Sclerosperma mannii

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mannii (mahn'-ee)
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French Guiana. Near Cayenne. Photo by Pierre-Olivier ALBANO.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Sclerosperma
mannii (mahn'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Bia (Baka, Cameroon, South Province), Kia (Bulu, Cameroon, South Province), Akoura (Fang, Rio Muni), Manga (Punu, Nzabi, Lumbu, Gabon), Mangana (Angola, Cabinda)....

Habitat and Distribution

Cabinda, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabonese Republic (Gabon), Gulf of Guinea Is.,
Gabonese Republic (Gabon), Africa. Photo by Ken Johnson.
Liberia, Nigeria, and Zaire. Sclerosperma mannii appears to have a rather disjunct distribution with a population in Liberia and from southeast Nigeria southward to Congo and as far east as the border area of Congo and Rwanda. The species was reported to be present on the island of Bioko by Guinea López (1946) quoting Gómez Moreno, but without a specimen citation (no specimens to corroborate its presence on this island have been received from MA). Shrub layer in lowland evergreen rainforest, ranging from forest just behind the mangrove swamp forest, through periodically flooded forest, to valley bottom forest at higher elevations, persisting in secondary growth; 0 – 1,400 m. elev.


Short or acaulescent, clustering palm. Stem, if evident, very short, rather stout, closely ringed with leaf scars. Leaves divided, very large, deeply bifid in juveniles, ascending; sheath to 35 cm, splitting opposite the petiole, margins fibrous; petiole slender, 150 – 300 cm long, adaxially channelled, abaxially rounded proximally, becoming triangular distally; rachis 80 – 150 cm long, continuing in the terminal leaflet, abaxially rounded, adaxially with a prominent ridge, leaflets 8 –17 (– 24), sub-opposite to alternate, folds 30 – 45 (– 63)_(3 –) 6 – 9 (–13) cm, the upper leaflet deeply bifid, broadly rhomboid in outline, base of the upper leaflet asymmetrical, 30 – 45 (20 –) 30 – 45 cm, midribs prominent, marginal ribs next largest, blade adaxially dark green, abaxially glaucous to silvery and with small scales along the veins, folds apically praemorse, margins minutely toothed, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescence solitary, interfoliar, concealed among the leaf bases and often partially obscured by accumulated debris; peduncle to 12 (– 19 cm) long, elliptic in cross-section to 1.5 cm wide, densely tomentose; prophyll occasionally to 20 cm long; peduncular bract 18 – 25 cm long; rachis 10 – 14 cm long. Staminate flowers sepals 3, distinct 3 – 4 mm long; petals 3, distinct 6 – 8 mm long, elliptical; stamens about 60, filaments very short, ±triangular; pistillode lacking. Pistillate flowers larger than the staminate, broadly ovoid; sepals 3, connate in a 3-lobed, glabrous cupule or margins of 2 sepals distinct and imbricate, somewhat angled by mutual pressure; petals 3, distinct, asymmetrical. Rachis of infructescence 3 – 6 cm long, bearing up to 17 fruits, but generally fewer. Fruit 2.5 – 3 (– 3.5), 2.2 – 2.9 cm. Seed globose, 1.5 – 2.3 (– 2.5), 2 – 2.5 cm. (John Dransfield 2008. A revision of the genus Sclerosperma (Arecaceae). Kew Bulletin 63: 75-86)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Sclerosperma dubium was described on the basis of a carpological collection in the Hamburg museum. Beccari stated that he initially considered the specimen to belong to S. mannii. However, upon closer examination, he considered it to be sufficiently different with respect to the reticulation on the kernel and the position of the embryo. The botanical museum in Hamburg houses three samples collected by Wölfert, all bearing the same label information, one bottle contains a single fruit with the kernel cut lengthwise that is obviously well developed, 20 _ 25 mm.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 11

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: The specific epithet (species name), was named after the collector of the type, Gustav Mann (1836 – 1916), a Kew gardener and plant explorer.

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).

John Dransfield 2008. A revision of the genus Sclerosperma (Arecaceae). Kew Bulletin 63: 75-86

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

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