Podococcus barteri

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Podococcus (POH-doh-kohk-Kuss)
barteri (Bahr-TEHR-ee)
Near Sam village, Gabon, November 2013. Photo by Dr. Thomas Couvreur.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Podococcus (POH-doh-kohk-Kuss)
barteri (Bahr-TEHR-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria and Zaire.
Near Campo, Cameroon. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Podococcus barteri is distributed from Nigeria to DR Congo and Cabinda (Angola), never more than 200 km inland. Podococcus barteri occurs from sea-level up to 700 m altitude in areas with an average annual rainfall of 1500–2400 mm. It is found in the undergrowth of evergreen forest, and in relatively dry locations in swamp forest and on river banks. It persists in logged forest but is absent from young secondary vegetation.


Small, monoecious, slender, unarmed palm; stem up to 2(–3) m tall, up to 1 cm in diameter, covered in reddish brown fibrous leaf bases, eventually bare and with annular leaf scars, with basal axillary stolons; prop roots present. Leaves few, 50–120 cm long, pinnately compound with up to 7 leaflets on each side of the rachis; sheath up to c. 15 cm long, tubular, becoming split opposite the petiole, densely covered in red-brown woolly tomentum, margins fibrous; petiole slender, up to 50 cm long, narrowly channelled above, rounded below; rachis like petiole but longer; leaflets alternate to subopposite, rhomboid, single-fold, up to 30 cm × 12 cm, lower ones smaller, basal half with entire margin, upper half with toothed margin, membranous, glabrous above, sparsely hairy below. Inflorescence solitary, between the leaves, spike-like, c. 75 cm long, initially erect, pendulous when fruiting, protandrous, many-flowered; peduncle slender, up to 50 cm long; prophyll tubular, 2-keeled, dark brown, disintegrating into long fibres; peduncular bracts 2–3, tubular, disintegrating as prophyll; rachis about as long as peduncle or longer, bearing spirally arranged triads of 2 distal male flowers and 1 proximate female flower, or paired or solitary male flowers distally. Flowers enclosed in pits, unisexual, 3-merous, bracteoles membranous, sepals distinct, petals valvate, about twice as long as sepals, adnate to receptacle; male flowers with 6 stamens in 2 whorls and short pistillode; female flowers with connate petals, staminodes 6, ovary superior and (1–)3-celled, stigmas 3. Fruit a drupe, 1–3-lobed, ellipsoidal or with ellipsoidal lobes, 2–3.5 cm × 0.5–1.5 cm, often slightly curved, orange-red to brown, fragrant when ripe, 1–3-seeded; exocarp smooth, leathery; mesocarp gelatinous with inner layer of fibres; endocarp crustaceous. Seed narrowly ellipsoidal, c. 19 mm × 4 mm. (prota4u.org)


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: In Gabon the leaves are used for covering temporary huts when leaves of more desirable species are not available. The leaf rachis is used for weaving fish-traps and the whole rachis is used as a fishing rod. In Equatorial Guinea the leaf base is used as a chew stick to clean the teeth, and in Cameroon the beaten stem is similarly used. The stems are used for making furniture. The fruit pulp and the fresh seeds are eaten. (prota4u.org)

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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