| Satakentia |
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Florida. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Habitat and Distribution
Nansei-shoto. A single species on Ishigaki Island (Yonehara) and Iriomote Island (Hoshitate, Nakam River,Sonai, and Yoeyama Group of the Ryukyus). Growing on hillslopes or more rarely near the sea; often growing in densemore-or-less even-aged stands.Satakentia liukiuensis There are two main wild populations, the main population on Ishigaki Jima,
Moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem erect, usually enlarged and with a mass of adventitious roots at the base, columnar above, green to brown, longitudinally striate, ringed with close leaf scars. Leaves pinnate, spreading; sheaths tubular, forming a prominent crownshaft and with a prominent chartaceous ligule; petiole short, adaxially channelled with a central ridge, abaxially rounded; rachis elongate, flattened adaxially, rounded abaxially, tomentose; leaflets regularly arranged, acute, single-fold, midrib evident abaxially, marginal nerves thickened, usually 2(–3) secondary ribs, and numerous tertiary veins on each side, glabrous adaxially, ramenta present abaxially near the base of the midrib, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, densely and minutely stellate-tometose, branched to 2 orders basally, to 1 order distally; peduncle short, stout; prophyll tubular, terete, 2-keeled laterally, briefly beaked, much shorter than the peduncular bracts; first peduncular bract, complete, tubular, thick, woody, terete, beaked, enclosing a second almost complete and similar peduncular bract, both splitting abaxially and caducous at anthesis, a prominent but much shorter third and sometimes fourth, chartaceous incomplete peduncular bract also developed; rachis about as long as the peduncle, tapering, densely tomentose, angled, bearing spirally inserted, rather large, acute bracts subtending basal branches and smaller rounded bracts subtending distal branches; rachillae elongate, rather stout, stiff, bearing spirally arranged, low, rounded bracts subtending flowers borne in triads of 2 staminate and 1 pistillate in lower 1/4 to 1/3 of the rachillae, paired to solitary staminate flowers distally. Staminate flowers nearly symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, ± rounded; petals 3, distinct, valvate, more than twice as long as the sepals; stamens 6, filaments distinct, awl-shaped, inflexed at the apex in bud, anthers oblong in outline, latrorse; pistillode as long as the stamens, cylindrical, with obliquely subcapitate apex. Pollen ellipsoidal asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 43–45 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate; petals 3, distinct, imbricate, with shortly valvate apices; staminodes 3, tooth-like, on one side of the gynoecium; gynoecium ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, stigmas 3, recurved at anthesis, ovule pendulous, anatropous. Fruit ovoid-ellipsoidal with eccentrically apical stigmatic remains; epicarp smooth but drying longitudinally lines, mesocarp with numerous flat longitudinal fibres in thin flesh and some red-brown stone cells near the apex, endocarp thin, fragile, operculate at the base of the elongate hilar seam, not adherent to the seed. Seed ellipsoidal, hilum elongate, raphe branches anastomosing, endosperm homogeneous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)/Palmweb.
Pintaud and Setoguchi (1999) were the first torecognise that the inflorescence of Satakentia has twopeduncular bracts, a character it shares with Carpoxylon butnot with Neoveitchia. However, the inflorescences and fruit ofthe three genera are similar. Moderate solitary pinnate-leaved palm from the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan, remarkable for the two large peduncular bracts and small fruit. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)/Palmweb.
A solitary, tall, salt-tolerant, moderately slow growing, monoecious, forest emergent, brown coloured crownshaft palm. Rare in cultivation, vulnerable in the wild. It has a smooth, grey-brown trunk, 20 m. (66 ft.) tall, 30.5 cm. (12 inch) diameter with spaced ring leaf scars, and large segmented, pinnate (feather) leaves, 3 m. (10 ft.) long, 0.9 m. (3 ft.) wide, dark green above and, light green beneath. Editing by edric.
