| Roystonea (roy-ston-EH-ah) |
Fairchild Botanical Gardens, Coral Gables FL. Photos by Andrew.
Habitat and DistributionRoystonea maisiana is endemic to the Maisí region of the province of Guantánamo,
"Roystonea maisiana, is a large palm which reaches heights of 20 metres (66 ft.). Stems are grey-white, and are usually 26–50 centimetres (10–20 in.), sometimes up to 51 centimetres (20 in.), in diameter. The upper portion of the stem is encircled by leaf sheaths, forming a smooth green portion, known as the crownshaft (extended petiole), which is normally 1.5 m. (4.9 ft.) long. The crown holds about 15 leaves with 4.8-metre (16 ft.) rachises. The 0.8–1.1 m. (2.6–3.6 ft.) inflorescences bear white, male and female flowers (monoecious). Fruit are 10–13.7 millimetres (0.39–0.54 in.) long and 7.5–9.5 mm. (0.30–0.37 in.) wide, and black when ripe."
Trunk gray-white, to 20 m. tall , 26-40(-51) cm. in diam. Leaves about 15, lowest leaves hanging below the horizontal; crownshaft about 1.5 m. long; rachis ca. 4.8 m. long; middle segments 106-118 cm. long and 4.2-4.9 cm. wide. Inflorescence 0.8-1.1 m. long and about 1 m. wide; prophyll and peduncular bract not seen; rachillae 20-24 cm. long and 1.2-2.1 mm in diam. Staminate flowers white, sepals triangular, 1-1.4 mm. long and 1.3-1.5 mm. wide; petals elliptical to ovate, 4.2- 5.7 mm. long and 2,5- 2.9 mm. wide; stamens 6, 3.7-6.5 mm long, filaments awl-shaped, 2.4-4.4 mm long, anthers 2.5-4.2 mm long; pistillode minute. Pistillate flowers white, 2-3.5 per cm.; sepals reniform, 1.3- 1.7 mm. long, and 2.5-3.5 mm. wide; petals ovate, 2.7-3.5 mm. long; staminode 6-lobed, 2.1- 2.3 mm. long, free for 0.7-1 mm.; gynoecium 2.3-2.6 mm. long, and 1.7-2.2 mm in diam. Fruits ellipsoid, gibbous, 10-13.7 mm. long, 7.9-9.2 mm. dorsiventral thickness, and 7.5-9.5 mm. wide; epicarp black, stigmatic scar plain; endocarp ellipsoid, 8.8-10.3 mm. long, 5.9-7.4 mm. dorsiventral thickness, and 5.8-7.4 mm. wide; seed ellipsoid, 7.6-10 mm. long, 4.6-5.9 mm. dorsiventral thickness, and 5.2-6.8 mm. wide; raphe circular. Eophyll linear-lanceolate, 12-15 cm. long and 1.2-2.2 cm. wide, stipitate, short costate. (Zona S.)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
A copy of a letter from Bailey to León dated 8 Jan 1943, (preserved with the holotype at BH) suggests that León believed Bailey's variety was described from a mixed specimen. Liogier (1969), in a note in the supplement to the Flora of Cuba, rejected R. regia var. maisiana, indicating that it was a nomen nudum based on a mixed collection. León and Liogier did not reveal which other species they believed comprised the mixed collection. Liogier's treatment of this taxon was apparently followed by subsequent workers including Muñiz and Borhidi (1982). However, collections of the endemic Cuban Roystonea made recently in Maisí (Zona, 1991), clarify the confusion surrounding the type of R. regia var. maisiana, and give some clue as to why Liogier rejected this taxon. First, this name is certainly not a nomen nudum: Bailey (1935), provided as accurate a description as was possible from his scanty collections. He provided a Latin diagnosis, a description of vegetative and reproductive parts, and even a photograph of the palm, leaving little doubt that he was describing the slender palms endemic to Maisí. The name cannot be rejected as a nomen nudum. The second aspect of Liogier's argument, that the type of R. regia var. maisiana is a mixed collection, is predicated on Liogier's knowledge of another Maisí endemic, the violet-trunked R. violacea. The type of R. violacea (Leon & Seifriz 18280) is composed of vegetative material that agrees in all details with that of recent collections of violet-trunked individuals. Flowers and fruits from the type sheet, however, match those taken from slender palms that must be R. regia var. maisiana. In fact, a packet of staminate flowers, included with the isotype at US bears the anonymous annotation "maisialla." It now seems apparent that it is León's type of R. violacea that is a mixed collection, containing elements belonging to R. regia var. maisiana, and that the description of R. violacea drawn from this mixture, is what led to Liogier's confusion about the identity of R. regia var. maisiana. Thus, Bailey's taxon stands, and León's R. violacea (q.v.) requires lectotypification and recircumscription. Because this taxon does not seem to be phylogenetically close to R. regia (see under "Evolutionary Relationships and Biogeography"), it is here elevated to specific rank. (Zona S.)/Palmweb.
Same requirements as R. regia.
"While at Fairchild Tropical Gardens (FTG), I noticed in the small grove of about six or so R. Maisianas, two of them had a burnt orange tomentum on the crownshaft(causing it to appear red, from a distance). I wasn't sure what it was, but after inspection of all the trees, there was indeed a red powdery-ness on two of them. I was wondering why only two of the six or so trees had it. Maybe this red tomentum is worn off as the crownshaft ages? Maybe the crownshaft grows this redness as it matures..? I consulted Dr. Scott Zona about this red tomentum and he was unaware of it. From the literature I have read, this palm's distinguishing features are a longer petiole(I noticed this), as well as a trunk that usually never tapers--I noticed this as well. What I also noticed(not in the books)is the huge crownshaft. My readings say 4', but they are more like 6 1/2-8' tall(the crownshaft was way taller than me). A rare and unique royal--these photos show, that the palm goes through varying stages of color... " (Andrew Street)
“R. maisiana, endemic to Maisi, where it is abundant, is much more slender and less ventricose than R. regia. I measured a population of R. maisiana and found that the trunk diameter at breast height averaged 36.5 cm, compared with an average of 46.9 cm in R. regia. This species would be an elegant palm for cultivation.” Scott Zona in “Notes on Roystonea in Cuba”. (Scott Zona)
“The endemic species of Cuba (R. lenis, R. stellata, R. maisiana and R. violacea) are not sister species - i.e., they are not more closely related to one another than to other species in the genus. Their evolutionary history is perhaps the most vexing phylogenetic problem in the genus. repeated vicariance events between eastern Cuba and other land masses in the Caribbean and Central America would not have been possible, nor can one readily envisage sympatric speciation in the Maisi. For want of alternative hypotheses, I currently favor a refugium hypothesis to explain the presence of four endemic taxa (and one widespread taxon) in eastern Cuba.” (Scott Zona)
Uses: This palm is used, as other species are in eastern Cuba, for timber, thatch, and hog feed.
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
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).
Zona S.Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.