Kentiopsis magnifica

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Kentiopsis (Kent-ee-OHP-sis)
magnifica (mag-nih-FEE-kah)
Oceanside CA. Photo by Bill Sanford.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Kentiopsis (Kent-ee-OHP-sis)
magnifica (mag-nih-FEE-kah)
Mackeea magnifica
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Kentiopsis magnifica occurs in an area of about 10 X 1-4 km., along Col d'Amos
Kentiopsis magnifica in habitat, Haute Mayavetch, New Caledonia. Photo by Bryan
and the Pam Penninsula ridge at the north end of New Caledonia, where it grows in dense populations at 300-600 m. elevation. Ecology: Kentiopsis magnifica is an emergent tree in remnant rain forest on schists, in many small, close but mostly separate valleys. Associated palms include Basselinia gracilis, Cyphophoenix elegans, and Moratia cerifera. Phenology: Anthesis occurs from March through June; fruits mature from December through March. Flowers are visited by bees that have nests in the forest, while the ant Polyrhachis guerini feeds on the stigmas of pistillate flowers. a verv abundant Tetranichydae mire feeds on the fleshy inflorescence branches and flowers. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb.


Emergent palm. Trunk to 25 m. tall, 25 cm. in diam.. Crown holds 8-9 leaves, spreading; sheath 0.8-0.9(- 1.5) m. long, initially covered with blackish-centered, white-margined scales; petiole 20 cm. long, minutely covered with brown-centered pale-margined scales of trichomes concrescent toward center; rachis ca. 2.25 m. long, densely covered by similar scales; pinnae up to 55 on each side, dark green on both surfaces and coriaceous, with numerous veins especially prominent abaxially, median pinnae 74-80 x 2.4-5 cm., the lower most continuing into lorae to 2 m. long, all arranged in one plane, although leaves in upper part of crown often twisted so pinnae oriented vertically (but still in one plane). Inflorescences 45-55 cm. long, spreading, branched to three orders; peduncle 6.5-9 cm. long, densely covered especially proximally, with small brown-centered scales with long diverging white trichomes along margins; prophyll and first peduncular bract 5l-55 cm. long, densely tomentose-floccose abaxially; rachis l6-17.5 cm. long, scarcely scaly, with 15-20 angled branches; rachillae 27-44 cm. longo waxy glaucous and glabrous. Flowers in triads nearly to apex of rachillae; bract subtending triad prominent, rounded, lip-like; staminate flowers brown in bud, white inside, symmetrical, 12 mm. in diameter and l0 mm. high at anthesis; stamens 32-38, exceeding petals, connate basally in a conspicuous ring, filaments 5 mm. long, equalling petals, subulate, awl-shaped, straight at apex, anthers 3.5 mm. long, linear-oblong, introrse, connective large, dark; pistillode less than half as high as filaments, conic, 3-lobed; outer bracteole surrounding pistillate flower ring-like, equalling triad bract, inner one twice as high, partly surrounding flower, both brown.; pistillate flowers B X 6 mm. at anthesis, gynoecium 5 mm. high, ovoid, stigmatic lobes prominent, white; staminodes 2-3. Fruits 2.2 X 1.2 cm., red, perianth brown, stigmatic remains apical; mesocarp with longitudinal fibers adherent to endocarp only basally; endocarp glossy, with longitudinal groove and round basal invagination. Seeds 15-16 X 9 mm., bullet-shaped, truncate basally. Leaves of juvenile individuals distichously arranged; "saxophone" type establishment growth lacking. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Moist, well drained position. It likes light shade as a youngster, but likes full sun as it gets larger. It is a very slow grower, taking around 15 years to trunk, then growing at about 1 m per decade after that. Anthesis occurs from March through June; fruits mature from December through March.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

Moore (1978), chose the specific epithet because K. magnifica is one of the tallest, and stateliest palms of New Caledonia. Conservation: Vulnerable. Although K. magnifica occurs gregariously in numerous populations, its range is quite limited and the remnant forest habitat is fire prone. (J.-C. Pintaud and D. Hodel. 1998)/Palmweb.

A rare, beautiful and much sought-after palm from rainforests in the extreme northeast of New Caledonia that grows a smooth, tall trunk, topped by a purplish grey crownshaft which holds a spreading crown of bright green, flat leaves. Especially on young plants, the new leaves unfold in bright red. (

This is a tillering palm, it exhibits saxophone style root growth (it has a heel), keep top third of heel above soil elevation!

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).

Pintaud, J.-C. & Hodel, D. 1998. A Revision of Kentiopsis, a Genus Endemic to New Caledonia. Principes 42(1) 32-33, 41-53.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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