Saribus papuanus

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Saribus (sahr-EE-buhs)
papuanus (pah-poo-AHN-uhs)
Heath forest, Mt. Jaya, West Papua, Indonesia. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Saribus (sahr-EE-buhs)
papuanus (pah-poo-AHN-uhs)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Palmate
Survivability index
Common names
Woka (Papuan name), Wanna (Poparo language).

Habitat and Distribution

Saribus papuanus is found in New Guinea, and Indonesia. In Papua on Miosnom,
Heath forest, Mt. Jaya, West Papua, Indonesia. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Biak and Yapen islands, and the Timika area. In rainforest at 200-540 m alt. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.


Hermaphroditic palm. Trunk to 30 m (50 m?) tall, 12-30 cm in diameter breast high, leaf scars raised, internodes broad, grey. Leaves 17-40 in a globose crown; petiole 111-200 cm long, about 15 mm wide at the apex, whitish with a thin, flakily deciduous waxy coating, adaxially flat to slightly ridged, margins armed throughout, or with spines infrequently confined to proximal portion or very infrequently lacking; margins sharp when unarmed; spines retrorsely recurved, to 20 mm long; leaf-base fibres soft, reddish, partly disintegrating; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, subcircular, 90-180 cm long, 100-150 cm wide, adaxially shiny or greyish green, abaxially lighter green, rigid, waxy glaucous; lamina divided for 23-69% of its length, with 45- 90 segments, depth of apical cleft 5-11% of the segment length; apical lobes acuminate, rigid; parallel veins 7-8 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences with 3 ± similar collateral axes, branched to 3 orders, each axis 100-225 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, arched-nodding, the central axis slightly longer than the laterals; partial inflorescences 5-10; prophyll to 25 cm long, to 8 cm wide, glabrous, basally brown, distally yellowish, disintegrating fibrous; peduncular bracts 1-4, 30-50 cm long, tightly tubular, deeply bifid and lacerate at the apex, glabrous; rachis bracts tubular-elongate, tightly sheathing, margins acute; rachis bracts tubular, subterete or very slightly flattened, mouths truncate, entire or lacerate-fibrous, and extended on one side into bi-toothed tips; rachillae 3-12 cm long, about 1 mm thick, straight, reddish-brown pubescent, most dense underneath and immediately outside of enclosing bracts, whitish-green on exposed parts. Flowers solitary or in clusters of 2-4, ca 1.2 mm long, sessile on superficial pulvinuli, with an inconspicuous bracteole; sepals fused, lobes long, triangular, about 1 mm long, apically acute, longitudinally nerved, yellow; petals triangular, obtuse, apically acute, about 1 mm long, about 1.2 mm wide at the base, yellow; stamens fused for about ½ the length of the petal, shoulders flat, filament very thin, about 0.5 mm high; anthers about 0.1 mm long; carpels about 0.8 mm long; stigma pointed. Fruit globose to obovoid-obpyriform, 14-25 mm long, 5-20 mm in diam., orange-red, apex rounded, tapered to a narrow base, stigmatic yellow dots or short lines; mesocarp fibrous, with fibres embedded in the endocarp; endocarp bony to woody, 1.5-2 mm thick; pedicel 1-5 mm long. Seed globose, 20-25 mm in diam.; embryo sublateral. Eophyll not seen. Editing by edric.

Livistona papuana was described by Beccari (1877) from his own collection from Miosnom Is in Cenderawasih Bay, Papua. He suggested some resemblance to L. rotundifolia, but from which it was distinct by the lack of armature and obovoid/obpyriform rather than globose fruit. Beccari did not describe flowers or mature fruits. Recent collections from Yapen Is, such as Arisoi HA1 (MAN), have yellow flowers and orange-red fruits. Livistona papuana is a canopy palm to 30 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are rigid, and with a bifurcate cleft 5-11% of the segment length; the inflorescence is basally trifurcate, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 10 partial inflorescences; bracts are tightly tubular; flowers are yellow; fruit are globose, to 25 mm in diam., and orange-red at maturity.


Comments and Curiosities

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).

Dowe, J.L., A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae). A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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