Orania disticha

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Orania (oh-rahn-EE-ah)
disticha (dihs-TEE-kah)
Floribunda Palms and Exotics, Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Orania (oh-rahn-EE-ah)
disticha (dihs-TEE-kah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Pokengeh (Mekeo-Mapia), tidifa (Kutubu).

Habitat and Distribution

New Guinea. In Papua this species is found from the tip of the Bird's Head Peninsula
Floribunda Palms and Exotics, Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein.
region through Nabire in the central part to somewhere near the Idenburg (now Taritatu) river and the southern part of Papua New Guinea up to the south-central part. Abundant on low ridges of lowland tropical rainforest altitudes about 50 to 100 m and up to margin of primary rainforest in rather higher areas reaching about 810 m above sea level. (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)


Robust palm. Trunk about 15 - 20 m tall, about 20 - 23 cm in diam. breast high. Leaves 7 - 12 in the crown, distichously arranged, about 4.3 m long; leaf-sheath and petiole about 1.3 m long, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface with dense red-brown tomentum, margins disintegrating into fibres; petiole densely covered with red-brown tomentum; rachis about 3 m long, about 2.5 - 3 cm in diam.; leaflets elongate-lanceolate, regularly arranged, held in one plane, distance between 2 leaflets about 7 - 8 cm, about 90 - 150 cm long, 6.5 - 7.5 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous, shining, with possible wax, midrib robust, other ribs less robust but thick; abaxial surface with white indumentum, thin red-brown tomentum on the margin and some of the ribs, midrib robust. Inflorescence spreading, branching to 2 orders, glabrous, robust, about 1.2 - 1.3 m long; prophyll persistent, about 30 × 7 cm, disintegrating into fibres when old; peduncle about 3 cm in diam.; peduncular bract one, woody, persistent, about 1.3 m long, including about 15 cm acuminate tip, about 13 cm wide near base, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface with dense redbrown tomentum, splitting in the middle, disintegrating into fibres when old; first order branches about 56 - 60 cm long, rachillae bract about 3 - 5 mm long, 10 mm wide; rachillae robust, conspicuously zigzag, about 41 - 70 cm long each, bearing 65 - 115 flower clusters, triads proximally arranged up to about half part of rachilla, distally half part of rachilla with paired staminate flowers, the basal about 1.5 - 3.5 cm devoid of flowers, triads about 1.5 - 2.3 cm distant, rachilla glabrous. Staminate flowers pale creamy brown; with calyx of 3 united minute sepals; corolla with 3 free petals, about 13 - 14 mm long, 4 - 5 mm wide; stamens 6, filaments free, dark brown, about 1.7 - 2.3 mm long, anthers elongate-lanceolate, pale creamy yellow, always free, about 6.5 - 7 mm long; pistillode absent. Pistillode flowers pale creamy brown; with calyx of 3 united sepals, about 2 - 3 mm long; corolla with 3 free petals, about 8 - 12 mmlong, about 5 - 6 mm wide; staminodes 6, about 1.3 - 2 mm long; gynoecium dark brown, about 4 × 3 mm; stigma with 3 elongate lobes. Fruit globose or lobed, orange (see Burret 1935), about 5.5 - 6 cm in diam.; epicarp thin, smooth; mesocarp fibrous, about 3 mm thick; endocarp hard, red brown, about 1 mm thick; testa very thin, red-brown, covering the endosperm; endosperm homogenous, creamy white, about 4.5 - 5 cm in diam., about 1.5 cm thick, with hollow inside, about 2 cm wide. Embryo placed below middle line of seed. Eophyll bifid. (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


This species of Orania has it's leaves all on one plane as the name suggests, grows very well in subtropics and will take short periods of temperatures as low as 2 degrees C. This palm will grow to around 20+ m tall and is solitary likes a thick mulch up to 2 m around the palm in a sunny position with regular watering, fertilize once a year with a slow release fertilizer. Growing Climate: -Temperatures 2 degrees C to 40.C. (Utopia Palms & Cycads) Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Genus name; Honors the early 19th century Crown Prince of the Netherlands, F.G.L. Willem van Nassau, Prince of Orange. Species name; Distichous appearance.

Conservation: Near threatened (NT). The palm is known from nine different localities with a wide extent of occurrence but wherever it occurs, the vegetation is subject to extensive logging and disturbance from oil and gas extraction. (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)/Palmweb.

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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