Lanonia gracilis

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Lanonia (lah-non-EE-ah)
gracilis (grah-SIHL-iss)
(Was Licuala flabellum) Kebun Raya Bogor, Java, Indonesia. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Lanonia (lah-non-EE-ah)
gracilis (grah-SIHL-iss)
Old names, Licuala gracilis, Licuala flabellum.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Java (Indonesia). Endemic to West Java. Habitat: primary forest, common forest
(Was Licuala flabellum) Kebun Raya Bogor, Java, Indonesia. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
undergrowth component, seashore to mountain about 150-750 m altitude.


A small palm from rainforests on Sulawesi, in Indonesia with palmate leaves that consist of 6 to 10 broad segments. A nice and rare ornamental for the tropics. (

Stem about 1-3 m tall, to about 20 cm in diameter, brown, nodes to 1.5 cm distant. Leaves 10-14 in the crown, sheaths to 30 cm with red - brown fibres; petioles to 120 cm long, thornly below, 10-12 mm near base, 5-6 toward apex, green; spines along one third to more lenghth of petiole, triangular to claws, patent to reflexed, largest near the base; fronds peltate-orbicular, unequal at the base, about 30-45 cm long, about 60-80 cm wide, segment about 9-17 leaflets, the size is not same (wider toward central); lateral segment 2-5 costulate, 25-44 x 2.5-5 cm; central segment slightly larger than rest, bifid 1/5-1/3 frond lenght, about 10-14 costulate, about 30-45 x 7-10 cm. Inflorescences erect, shorter than leaves (very short), about 15-40 cm long, extending beyond crown (axilary), branching to two order, bears either entirely female or hermaphrodite flowers at a different individual; prophyll tubular, about 10-15 cm long, about 1.5 cm wide, coriaceus and flattened at the base, closely sheathing, glabrous at the base and covered with brown hairs at the apex; peduncle about 10-12 cm long, about 2-3 cm wide, covered with sparsely golden brown hairs, peduncular bract lacking; rachis bracts only two, about 10 cm long, about 5 mm wide; rachillae 8-28, unornamented, about 8-18 cm long, about 2-3 mm wide, covered with sparsely golden brown hairs. Flowers sessile, maturing not simultaneously, bud about 4-5 x 2 mm; calyx tubular, about 2.5-3 x 2-2.5 mm, base thickened, apex trilobed, acuminate, glabrous, yellowish in colours; corolla tripartitus, triangular, about 3.5-5 x 2 mm, base thickened, glabrous, apex blunt, green yellowish in colour; pistillate flowers solitary, spirally arranged, stays in anthesis for 8 to 10 days; ovary cone shaped, glabrous, to 3.5 mm long and 1.4 mm wide; hermaphrodite flowers arranged in group of 2-4 flowers, densely arranged, cincinni 10-15 (about 4 clusters per cm), stay in anthesis for 3 to 4 weeks; staminal ring membranous, about 1mm long, filament subulate, about 1 mm, base thickened; anther about 1 mm long; ovary cone shaped, glabrous, about 2 x 0.8 mm, consist of three uniovulate carpels, all three carpels in every flower develop into independent fruits. Fruit globose about to 9 mm in diameter, glabrous, pink or cherry red in young and dark red or dark brown when mature (the colour variations occur in the cluster, not in individual), solitary or develops an apocarpous fruit with three drupes (sometimes one flower bears three fruits); seed globose about 6-mm in diameter, dark brown and smooth. (Uhl and Dransfield 1987) Editing by edric.

Notes: Based on the description of L. flabellum in Martius (1838), it has two similar characters with L. gracilis, which are the bifid central segment and the inflorescence pattern. This species was described by Martius based on Reinwardt collections which was said originated from Celebes. However, no collections have ever been made. So, there was a collection of this plant from Celebes. The type of L. flabellum is kept in Munich. According to Dransfield and Moore (1982), the entire flowers have fallen from the type and in many cases Reinwardt had written the location for his specimens incorrectly. Therefore, so they suggest that the type of L. flabellum has probably been collected from Ujung Kulon. Thus, it is regarded as synonym. (Uhl and Dransfield 1987)


Tropical Moist Forest, Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

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).

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.

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