Phoenix loureiroi

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Phoenix (FEH-niks)
loureiroi (loo-rare-OH-ee)
Phoenix loureirii88.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genus: Phoenix (FEH-niks)
loureiroi (loo-rare-OH-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Mountain Date palm

Habitat and Distribution

Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Hainan, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the West Himalayas.
Photo by 中文名:刺葵
Sub-Himalayan belt southwards through India, and eastwards through Indochina to southern China (including the islands of Hong Kong and Macao), Taiwan and to Batanes and Sabtang Islands of the Philippines. A variety of habitats from sea-level to 1700 m, in open scrublands or as part of the undergrowth of dry dipterocarp, mixed deciduous or pine forest. The species is very common in disturbed, anthropogenic areas such as seasonally-burnt grasslands, along roadsides or raised ground bordering rice-paddy. As with all species of the genus, staminate flowers of P. loureiri are visited by a range of insects, particularly beetles, but it is not known which are the pollinators and which are merely pollen thieves. The fruits are eaten by a range of birds and mammals attracted by the sweet but thin mesocarp. (S.C. Barrow. 1998)/Palmweb.


Solitary or clustering palm. Stem to 1 - 4 (5) m, without leaf sheaths to about 10 - 30 (40) cm in diam., with crowded diamond-shaped, persistent leaf-bases, internodes very short. Leaves to 2 m long; pseudopetiole 20 - 40 cm long; leaf sheath reddish- brown, fibrous; acanthophylls about 15 on each side of rachis, yellow-green to orange, to 20 cm long; leaflets arranged in more than one plane of orientation, proximally fascicled in 3s - 4s, more regularly arranged apically, to 130 on each side of rachis, 20 - 45 x 0.5 - 2.3 cm, flaccid or stiff; lamina either concolorous or abaxial surface bluish-green with tannin in patches along midrib and continuous along leaflet margin. Staminate inflorescences erect; prophyll yellow-green in colour, to 40 x 7 cm (often much smaller); peduncle to about 15 cm long; rachillae congested on rachis, about 10 cm long. Staminate flowers sweet-scented initially, turning musty, with calyx a three- pointed cupule 1.5 - 2 mm high; petals yellow-white, oblong in shape, about 4- 6 x 2 - 2.5 mm, with apex roughly undulate and often thickened; anthers yellow-white. Pistillate inflorescences erect, often arching with fruit maturity; prophyll papery to coriaceous, splitting twice either along or between margins, about 20 x 3 cm; peduncle to 1.5 m long; rachillae up to 40 in number, to 40 cm long, elongating with fruit set. Pistillate flowers with calyx cupule 1.5 - 2 mm high, yellow; petals orange-pink to yellow, 2 - 2.5 x 3 - 4 mm. Fruit restricted to the distal half to two thirds of rachilla, ovoid to obovoid, 9 - 18 x 5 - 9 mm, maturing from green to blue-black when ripe, with mesocarp mealy and slightly sweet. Seed obovoid, 11 - 18 x 6 - 9 mm, with rounded ends, and raphe extending full length of seed; embryo lateral opposite raphe; endosperm homogeneous. (S.C. Barrow. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Epithet named after Joao de Loureiro, description originally written by Kunth as loureiri, but has since been corrected to loureiroi.

Conservation: Phoenix loureiri is not considered to be threatened because it thrives in disturbed, anthropogenic areas. However, populations are declining in certain parts of their ranges. Padmanabhan & Sudhersan (1988) noted 'mass destruction' of the species on hillsides in southern India due to heavy pressure from harvesting for leaves. Gruezo & Fernando (1985) called for continued protection of the species in the Philippines, where it is found only in localised populations on Sabtang and Batanes Islands. (S.C. Barrow. 1998)/Palmweb.

Uses: The leaflets of P. loureiri have many domestic uses, such as the manufacture of mats and brooms. In the Philippines shredded, sun-dried juvenile leaves are woven as raincoats (Gruezo & Fernando 1985). The apical bud is sweet and can be eaten as a vegetable (palm cabbage). The fruits are sweet, if a little mealy, and are commonly eaten by children. Padmanabhan & Sudhersan (1988) noted the medicinal use of the species by tribal people in southern India. (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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