Licuala merguensis

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Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
merguensis (mehr-GWEHN-sis)
Licuala merguensis Anders S. Barfod.jpg
Thailand. Photo by Dr. Anders S. Barfod.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
merguensis (mehr-GWEHN-sis)
Licuala hirta Hodel, Palm J. 136: 12 (1997)
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & clustering.
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Ka ching (กะชิง), Ka pho hang nu (กะพ้อหางหนู) (Peninsular)

Habitat and Distribution

S. Myanmar to Pen. Thailand.
Thailand. Photo by Paul Craft.


Solitary palm tree. Stem usually less than 1 m tall, 5–8 cm in diam., often covered by persistent leaf bases to the base. Leaf sheath 40–50 cm long, ligule up to 15 cm long in young leaves; petiole up to 2.2 m long, basally with 2–5 mm long, slender, often unevenly sized and irregularly set spines; lamina divided in 9–17 segments; mid segment entire with 7–17 adaxial ribs, or breaking up irregularly in up to three additional segments, petiolulate or rarely sessile, 35–65 cm long; the remaining segments with 2–4 adaxial ribs the basal ones 30–50 cm long; indentations leading to adaxial and abaxial folds almost even, 0.2–0.5 cm. Inflorescence rarely more than 50 cm long, sinuous and messy looking, often partly covered by litter trapped at the leaf bases, with 4–6 (–7) partial inflorescences; peduncle 10–15 cm long; prophyll 9–12 cm long; peduncular bracts lacking; basal rachis bract 8–15 (–20) cm long, inflated distally, disintegrating irregularly at the apex; partial inflorescences with 3–6 rachillae, curved in various directions, with light brown to ferruginous woolly hair covering, proximal rachillae (5–) 10–15 cm long. Flowers up to about 150 on longest rachillae, grouped in 2–3 flowered cincinni basally to solitary distally, sessile; bract subtending cincinni or individual flowers up to 5 mm; calyx 2.5–4 mm long, urn-shaped, glabrous basally, covered by light brown woolly hair above the middle, with three rounded about 0.5 mm long lobes; corolla 3–4 mm long, covered by seriate hairs arranged in transversal stripes, erect at anthesis, greenish brown on the outside, bright yellow on the inside; androecium about 1.5 mm long, fused to corolla for 0.5 mm; anthers 0.6–0.8 mm long: ovary 1.5 mm long, obovoid, locules in lower half, style about 0.5 mm, stigma overtopping anthers. Fruit rounded, 0.8–1 cm in diam. (Palms of Thailand) Editing by edric.


Tropical Moist Forest, Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

A recently described, new Licuala from rainforests on the Malay Peninsula in southern Thailand where it grows at low and medium elevations. It produces a short, solitary or sometimes clustered trunk to 2.5 m (8 ft.) tall that holds an upright crown of circular leaves with broad segments. The central segment is the widest and is sometimes carried on a small stalk, giving the leaf a particularly unusual appearance. It does best in the understory of the tropical garden. (

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).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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