Desmoncus mitis

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Desmoncus (dehs-MON-koohs)
mitis (MEET-iss)
Brazil. Photo by Dr. Andrew J. Henderson/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Desmoncus (dehs-MON-koohs)
mitis (MEET-iss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Desmoncus mitis is found in Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil West-Central, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Widespread in the W Amazon region, from Venezuela to Bolivia, below 1000 m elevation.

Ecuador. Photo by Timothy Bryan.


Understory liana (climbing). Stem solitary.

Palm 2.7 (0.7-8.5) m tall; stems 0.6 (0.3-1.1) cm diameter. Leaf petioles 3.9 (0.5-10.5) cm long; rachises 30.4 (8.0-76.0) cm long, 2.3 (1.1-3.8) mm wide, the spines usually <1 cm long, mostly abaxial, recurved with markedly swollen bases; pinnae 8 (2-25) per side of rachis, without a beard of spines at the bases, with uneven surfaces at the bases adaxially, usually covered with spinules and/or dense tomentum; basal pinna 12.3 (3.5- 27.5) cm long, 2.5 (0.2-6.5) cm wide; cirri well-developed, with acanthophylls, or cirri poorly-developed, the rachis terminating in a short cirrus, acanthophylls present or absent, or cirri absent, the rachis terminating beyond the distalmost pair of pinnae in a short ?stub?, with few spines abaxially, mostly on proximal part only (rarely, when cirri poorly-developed, without spines), with no intermediate acanthophylls present, usually with a wide gap between pinnae and acanthophylls (i.e., gap wider than that between adjacent acanthophylls). Inflorescences with the rachis smooth, not twisted, narrower than the few, distantly spaced and alternate rachillae, each rachilla usually briefly adnate proximally to the rachis and with an irregular bracteole displaced onto the rachis, with or without an axillary pulvinus; peduncles 1.2 (0.6-3.1) mm wide; peduncular bracts 24.2 (14.6-37.0) cm long, narrow, elongate, ribbed, scarcely brown tomentose, without spines (rarely with few spines); rachillae 5 (3-7), glabrous or scarcely tomentose initially; proximal rachillae 5.3 (2.0-9.0) cm long, 0.8 (0.5-1.5) mm wide; stamens 6; fruits 10.9 (8.9-15.7) mm long, 7.1 (5.5-10.9) mm wide, fruit surfaces uneven with numerous, subepidermal, short, often branching (Y-shaped) fibers; fruiting corollas splitting irregularly into 3 lobes, the lobes often splitting again; endocarps narrowly ellipsoid with rounded apices, the pores lateral. (Henderson, A. 2011)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Subspecific variation:-Specimens occur in the western and central Amazon region in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. Based on geography, as well as sheaths, number of pinnae, and cirri development, it is possible to recognize four subgroups-one from subAndean regions of southern Peru and Bolivia having finely and densely spiny sheaths, numerous, linear or lanceolate pinnae, and well-developed cirri; the second from the western Amazon region, mostly from the southwestern Amazon region of Brazil but also in adjacent Peru and Bolivia having non- or scarcely spiny sheaths, few, ovate pinnae, and poorlydeveloped cirri; the third from the western Amazon region of Peru and in adjacent Colombia and Brazil having non-spiny sheaths, few, ovate pinnae, and usually well-developed cirri; and the fourth from the western Amazon region in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, having non-spiny sheaths, numerous, lanceolate pinnae, and well-developed cirri. ANOVA shows that for pair wise comparison probabilities, six variables (plant height, petiole length, rachis length, rachis width, basal pinna length, basal pinna width) differ significantly (P <0.05) between at least one pair of subgroups, and one variable (number of pinnae) differs amongst all four subgroups. Based on these results, specimens from the four subgroups are recognized as subspecies (subspp. ecirratus, leptospadix, mitis, rurrenabaquensis). (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, edric.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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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