Maxburretia furtadoana

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furtadoana (foor-tah-doh-AHN-ah)
Maxburretia furtadoana9.jpg
South Thailand. Photo-L.H. Bailey Hortorium.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Maxburretia
furtadoana (foor-tah-doh-AHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Mak phra rahu (หมากพระราหู) (Bangkok); Palm phra rahu (ปาล์มพระราหู) (Surat Thani)

Habitat and Distribution

South Thailand, where known only on two adjoining limestone hills near Sural.
Wang Wiset District, Trang, Thailand. Photo by Frank (Trópico).
These hills are of massive karstic construction and difficult to access. Maxburretia furtadoana is apparently confined to the rather exposed upper slopes, in stunted forest, and to crevices in the precipices. It is possible that it may occur elsewhere on neighboring limestone hills. (Dr. John Dransfield, 1978)/Palmweb.


Clustering, dioecious, pleonanthic fan palm, spreading by basal suckers to produce clumps of up to 10 or more stems; stems to 3 m tall at maturity, rarely to 5 m, 5 cm in diam.; base of stem free of leaf sheaths, pale brown, with close vertical cracking and leaf sheath scars, upper 1-2 m or more of stem clothed with long-persisting leaf sheaths, the combined diameter 12-15 cm. Leaf sheath, when young, erect, sheathing, composed of 15 or more hard, coarse, woody fibers to 3 mm wide, the outer fibers softly brown-hairy, in age rotting and expanding to form an open network of dirty brown fibers, the free ends spiny, sticking out from the skin, thus producing a dense spiny covering to the stem; petiole to 50 cm long, in exposed plants shorter, rarely not more than 30 cm, in trunkless juveniles longer, sometimes up to 70 cm, unarmed, oval in cross section except at the base where semicircular, 4 X 3 mm in diam., pale yellowishgreen; lamina rounded in general outline, largely held stiffly in one plane, to 75 cm in diam., largest radius along midline, about 50 cm from insertion to tip of apical leaflet, lamina divided into 25-30 single-fold leaflets, in upper part of leaf divided to half the radius, the divisions decreasing in length towards the outer edges of the lamina, where divided to 90% of the radius, leaflets further divided at the apex to 1-5 cm, to 1.5 cm wide, upper surface pale green, more or less glabrous, marked with prominent longitudinal veins, transverse veins obscure, and lower surface covered with thin white wax, abaxial ribs yellowish, bearing chaffy brown hairs; abaxial hastula absent or minutely present as a thin flange about 3 mm in height, petiole scarcely continuing into the lamina, adaxial hastula present, triangular, flattened, erose, black-edged, with chaffy grey-brown hairs. Inflorescences unisexual, axillary, arching out of the leafaxils: staminate inflorescence usually more slender and more highly and divaricately branched than the pistillate, branching to 3 orders, 25-40 cm long, with 3-5 primary branches (partial inflorescences), axis flattened at base, to 5 mm wide, 3 mm thick, densely flocculent-hairy at edges; prophyll adnate to the axis, to 7 cm long, 7 mm wide, tubular, irregularly bilobed to 1 cm at apex,


"I acquired five 1G M. furtadoana in 1999 from Floribunda, and planted them. They hang in there for about a year, give or take a few months, and then they all promptly died. It looked like they dried out, which would seem strange. My guess is that their soil requirements are very unique, and they just didn't like it here. Guihaia does reasonably well here." (Bo-Göran)

Comments and Curiosities

This is a dioecious genus.

Etymology: Genus name honors Max Burret (1883-1964), German botanist.

Rediscovered by Dr. John Dransfield, 1978.

"Hermaphrodite flowers which are also seen in this species resemble the female flowers. The fruits are too young for an investigation into the nature of the albumen, the position of the embryo, etc.; in the shape and arrangement of the perianth and of the young developing ovaries this species appears to be like Maxburretia rupicola. CURTIS mentions that the stems reach a height of 6-10 ft., and HENDERSON notes that they attain about 10 ft. amongst dry rocks, but that the plants are dwarfed when growing in cracks of the rocks near the sea. That the palm is caespitose has not been recorded by any of the collectors; but I have noticed this character in a plant growing in the Botanic Gardens, Singapore." (Gardens Bulletin, S.S. Vol. XI. (1941).

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).

Dr. John Dransfield, 1978. GENTES HERBARUM Vol. II pgs. 195-198.

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

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