Desmoncus giganteus

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(Desmoncus (dehs-MON-koohs)
giganteus (jih-gahn-TEH-uhs}
Perú. Photo by Robin Foster.
Scientific Classification
Genus: (Desmoncus (dehs-MON-koohs)
giganteus (jih-gahn-TEH-uhs}
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Desmoncus giganteus is found in Brazil North, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
From 0°32'-7°25'S and 70°10'-78°15'W in the western Amazon region in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil at 266(150-440) m elevation in lowland rainforest or secondary forest. (Henderson, A. 2011)


Palm 22.3 (4.5-50.0) m tall; stems 4.4 (4.0-4.8) cm in diameter, solitary. Leaf petioles 20.5 (15.0-30.0) cm long; rachises 157.5 (125.0-190.0) cm long, 12.2 (10.1-14.2) mm wide, the spines usually >1 cm long, mostly adaxial or lateral, straight with briefly swollen bases; pinnae 10 per side of rachis, without long, filiform apices, with an adaxial beard of spines at the bases, without spinules or dense tomentum at the bases adaxially; basal pinna 39.2 (32.0-46.5) cm long, 6.5 (5.7-7.3) cm wide; cirri well-developed, with acanthophylls, without spines abaxially, with intermediate acanthophylls present, without a wide gap between pinnae and acanthophylls. Inflorescences with the rachis ridged, not twisted, much thicker than the numerous, closely spaced and spirally or irregularly arranged rachillae, each rachilla not or only briefly adnate to the rachis, subtended by an acute bracteole and with a well-developed axillary pulvinus; peduncles 8.5 (6.5-11.7) mm wide; peduncular bracts length no data, broad, the surfaces ribbed, brown tomentose, densely covered with long, straight or sinuous, briefly swollen-based, diagonally or vertically oriented spines, these flattened or triangular in cross-section, whitish-brown proximally, black or brown distally, with tomentose margins; rachillae number no data, glabrous or scarcely tomentose initially; proximal rachillae 16.0 cm long, 1.7 mm wide; stamens number no data; fruits 36.2 (21.5-42.6) mm long, 16.6 (12.7-18.3) mm wide, the surfaces smooth, without any apparent subepidermal fibers; fruiting corollas to half as long as fruits, splitting irregularly into 3 lobes, the lobes often splitting again; endocarps ovoid to obovoid with prominent, peaked apices, the pores lateral. (Henderson, A. 2011)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Taxonomic notes:-Desmoncus giganteus is characterized by its large size and unusually large fruits with long fruiting corollas. It is the only species of Desmoncus always reported to have solitary stems; all other species have clustered or rarely solitary stems. It is probably more common than the few specimens suggest. Moreno Suárez and Moreno Suárez (2006) consider that this species occurs in Bolivia. However, the description and illustrations they give of the fruits do not match those of D. giganteus, and appear more like those of the large morphotype of D. polyacanthos. (Henderson, A. 2011)/Palmweb.


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).

Henderson, A. 2011. A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae).

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

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