Nenga gajah

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Nenga (NEHN-gah)
gajah (gah-jah)
10206474964 db34f41fd3 o.jpg
Danum valley conservation area, Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo. Photo: Fletcher & Baylis.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Nenga (NEHN-gah)
gajah (gah-jah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Pinang gajah.

Habitat and Distribution

Borneo, and Sumatera. In hill Dipterocarp forest on hillslopes, valley bottoms, and
Bogor Botanic Garden in Java Island, Indonesia. Photo by Vasin Tangkaew.
stream sides; about 800 m alt. Endemic. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb.

This is native to low-land of Jambi province, Sumatra Island, Indonesia. Found in shading area along river bank, it may needed plenty of water.


Solitary, stem stout, stilt-rooted, to 2 m long, 15 cm in diam.; internodes short, to 1 cm long, greyish-brown. Crownshaft not well-defined. Leaves 8-10 in crown, leaf sheath about 50-60 cm long, pale yellowishgreen, not falling off but rotting on the stem; petiole about 50-75 X 2.5 cm, circular in cross-section, with sparse dark brown indumentum; rachis to 8 mm thick. Leaflets about 8-27 on each side of the rachis, drying dull greyish-brown; basal leaflet 1 costate, about 34 X 1 cm, longacuminate; middle leaflets 3-6 costate, about 32 X 4.5-8.0 cm, long-acuminate; terminalleaflet pair 3-5 costate, to about 32 X 3-4 cm, acuminate or bifid to slightly toothed at tips, the pair joined to about 4 cm at the base along the rachis. Inflorescence interfoliar, erect; prophyll ensiform, about 25-35 X 4 cm, coriaceous or woody and fibrous, hard, covered with scurfy brown indumentum especially along the margins, long-persisting through anthesis; peduncle about 22-30 X 1 cm, flattened, covered with sparse brown hairs; peduncular bract triangular ca. 6 mm long, thick and stiff; rachillae 3-5, about 10-12 cm long, 5-8 mm thick, each rachilla subtended by a short, thick, stiff, triangular bract to 5 X 5 mm; the lower 2-4 rachillae all staminate, the terminal or apical rachilla staminate and pistillate, or rarely all staminate only. Staminate flowers arranged in 5-7 vertical rows, or in tight spirals, angular, oblong; sepals minute, triangular, oblong-ovate or broadly ovate, slightly concave, to 1 mm long, often shorter; petals oblong to slightly obovate, unequal, about 4.5-5 X 2-2.5 mm, rounded-truncate or cucullate at apex, rather thick, the inner surface marked with impressions of stamens; filaments to 1 mm long; anthers erect, linear-oblong, about 22.5 mm long, deeply sagittate at the base; pistillode indistinct. Pistillate flower with sepals to 7 X 6 mm, coriaceous, persistent; petals as the sepals; ovary spherical, to 3 X 4 mm; stigma obscurely 3-lobed; staminodes 6, minute, triangular, to 0.5 mm long. Infructescence pendulous, a single club-like head of fruits. Fruit ripening dark purplish-brown, fusiform, about 5-8 X 1.5-2.5 cm, beaked, tipped by a short blunt stigma; epicarp drying with few longitudinal ridges. Seed narrowly ovoid to fusiform, to about 4.5 X 1.8 cm, acute to acuminate at tip, base rounded to obtuse. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

This species differs from all other species of Nenga in its interfoliar, erect inflorescence with a long peduncle, and bearing a persistent, coriaceous, woody prophyll, the club-like head of fruits, and the structure of the male flowers with minute sepals. This species possesses many aberrant characters; however, despite the peculiar nature of this taxon, it seems to fit more reasonably in Nenga than in any other closely related genus. The laterally attached ovule, the spirally arranged triads near the proximal end of the rachilla, and the distal terminal portion being entirely of staminate flowers are distinctive features of Nenga (see Dransfield 1975). (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: The word "Gajah" means "Elephant" in Indonesian language.

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).

E.S. Fernando, A Revision of the Genus Nenga. 1983. 1983. A Revision of the Genus Nenga. Principes 27: 55-70.

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

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