-NOOR-ah)
curvata (koor-VAH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to the rainforests of Sarawak in Borneo.
Photo by Clayton York, Utopia Palms & Cycads.


Caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps) palm with stem 1.5-3.5 m tall and 1.5 cm in diam.; internodes 2.5 cm long. Leaf sheath tough and fibrous, 15 cm long, very densely rusty-tomentose; petiole 40-47 cm long; lamina 36-54 cm long with 3-5 pairs of pinnae; pinnae 21-28 x 2.5-8 cm, with lower veins and rachis densely rufous-hairy. Inflorescences borne among the leaves; prophyll as long as leaf sheath; second peduncular bract projecting 8 cm beyond the leaf sheath, densely brown-tomentose. Inflorescence to 49-57 cm long, with peduncle to 29 cm; rachillae 4-8 in number, 19-33 cm long, the lowermost rachillae sometimes with second-order branching. Staminate flower with calyx 1 mm long, corolla 3 mm long, ribbed; stamens with lobed anthers 1.5 mm long, tissue in the stomial region with conspicuous large raphides; pistillode columnar, 2.5 mm long. Pistillate flowers (immature) with calyx 1 mm long; corolla 2 mm long and ribbed; staminodes minute; ovary ovoid, 1.5 mm long. Fruit elongate, 1.5 cm long by 5-6 mm broad at the base, tapering to 3 mm at the apex, with 3 ribs on the dorsal side and 2 lateral ribs extending less than half way from the base of the fruit, apex curved towards the basal stylar remains; young fruit green, turning white and ripening red. Endosperm homogeneous, curved and smooth (without ribs). (R. Kiew. 1979) Editing by edric.

No other species of Iguanura has curved and ribbed fruits. The Malayan L corniculata Becc. and L polymorpha Becc. have curved fruits which are not ribbed and both these species have trapezoid pinnae (i.e. the lateral veins diverge from the midrib towards the margin). I. myochodoides Kiew from Sarawak has elongate ribbed fruits but they are not curved and its inflorescence has much shorter rachillae (7-9 cm long). (R. Kiew. 1979)


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

A small palm from the understory of rainforests in Sarawak on the island of Borneo with a thin, cane-like stem and a small, spreading crown of sparsely pinnate leaves with wide, fishtail-shaped leaflets. The emergent leaf unfolds in a beautiful, dark reddish brown tone. In cultivation it is best suited to the humid tropics but will do well in some warm temperate regions as well. It likes a protected spot out of the sun. (RPS.com)

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the curvature of the fruit.

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).

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

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