Kentiopsis pyriformis

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Kentiopsis (Kent-ee-OHP-sis) pyriformis (py-rih-FOR-mis)
GBPIX photo 282099.jpg
Port Boisé, New Caledonia.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Kentiopsis (Kent-ee-OHP-sis)
Species: pyriformis (py-rih-FOR-mis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to New Caledonia. Kentiopsis pyriformis, ranges from along the east coast of New
New Caledonia. Photo by Ben.
Caledonia south of Yaté, where it occurs in a fringe of forest 20 km. long, and 100-500 m. wide, from Touaourou to Goro villages at 5-100 m. elevation, inland to the southwest about 11.5 air kilometers distant, in remnant patches of forest at about 200 m. elevation, at the southern end of Monts Nengone, near Port Boisé. The main population is at Goro on a steep, unstable, rocky slope, above the mouth of Kuebini River. (J.-C. Pintaud 1998)

Ecology: A more or less gregarious subcanopy to canopy species, Kentiopsis pyriformis is found in lowland rain forest, on ultramafic rocks, both on oxydic colluvium on flat land, and steep, rocky, eroded slopes of peridotitic mountains and hills. The largest and more gregarious population at the Kuebini River near Goro, grows with other palms including Actinokentia divaricata, Basselinia pancheri, Clinosperma bracteale, and Cyphokentia macrostachya. The population near Port Boisé is much smaller, and the individuals more scattered. Associated palms there include A. divaricata, B. gracilis, B. pancheri, and Chambeyronia nmacrocarpa. (J.-C. Pintaud 1998)/Palmweb.


Subcanopy to emergent palm. Trunk l0-18 m. tall, 1O-22 cm. in diam. below head, brown becoming gray, sometimes enlarged or bulging at the base, adventitious roots visible. Crown holds 7-12 leaves, ascending to spreading, moderately recurved or nearly straight; crownshaft 70-130 cm. long, copper colored or purplish red, with a thin cover of glaucous- white wax, and minutely puncticulate with tiny brown lacerate scales abaxially, splitting in the distal 1/4-1/3 opposite petiole, and there bearing small auricles 1 cm. long or terminatirrg on petiole with two wings l0 cm. long; petiole 20-45 cm. long (some times to 2.6 m. long in trunkless juveniles), glabrescent, green or reddish to purplish; rachis 2.5-3 m. long, petiole and rachis variously covered initially, by thin felt like indument of brown-centered, white-margined scales; pinnae 40-58 on each side, median ones 110-130 X 5-8 cm., proximal two pairs continuing into lorae, all acute, coriaceous one-ribbed, ascending and held in open V or borne in one plane and flat to slightly pendulous, green and glossy adaxially, midrib and sometimes secondary ribs bearing abaxially membranous, medifixed ramenta in groups of 2-20. Inflorescences 1-2, 60-100 cm. wide, spreading, branched to four orders; peduncle 6-10 cm. long; prophyll 40-50 X 20 cm., splitting into two halves; first peduncular bract 50-60 X 15-18 cm., beaked, slightly exceeding the prophyll, both bracts pale green or dark purple, glabrescent to variously tomentose abaxially; rachis 30-40 cm. long with l0 main branches 2-10 cm. long, 1-4 cm. wide, sharply angled, dorsiventrally flattened, brownish green to bright purple; peduncle and rachis with thin indument of brown centered, white-margined minute scales; bracts subtending branches small, triangular-obtuse to acuminate and finally reduced to a ridge; rachillae 100-400, slender, 20-30 cm. long, 0.5 cm. in diameter, folded and mucilaginous in inflorescence bud, rounded, glabrescent, very pale green to cream-colored in bud, becoming brown or dark purple.


PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: Status is critically endangered (proposed). Occupying less than 2 ha, the main population of K. pyriformis at the Kuebini River is unprotected and consists of less than a hundred trunked individuals. Fire severely affected the entire population about 1980, destroying nearly all saplings and damaging trunks of many mature individuals. Despite an abundant and regular production of readily germinating seeds, regeneration remains extremely low due to the difficulty of seedling establishment in an unusually steep, rocky, unstable habitat. In March 1996, Cyclone Beti caused the fall of at least 25% of the adults, nearly all of them more windprone since the earlier fire destroyed protective vegetation and damaged trunks. In one group of eight adults, the cyclone felled seven of them.

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.-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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