Nenga pumila var. pachystachya

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Nenga (NEHN-gah)
pumila (poo-MEE-lah)
var. pachystachya
Nppac6239491547 93b216627b o.jpg
Singapore. Photo by Wee Foong Ang.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Nenga (NEHN-gah)
pumila (poo-MEE-lah)
var. pachystachya
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Kache (Thailand); Rasau, Pinang horaiung (Borneo); Keredan, Pinang muring (Malay Peninsula); Pinang unoo (Singapore); Kajoe djambe (Sumatra).

Habitat and Distribution

S. Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra, Bangka, and Borneo.
Singapore. Photo by Wee Foong Ang.
Along the landward edge of mangrove or in dense humid Dipterocarp forest on hillslopes or river valleys, also in heath forest on sandstone or granitic sand, to about 1,100 m alt. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb.


Their trunks may be clustering or solitary from 5 to 15 cm wide, rarely exceeding 5 m in height. The stems are ringed by distinct leaf scars and frequently supported by stilt roots. A distinct crownshaft is present in all but N. gajah, the petioles are well developed and bear pinnate leaves up to 2 m long. The leaflets are closely to widely spaced, regularly arranged, with one to several folds. They may be acute to acuminate, S-shaped to linear, the terminal pair usually obscurely lobed corresponding to the fold count; reaching 90 cm, they are usually deep green with a lighter underside. The rachis, petiole and crownshaft may be lightly to densely covered in hairy, brown tomentum. The inflorescence is branched to one order, rarely to two, erect or pendulous, and emerges below the crownshaft in all but N. gajah which emerges within the leaf crown. The fleshy male and female flowers share the same branches, proximally arranged in triads and distally in pairs or singles. They produce an obpyriform to ovoid fruit with a thin, fleshy mesocarp and a fibrous endocarp. Colored red, purple or black the fruit carries one seed. Editing by edric.

Caespitose, slender to moderate palm with stems sometimes stilt-rooted at the base, about 3-5 m long, (2) 3-6 (8) cm in diam.; internodes to about 10 cm long, smooth, bright green to brown. Crownshaft elongate, cylindrical, about 35-80 cm long, only slightly swollen. Leaves to 7 in crown, leaf sheath about 25-60 cm long, pale green to greenish or yellowish-white; petiole about 4-50 cm long, to 1.5 cm in diam. Leaflets to 30 on each side of the rachis, often drying dull reddish-brown; basal leaflets 1 costate, about 25-40 X 0.5-1.0 cm, long-acuminate; middle leaflets 2-3 costate, rarely 4 or 5 costate, about 35-70 X 2-4 (5) cm, long-acuminate; terminal leaflet pair 3-6 costate, rarely to 10 costate, about 20-40 X (1.5) 2-2.5 (4) cm, acuminate or slightly toothed at tips, sometimes joined to 4 cm at the base along the rachis, rarely more. Inflorescence infrafoliar, pendulous; prophyll ensiform or lanceolate, about (18) 20-25 (70) X 1.5-3.0 cm, drying chestnut-brown, caducous; peduncle about 1.5-3.0 (4) X 0.4-1.3 cm, flattened, glabrous; peduncular bract triangular to narrowly triangular, acuminate, about 8-15 X 8-10 mm, membranous; rachilla 2-4, usually 3, rarely to 6, about (15) 20-35 (50) cm long, to 6 mm thick, each subtended by a membranous triangular bract to 10 mm long. Staminate flower triangular, asymmetric, flexuous; sepals subequal, linear-subulate or very narrowly lanceolate, dorsally carinate, very flexuous, about 9-13 (20) mm long; petals elliptic to lanceolate, acuminate, straight to subfalcate, much shorter than sepals, about 5-7 (9) X 2-2.5 mm; filaments 1-2 mm long; anthers erect, linear, about 1.52 mm long, sagittate at base; pistillode conical, minute. Pistillate flower ovoid to subglobose, shorter than the staminate flower; sepals about 3-4 mm X 4 mm, petals as the sepals, or sometimes only slightly smaller; ovary ovoid to spherical, to 1.5 mm X 2 mm; stigma distinctly 3-lobed; staminodes indistinct. Infructescence pendulous, branches densely covered with fruits. Fruit ripening brick-red, oblong to oblong-ovoid or ovoid-ellipsoid, about (2) 2.43 X 1-1.5 (1.8) cm, beaked, tipped with a prominent 3-lobed stigma to 2 mm high, the lobes erect; epicarp often drying with shallow dimples. Seed broadly ovoid, about 10-15 mm X 7-9 mm, acuminate to spinescent at tip, base rounded-truncate, shallowly concave-intruded. (E.S. Fernando. 1983)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

"Clustering palm from Java where it grows at high elevations. One grower in southern California has managed to grow this palm in her backyard, but it's pretty marginal here. Very slow growing palm, too. Has a lot of color in the stems (green) petioles (yellow) and crownshafts (brownish tomenetum on yellow-green)... and leaves a deep, emerald green. Grows up to about 22' tall, a few feet taller than the 'normal' variety of Nenga pumilla." (Geoff Stein)

This moderately sized, slender, clustering palm from swamp or rainforests on the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo develops into a small cluster of narrow trunks, each topped by an open crown of lightly arching, bright green leaves that are held by a green or yellowish brown crownshaft. The bright red fruit borne below the crown are quite showy. An excellent palm for the humid tropics. (

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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