Stems are tall and solitary, ringed with prominent leaf scars, and usually have a mass of adventitious roots at the base. Leaves pinnate, 10-14 in number, and dead leaves fall cleanly from the stem. leaf sheaths are closed and form a prominent, brown or reddish green crownshaft. Petioles are usually very short. Leaflets are numerous, regularly arranged, one-veined, lanceolate, and spread horizontally in the same plane. Inflorescences are branched to two orders, and are borne below the crownshaft. They are covered initially by deciduous bracts - a prophyll and two peduncular bracts. Flowering branches are densely hairy. Flowers are unisexual and are arranged in trees or a central female and two lateral male flowers. Fruits are small, ovoid or ellipsoid, black, and one-seeded. The endosperm is homogeneous, germination is adjacent, and the seedling leaf is bifid.
Satakentia liukiuensis can survive freezing temperatures to about -3.8°C (25°F), but freezing is best avoided. This species naturally occurs on islands in moist montane forest, and is heavily effected by the surrounding sea temperatures, which are constant and often form sea mist and cloud. In this type of natural environment temperature fluctuations are slight, and this palm prefers a constantly mild climate with little temperature difference between day & night, and Summer & Winter. Under extreme freezing conditions we recommend you keep this palm as dry as possible, and well wrapped up.
Comments and Curiosities
This is a monotypic genus.
Etymology: Honoring Toshihiko Satake (1910–1998), Japanese industrialist and palm hobbyist, by combining his name with the generic name Kentia, named for William Kent (1779 –1827), one-time curator of the botanic gardens at Buitenzorg, Java (now Kebun Raya Bogor).
Uses: Cultivated as an ornamental. The ‘cabbage’ is said to havebeen eaten during World War II.
Trunks have a mass of adventitious roots at the base, and trunks can grow to 20 m.tall, brownish/grey, and solitary, topped with a prominent, brown or reddish green crownshaft, which is very distinguishable. With large green pinnate leaves, 3 m. long. The inflorescence's are also distinctive, which are branched to two orders, and are borne below the crownshaft.
Satakentia contains only one species, which is endemic to Japan in the far south of the Ryukyu Islands in the islands of Ishigaki Jima and Iriomote Jima. This genus was named by Harold Moore for Toshihiko Satake, who had noticed it was something special. There is now a museum built to honor Toshihiko Satake within the main population of the palms on Ishigaki Jima. There are two main wild populations, the main population on Ishigaki Jima, and a much smaller population on Iriomote Jima with a few individual trees scattered across Iriomote. The Iriomote trees are inaccessible, as they grow in a cemetery, or the isolated trees are remote in the hills.
Conservaion: Satakentia liukiuensis is in decline in its natural environment with no known cause, and it was once much more widespread throughout the two islands than it is today. However, plants are being raised in cultivation and are widely planted as a street tree in cities further north, notably Naha on Okinawa.
"Once an adult, this palm is spectacular! It is reported that these palms can withstand temperatures just below freezing, but this does not mean juveniles and seedlings. My four footer took the recent cold snaps(35F) well, with only minor leaf tip burn. The books list this palm as a slow grower, but my palm has demonstrated vigorous growth(a bit faster than a new frond a month). Mine is in partial shade. I thought it was going to grow into the position but the extra sun was causing the palm to yellow. I tried counteracting this with near monthly nutrient applications. The growth kept up but so did the yellowing, and when that combined with the slight freeze damage, I decided to decrease it's sun exposure by adding shade cloth. Pushing the limit as far as sun exposure will, no doubt, place it in the maximum growth rate, but it may also burn your satakentia's leaves, and ultimately stop growing and die. An astute grower can dabble with this ratio--the novice should plant their satakentia in shade, and wait for it to grow at least ten feet before reaching full sun. Mature adults(in south florida) develop a strikingly beautiful PURPLE crownshaft. Though expensive, and time consuming to grow it to adulthood, this is a choice palm for south florida(not to mention rare!)." (Andrew Street)
Now all the tall Satake palms are gone due to the very strong typhoons in the last 10 years as the sea temperature keeps rising around the Yaeyama's. However there are many more new Satake palms growing in recent years, even compared to 2006. We have seen so many new 1-3m size Satake palms inside the forest of Hoshidate. (Ippei & Janine Naoi.)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- A Must See
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).
J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.