Nenga macrocarpa

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Nenga (NEHN-gah)
macrocarpa (mak-roh-KAR-puh)
Photo-Malaysia Biological Diversity.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Nenga (NEHN-gah)
macrocarpa (mak-roh-KAR-puh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

South Thailand and Malay Peninsula.
In dense humid forest; about 150-1,300 m alt., more widespread in the Malay Peninsula where it is common at higher altitudes. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb.


Solitary, robust palm. Stem about 2-6 m long, 4-6 cm in diam.; internodes to about 15 cm long, smooth, green to greenish-brown. Crownshaft elongate, cylindrical or slightly angular, to about 60 cm long, often swollen. Leaves to 7 in crown; leaf sheath about 2045 cm long, pale green with dull purplishbrown specks; petiole about 10-55 X 1.5 cm. Leaflets to 30 on each side of the rachis, drying brown; basal leaflets narrowly linear-acuminate, 1 costate, about 3040 X 0.7-1.3 cm; middle leaflets 2-3 (5) costate, about 30-65 X 1-3 (5) cm, longacuminate; terminal leaflet pair 2-4 (6) costate, about 25-40 X 1-3 (4) cm, longacuminate or slightly toothed at tips, the pair sometimes joined to 9 cm at the base along the rachis. Inflorescence infrafoliar, subpendulous to pendulous; prophyll ensiform or lanceolate, about 20-30 X (3.5) 45 cm, slightly purplish, drying brown, caducous; peduncle about (1.5) 2-3 (3.5) X 1-1.8 cm, flattened, glabrous; peduncular bract narrowly triangular, to about 3.5 cm long, 8 mm wide at the base, membranous; rachillae 3-4, rarely to 5, about 2545 cm long, to 8 mm thick, glabrous, each subtended by a membranous, triangular bract to 5 X 5 mm. Staminate flower triangular, asymmetric, flexuous; sepals equal or subequal, subulate, acutely and dorsally carinate, flexuous, about 6-13 mm long; petals elliptic to elliptic-Ianceolate, acuminate, equal or subequal to the sepals; filaments ca. 2 mm long; anthers erect, linear, ca. 3-4 mm long, sagittate at base; pistillode of 2-3 tubercles. Pistillate flower shorter than the staminate flower; sepals about 4-6 X 5-6 mm, petals as the sepals, often smaller, about 4 X 3-4 mm; ovary ovoid to subglobose, to 3 X 2 mm; stigma distinctly 3-lobed; staminodes of 6 minute teeth. Infructescence pendulous. Fruit ripening purplish-black, ellipsoid, about 3-4 (4.5) X 1.3-1.7 cm, prominently beaked, tipped with a distinct 3-lobed stigma to 3 mm high, the lobes erect; epicarp often drying with longitudinal ridges; the inner apical part usually with a distinct cylindrical or conical, corky solid tissue. Seed broadly ovoid, about (1.2) 1.5-1.6 (1.8) X (0.7) 1-1.2 cm, abruptly spinescent at tip; base truncate, shallowly concave. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

This species is apparently a strictly solitary palm, although it has sometimes been erroneously reported as occurring in clumps. Nenga macrocarpa is easily distinguished by its staminate flowers with equal or subequal perianth parts, and its large ellipsoid fruits which are prominently beaked and tipped by a distinct 3-lobed stigma. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

An attractive, small palm from Southeast Asia with slender, cane-like stems and a spreading crown of finely pinnate leaves. A rarely seen ornamental for the understorey in the humid tropical garden. (

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to, 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).

E.S. Fernando, A Revision of the Genus Nenga. 1983. 1983. A Revision of the Genus Nenga. Principes 27: 55-70.

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

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