Licuala modesta

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Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
modesta (moh-DEHS-tah)
Photo-Malaysia Biological Diversity
Scientific Classification
Genus: Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
modesta (moh-DEHS-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & caespitose
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Malaysia, and Thailand. Peninsular Malaysia; Larut, and Perak.
Photo-Malaysia Biological Diversity


Medium-sized palm, solitary & often caespitose, with 1–3 dominant stems up to 3 m tall. Stem 2–3 cm in diam. often with numerous suckers at base. Leaf sheath 10–20 cm long; up to 120 cm long, armed basally with narrowly triangular spines, spreading to reflexed, up to 0.5 cm long; lamina divided in a variable number of segments, 7–22, these equal-sized with 3–5 adaxial ribs in many-segmented leaves to mid segment largest with 8–18 adaxial ribs in few-segmented leaves; mid segment 25–32 cm long; indentations leading to the adaxial folds about 2 cm long on mid segment, to 3 cm long on remaining segments. Inflorescence 22–57 cm long, with 1–5 partial inflorescences; peduncle 21–41 cm long; prophyll to 25 cm long; peduncular bracts lacking; rachis bracts chartaceous, splitting deeply to 17 cm on basal ones, mouth loosely sheathing; partial inflorescences often branching near the mouth of the rachis bract, with 1–4 rachillae; rachillae 7–14 cm long. Flowers solitary or gathered in cincinni of 2–3, on up to 0.5 mm, hairy stalks; calyx cylindrical with a slight constriction just above base, 2.5–3 mm long, wide and flattened basally, apex truncate to irregularly lobed, covered with scattered to dense coarse tawny golden brown hairs; corolla 4.5–5 mm long, densely covered with fine adpressed golden brown simple hairs, lobes 2.5–3.5 mm long; androecium with c. 0.5 mm high staminal ring; filaments filiform with triangular base, 0.5–1 mm long, anthers reniform, about 0.8 mm long; ovary glabrous, cylindrical with rounded apex, about 2 mm long; style filiform, 1.2 mm long. Fruit globose, about 0.9 cm in diam. (Palms of Thailand) Editing by edric.

I am unable to detect any appreciable differences between the forms' described by BECCARI and RIDLEY as L. Wrayi and L. modesta. The species produces very short inflorescences; in some there may be a few partial inflorescences separated by more or less elongated tubular spathes; in others the number of branches and the size of the spathes are reduced, so that the entire spadix may appear to bear directly the spikelets on its axis, though one or two liguliform spathes about 3-6 cm. in length will indicate the reduction that has taken place in the spathes; and in still others the ligule may be further reduced into small, inconspicuous bracteoles. If the definition of LICUALA were accepted, the specimens bearing these small bracteoles could not be kept in the subgenus that includes L. modesta, a reason why BECCARI was obliged to erect L. Wrayi. Some of the specimens cited above were referred. All informatiom copyright, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Tropical Moist Forest, Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos, edric.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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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