Phoenix acaulis

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Phoenix (FEH-niks)
acaulis (ah-KOW-liss)
Sp 122 1.jpg
Palo Alto, CA. Jack Tomsky Garden. Photo by Jack Tomsky.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Phoenix (FEH-niks)
acaulis (ah-KOW-liss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & acaulescent.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Dwarf Date Palm, Stemless Date Palm, INDIA. Khajuzi, Chota khajur (Uttar Pradesh, Siwalik hills), (S. Biswas, pers. comm.); khajuri, pind khajur, jangly khajur (Hindi), schap (Lepcha), chindi, hindi, jhari, sindi, juno (Kurku), pinn khajur, Boichand, Yita.

Habitat and Distribution

Assam, China Southeast, India, Nepal, West Himalaya.
Corupá - State of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Photo by Gilio Giacomozzi.
Sub-Himalayan belt of northern India and Nepal. Griffith (1845) and Kurz (1877) recorded the species in Myanmar, but I have seen no specimens to support this. Griffith (1845) noted that P. acaulis grows in clay soil on elevated plains north of the Ganges river. The species occurs in open forest, scrublands, savannahs and pine forest understorey at 400 - 1500 m. In India P. acaulis flowers in the cold season from November to January with fruits ripening from April to June. (S.C. Barrow. 1998)/Palmweb.


Acaulous palm; stem bulbous, to 10 cm high, densely covered with persistent leaf base stumps. Leaves 0.6 - 1.8 m long; leaf sheath reddish-brown, fibrous; rachis 0.3 - 1.5 m long x 1.5 - 2 cm in diam. at base; acanthophylls closely arranged in more than one plane, to 9 cm long; leaflets arranged in sub-opposite groups of 4s - 5s in more than one plane or orientation, about 16 - 24 on each side of rachis, linear, 8 - 36 x 0.5 - 1.4 cm, flaccid, with strong marginal nerves; lamina concolorous, pale green. Inflorescences held at ground level. Staminate inflorescences not extending beyond prophyll; prophyll papery and splitting in many places, 13 x 2 cm; peduncle about 7 x 0.6 cm; rachillae arranged in one whorl, 10 - 15 in number, about 8 cm long. Staminate flowers not seen. Pistillate inflorescences not extending beyond prophyll; prophyll papery, about 25 x 4- 6 cm; peduncle about 9 - 12 x 1.4 cm, not extending on fruit maturity; rachillae arranged in one compact whorl, 15 - 20 in number, 4 - 14 cm, drying striate, with differential maturation of fruit along rachillae. Pistillate flowers about 5 - 20 per rachilla, congested in arrangement, each subtended by a distinct rachilla swelling (bractiform notch), 3 - 10 mm long; calyx cupule 3 mm high; petals 5 - 6 x 4 mm. Fruit obovoid, 12 - 18 x 8 mm, ripening from green with scarlet apices to blue-black, with mesocarp scarcely fleshy and stigmatic remains prominently pointed (1 - 2 mm long). Seed elongate in shape, 10 x 5 mm, with rounded apices; embryo lateral opposite raphe; endosperm homogeneous. (S.C. Barrow. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Growth rate: Slow, Sunlight: full sun, Water: moderate, Cold Tolerance: 18° F or less.

Min. Temperature: 20°F (-12°C) Water Requirements: Regular water Sun Requirements: full sun, passed seedling stage.

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: In times of scarcity, the bitter stem pith of P. acaulis has been used as a sago substitute (Blatter 1926). The fruits are sweet and edible, though scarcely fleshy, and are commonly eaten by animals (Roxburgh 1832). (S.C. Barrow. 1998)/Palmweb.

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).

S.C. Barrow, A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae). 1998. A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae). Kew Bulletin, Vol. 53, No. 3 (1998), pp. 513-575.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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