| Kentiopsis (Kent-ee-OHP-sis) |
East side of Mont Panié. Alt. 700 m., New Caledonia.
Habitat and DistributionEndemic to New Caledonia, Kentiopsis piersoniorum, occurs in a very limited
It was at one time refered to as "Mackea champagne", due its wide color range - powder blue-green leaves, pinkish petiole, yellow petiole base, and mint green base.
An emergent palm. Trunk 10-15 m. tall or more, 18-25 cm. in diam., gray, sometimes with an expanded base. Crown holds l0-12 leaves, sharply recurved; crownshaft 80-120 cm. long, purplish-green to purple, obscured by a layer of bright glaucous wax, and dotted with tiny brown scales abaxially, only slightly splitting opposite petiole and there bearing small auricles 1 cm long; petiole 12-18 cm. long, rachis 2.2-2.3 m. long, petiole and rachis purplish, covered initially by dense short white tomentum, then glabrescent; pinnae 35-40 on each side, median ones 110 X 3-4.5 cm., proximal 2 pairs continuing into lorae, all straight, narrowly acute, coriaceous, l-ribbed, ascending in a narrow V, adaxially waxy, glaucous-green, midrib bearing abaxially twisted brown ramenta on proximal l/2 to 3/4 of the pinnae. Inflorescences 80-100 cm. wide, spreading, branched to three orders, all parts except flowers and bracts strikingly glaucous and discretely spotted, with minute, brown scales; peduncle short, encircling half the trunk; prophyll 60-70 X 20 cm., acute, with marginal wings 2-5 cm. wide; first peduncular bract 60-70 X 15-18 cm. rostrate, both bracts densely covered abaxially with brown indument; rachis 30 cm. long, main branches 6-10 cm. long, 1-2 cm. wide, ± rounded, swollen at base; bracts subtending branches small, triangular proximally, reduced to a low ridge distally; rachillae 100-200 or more, 35 cm. long, 0.5 cm. in diameter, straight to reflexed, rounded, glabrous. Flowers in triads in proximal 2/3-3/4 of rachilla, bract subtending triads a thin, sharpedged, rounded shelf 1.5-1.75 mm. high; flowers glossy, dark brown in bud, flowering basipetally; staminate flowers in bud 9.5 X 4.5 mm., bullet-shaped, slightly asymmetrical; calyx 4 X 6 mm., cupular, triangular, sepals cup-shaped, rounded or truncate apically, strongly angled abaxially; petals 8 X 4.5 mm., long-ovateo connate in basal l/4-1/3, pink adaxially; stamens 35-38, exceeding petals, filaments 5 mm. long, slender, white, attenuate apically, straight or inflexed, free or nearly so, anthers 4-4.5 mm. long, slender, dorsifixed 1.5 mm. from base, connective narrow tanniniferous; pistillode 3.5-4 mm. high, 2/3 as high to equalling filaments, conic basally, attenuate apically; outer bracteole surrounding pistillate flower conspicuous, 2.5 mm. high, inner bracteole very large, sepal-like, 4.5 mm. high, only partly surrounding flower on one side, rounded; pistillate flowers at anthesis 10 X 5 mm., ovoid-elongate; calyx 5 X 5.5 mm., cupshaped, sepals broadly rounded apically; petals cup-shaped, acute apically; staminodes 6, thick, connate basally and forming a crownlike ring 0.6 mm. high; gynoecium 6 X 4 mm at anthesis, ovoid, stigmatic lobes thick, blunt, straight at anthesis, recurved later, angled, ovule pendulous. Fruits 17-23 x 9-10 mm., cylindrical and smooth when fresh, purplish, drying bullet-shaped and pebbled, fruiting perianth 6.5 mm. high, stigmatic remains apical; mesocarp with a layer offlat, mostly separate, longitudinal fibers included in a thick layer of tannin cells; endocarp thin. Seeds 10-15 x 6.5-7 mm., bullet-shaped but truncate at both ends, endosperm homogeneous. Seedling with deeply bifid eophyll, lobes narrowly lanceolate to 15 cm. long, with prominent nerves adaxially; trunkless juvenile individuals with spirally arranged leaves; saxophone growth absent. Anthesis occurs from November through April; fruits mature from August through October. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Kentiopsis piersoniorum is an impressive and spectacular palm. The sharply recurved grayish leaves and glaucous crownshaft are remarkable, even among the many palm species with recurved leaves on Mt Panié, the strikingly glaucous color of the inflorescence contrasts aesthetically, with the glossy brown buds, pink petals, white filaments, and yellow anthers of the staminate flowers. Unfortunately for visitors, the breathtaking populations of K. piersoniorum are hardly accessible. Kentiopsis piersoniorurn is distinctive by the complete staminodial ring, but also by its low rate of reproduction and long delay, (one month) between anthesis of staminate and pistillate flowers in the same triad. Kentiopsis piersoniorum resembles K. magnifica in inflorescence morphology, both species having stout glaucous and sparsely scaly branches, glossy-brown buds and unequal bracteoles, the inner one sepal-like, but they differ markedly in flower shape and structure, leaf shape, and indument. The two species occur about 50 air kilometers apart. Taxonomic history: H. E. Moore, Jr. first collected this species in 1971. Despite vegetative differences, Moore assigned it to Mackeea rnagnifica, basinghis decision on his incomplete collection consisting only of immature fruits. We were able to collect this palm in flower in 1995-I996, the more complete material showing it to be a distinct species. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb.
Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Likes lots of moisture. Adapts easily to cultivation in tropical as well as many warm temperate climates, but is slow growing. Anthesis occurs from November through April; fruits mature from August through October. It's suggested flowering might be normally biennial or even more infrequent with the production of only a single inflorescence each time. It is very rare in cultivation due to its slow growth.
Comments and Curiosities
THIS IS THE ONLY KENTIOPSIS THAT DOES NOT EXIBIT SAXOPHONE STYLE ROOT GROWTH, IT IS NOT A TILLERING PALM (it doesn't have a heel).
Conservation: Status is low risk but conservation dependant (LRcd, proposed according to IUCN ). Although very abundant at the place where it occurs, K. piersoniorum is restricted to several hundred hectares of forest only. The population of K. piersoniorum is afforded some protection, especially against fire, since it occurs entirely in the Mt Panié Botanical Reserve where its habitat is undisturbed and difficult to access. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb.
Etymology: The epithet honors the Pierson families, Robert and Geneviéve of Tontouta and their sons and daughters-in-law, Jean and Chantal, and Gilles and Marie-Christine of Noum6ao, who have gone to exceptional measures to increase our knowledge of New Caledonia palms, and encourage and support our work, leading to a book on this island's extraordinary palms. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb.
A spectacular and exceedingly rare palm found only in one small area of rainforest between 400 and 1000 m in northern New Caledonia. It forms a slender trunk to 15 m tall with a dense crown of strongly recurving, deeply keeled, grayish green leaves, held by a very distinctive, prominent, waxy, purplish gray crownshaft. It is one of the most beautiful and elegant palms from New Caledonia and adapts easily to cultivation in tropical as well as many warm temperate climates but is slow growing and only a few plants exist outside of its natural habitat. RPS.com)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- New Caledonia photos in habitat.
- Bill Sanford's video 1
- Bill Sanford's video 2
- At Gary Le Vine's place. Video by Troy Donovan.
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).
Pintaud, J.-C. & Hodel, D. 1998. A Revision of Kentiopsis, a Genus Endemic to New Caledonia. Principes 42(1) 32-33, 41-53.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.