| Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah) |
Nong Nooch Botanic Gardens, Pattaya, Thailand. Photo by Paul Craft.
Habitat and DistributionAndaman and Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Licuala spinosa is a densely clumping palm of medium height, with slender stems and heads of circular, divided fan leaves. It is common in cultivation and may reach 3-4 m height. Known as the spiny Licuala because the leafstalk are savagely armed with many tiny, pointed spines. Trunk: Multiple, suckering, slim, 3 to 4 (or more) m tall and about 23 mm across. Crown: Dense (to 4 metres in diameter) of about 15 to 17 fan-shaped leaves. Leaves (fronds): Peltate-orbicular, dark green, about 50-65 cm long, about 80-150 cm wide, segment about 14-19, all rather the same size with squared-off ends; central segment slightly larger than rest, splitted in two (half to 5-7 cm toward leaf base), sometimes petiolulate, with about 8-14 ribs, 52-65 cm long, 20-23 cm wide. Petioles to 2 m long, margins armed with black thorn, 10-20 mm near base, 5-10 mm toward apex, green to yellow brownish; spines along whole length of petiole, triangular largest near base. Sheaths disintegrating into coarse reticulate fibers with dark brown colours. Inflorescences: Upright to pendulous from among the leaf bases, longer than leaves, extend above the crown, with 7-9 partial inflorescences, about 1.5-3 m long, branching to two orders. Flowers: Solitary or in group of 2-4, sessile, densely arranged, cincinni 5-10 per cm, maturing not simultaneously; bud about 4-5 x 2.5-3 mm; Fruit: Globose about 6.5-8.5 long, 6-8 mm in diameter, glabrous, smooth, immature fruit green and orange to red when mature. Seed: Globose, smooth, about 4-6 mm across. (Llifle.com)
|Detailed Scientific Description|
Clustering, Stem to 5 m or more tall, to about 23 cm across. Leaves about 15 to 17 in a crown; sheaths disintegrating into coarse reticulate fibers with dark brown colours; petioles to 2 m long, edge with black thorn, 10-20 mm near base, 5-10 mm toward apex, green to yellow brownish; spines along whole length of petiole, triangular, patent to reflexed, largest near base; fronds peltateorbicular, dark green, about 50-65 cm long, about 80-150 cm wide, segment about 14-19, all rather the same size; lateral segment 2-5 costulate, 41-51 x 4-9 cm; central segment slightly larger than rest, bipartitus (half to 5-7 cm toward leaf base), sometimes petiolulate, about 8-14 costulate, about 52-65 x 20-23 cm. Inflorescences erect to patent, longer than leaves, extend above the crown, with 7-9 partial inflorescences, about 1.5-3 m long, branching to two orders; prophyll tubular, about 20 cm long or more, about 1.5-2 cm wide, coriaceus, flattened, closely sheathing, apex with two keels, densely covered with stellate caducous ferruginous hairs; peduncle about 40-90 cm long, about 4.5-8 across basally; peduncular bract present, sometimes lacking; rachis rigid, not sinuous; rachis bracts similar to prophyll, about 20-22 x 0.7-1.5 cm, rachis bracts mouth splitting neatly in a few lobed; rachillae 4-11 at one partial inflorescence, unornamented, slightly close to or away from mouth of rachis bract, 10-25 cm long, about 1.5-3 mm wide, covered with scattered simple brown hairs. Flowers solitary to in group of 2-4, sessile, densely arranged, cincinni 5-10 per cm, maturing not simultaneously; bud about 4-5 x 2.5-3 mm; calyx cylindrical to cyathiform, about 3 x 2.5–3 mm, base thickened, apex trilobed, acuminate, lobed to about half of calyx length, covered with translucent scattered patent hairs; corolla about 3.5-4 x 3 mm, thick, densely covered in upper two third with simple translucent hairs, glabrescent toward base, lobes acute about 1.5 x 2 mm; staminal ring truncate about 0.6-0.8 mm high, filament subulate, about 0.3 mm long, anthers about 0.3 mm long; ovary glabrous, turbinate, apex truncate, 1.5 x 1 mm, style filiform, 1 mm long. Fruit globose about 6.5-8.5 x 6-8 mm, glabrous, smooth, immature fruit green and orange to red when mature. Seed globose, smooth, about 4-6 mm across. (Uhl and Dransfield 1987) Editing by edric.
Notes: L. spectabilis is a synonym of L. spinosa due to several characters such as: segments of frond, the number of inflorescence branching order % inflorescence is branching to two orders, flowers hairy and sessile. Miquel (1851), based his Licuala spectabilis on specimen collected by Junghuhn from Wijnkoops Bay (close to Pelabuhan Ratu) in Banten, West Java % where L. spinosa is also found. Miquel did not mention where the specimens kept. I have tried to look for the specimen in BO, but I did not find it. However, it was likely that Miquel used the specimen kept in BO when he described this species. Unfortunately, the specimen is now believed to be lost. (Uhl and Dransfield 1987)
"This differs markedly from the typical Licualas, in that its cold tolerant, and prefers full sun. It is also like lots of water, and is usually very happy in poorly drained areas". (Mike Gray) Tropical Moist Forest, Cold Hardiness Zone: 9b+
Comments and Curiosities
Uses: Ornamentals, and decorations, roofing, food-wrappers, walking sticks, binding, making hats, and eaten as vegetables.
One of the most robust species of Licuala, this palm from coastal areas is widespread in south-east Asia. It is fast growing and does well in subtropical and tropical areas. Unlike most other Licuala, it can take full sun and considerable coastal exposure.(RPS.com)
- 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).
Dransfield, J. 1976. Palms in the every life of west Indonesia. Principes 20: 39-47.
Uhl, N.W. & Dransfield, J. 1987. Genera Palmarum. Lawrence. Allen Press.
Dransfield, J. & Moore, H.E. 1982. The Martian correlation two editions of Martius’ Historia Naturalis Palmarum Compared. Kew Bull 37: 91-116.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.