| Welfia (well-FEE-ah) |
Pasco, Peru. Photo by Dr's. Andrew Henderson, and Isabel Villalba.
Habitat and DistributionW. alfredii is restricted to a small area of central Peru. Huánuco, Pasco,
Palm 13.9 (6.0–25.0) m tall. Stems 9.8 (4.4–22.5) m tall, 17.1 (10.0–25.0) cm in diameter. Leaves 15 (7–26) per stem; sheaths 93.2 (23.0–165.0) cm long; petioles 36.7 (5.0–83.0) cm long; rachises 446.7 (279.0–570.0) cm long; pinnae 73 (33–90) per side of rachis. Inflorescences prophylls 99.2 (83.0–113.0) cm long; peduncular bracts 88.8 (65.0–105.0) cm long, inserted 2.4 (1.5–4.5) cm above the prophyll; peduncles 17.3 (8.0–30.0) cm long, 44.9 (27.6–59.1) mm in diameter; rachillae 10 (7–16), 71.3 (46.5–110.0) cm long, 22.2 (12.2–31.9) mm in diameter; stamens 40 (33–46); fruits globose, not or scarcely dorsiventrally compressed, scarcely ridged laterally and blunt apically, with a contracted base, or almond-shaped, dorsiventrally compressed, ridged laterally especially toward the apex, pointed apically, without a contracted base, 34.2 (28.6–40.8) mm long, 15.8 (10.8–28.0) mm in diameter. (by Dr's. Andrew Henderson, and Isabel Villalba)
Stems are always solitary. Stem height ranges from 4.4–22.5 m and diameter from 10.0–25.0 cm. Leaf number ranges from 7–26 per stem, with a mean of 15. Leaves consist of sheaths, petioles, rachises, and pinnae. Sheaths are open and do not form crownshafts, and are usually rather fibrous along the margins. They are large and woody and range from 23.0–165.0 cm in length. Petioles are not well–developed. They range in length from 5.0–83.0 cm, but the higher figure given here may include part of the sheath. In general, petioles are rather short in Welfia and there may be some confusion between the sheath and petiole, leading collectors to over–estimate petiole length. Rachises are well-developed and elongate, ranging in length from 279.0–570.0 cm. Leaves are pinnate and never undivided. There are 33–90, regularly arranged, lanceolate pinnae per side of the rachis. Inflorescences of Welfia are infrafoliar. They can be branched to one or two orders and are pendulous at anthesis. Rachillae number ranges from 7–16 and these are rather long and thick, ranging from 46.5–110.0 cm long and 12.2–31.9 mm wide. Flower pits are covered by proximal lips before anthesis. Flowers are arranged in triads, at least on the proximal parts of the rachillae. Commonly distal parts of the rachillae bear staminate flowers only. Staminate flowers have three, free, narrow sepals; three, valvate petals that are slightly connate at the bases; and 33–46 stamens. The filaments are connate for most of their length into a tube, but are free at the apices. Pistillate flowers have similar sepals and petals to those of staminate flowers. There is a staminodial tube with lobed apices, and these lobes are exerted at anthesis and spread in a star–shaped fashion. There is an elongate style with three, spreading stigmas. Inflorescences of all species appear to be protandrous, judged from specimens. Fruits are either globose, not or scarcely dorsiventrally compressed, scarcely ridged laterally and blunt apically, and with a contracted base; or almond-shaped, dorsiventrally compressed, ridged laterally especially toward the apex, pointed apically, without a contracted base. Eophylls are bifid. (by Dr's. Andrew Henderson, and Isabel Villalba) Editing by edric.
Morphology: The genus description given below in the Taxonomic Treatment section is based on the list of characters and quantitative variables used in this study (Appendices I and II). In the following discussion, morphology is treated in more detail, and the morphology of several attributes of Welfia not used in delimiting species is discussed. Stems are always solitary. Stem height ranges from 4.4–22.5 m and diameter from 10.0–25.0 cm. Leaf number ranges from 7–26 per stem, with a mean of 15.
It differs from Welfia regia in its fruits which are globose, not or scarcely dorsiventrally compressed, and scarcely ridged laterally. (by Dr's. Andrew Henderson, and Isabel Villalba)
Comments and Curiosities
Etymology: Welfia alfredii is named after Alfred Henderson.
A taxonomic revision of the neotropical palm genus Welfia based on morphological data and morphometric methods was carried out. One hundred and five herbarium specimens were scored for one qualitative variable and 19 quantitative variables. Based on the qualitative variable, fruit shape, two species are recognized. One (W. regia) is widely distributed in Central America and northwestern South America from Nicaragua to Colombia and Ecuador; the second, described here (W. alfredii) is restricted to a small area of central Peru. (by Dr's. Andrew Henderson, and Isabel Villalba)
- 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).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.