Orania sylvicola

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Orania (oh-rahn-EE-ah)
sylvicola (sihl-vih-KOHL-ah)
Photo by Joe.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Orania (oh-rahn-EE-ah)
sylvicola (sihl-vih-KOHL-ah)
Orania macrocladus
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Ibul (Malay-Peninsula dialect), iwul (Sundanese), kayu baluhur (Malay-Asahan and Padang Sidempuan dialects), pon (Thai-Kao Panom dialect), kapun (Thai-Kao Salaw dialect), lee-boy (Thai- Thalae Ban dialect).

Habitat and Distribution

Malaya, Sumatera, Thailand. Widespread in almost every part of Western Malesia and
Medellin, Colombia. (1,500 Mts. or 5,000 feet above see level), Photo by Jeff Anderson.
slightly beyond the boundary with Indochina floral region (restricted only in southern part of Thailand). Area of distribution covers Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra, West Java, Anambas Islands, Karimata Islands Group, West Kalimantan and Sarawak. The species so far has never been recorded in the Philippines, Sulawesi and Sabah. Lowland humid evergreen tropical rainforest from 0 to about 600 m above sea level. In some parts of Sumatra and Borneo sometimes found in heath forest ("kerangas"). (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)/Palmweb.


Large palm. Trunk about 15 m high, about 15 cm in diam. breast high, internodes about 8 cm. Leaves about 15 in the crown, spirally arranged, densely covered with red-brown tomentum, about 4 - 5 m long; leaf-sheath about 80 cm, 8 - 10 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface with dense red-brown tomentum, margins disintegrating intofibres, straight, about 5 cm long; petiole about 1 m long; rachis 2.2 - 3.2 m long, about 3 cm in diam. in the middle; leaflets elongate-lanceolate, regularly arranged leaflets held in one plane, about 100 in total number, leaflets about 5.5 - 6 cm distant, about 1.05 - 1.5 m long, 6.8 - 7 cm wide, adaxial surface dark green, glabrous, with redbrown tomentum on the midrib, midrib robust, other less thick; abaxial surface densely covered with white indumentum, red-brown tomentum on the margin, midrib robust, other ribs less thick. Inflorescence spreading, branching to 2 orders, massive, rather glabrous or with red-brown tomentum, about 1.5 - 2 m long; prophyll persistent, disintegrating into fibres, about 45 × 12 cm; peduncle about 75 - 100 cm long, glabrous or with white indumentum; peduncular bract one, woody, persistent, about 2 - 2.5 m long, 10 - 11 cm wide near the base; rachis about 75 - 100 cm long; first order branches about 41 - 55 cm long, rachillae bract about 3 - 4 mm long; rachillae conspicuously slender, branching at convergent angle, conspicuously straight, about 30 - 42 cm long, bearing 100 - 154 flower clusters, bearing triads arranged in proximal about 2=3 up to 2.5 cm from distal, triads about 7 - 15 mm distant, the basal about 1 - 1.7 cm devoid of flowers, sometimes pistillate flowers found in the first order branch. Staminate flowers with calyx of 3 united minute sepals; corolla with 3 free petals, about 5 - 6 mm long, 2 - 2.5 mm wide; stamens 6, filaments free, dark- brown, about 0.5 - 0.75 mm long, anthers elongatelanceolate, pale creamy yellow, always free, about 2.5 - 3 mm long; pistillode absent. Pistillate flowers with calyx of 3 united sepals, about 0.5 - 0.7 mm long; corolla with 3 free petals, about 3.5 - 4 mm long, 3 - 4 mm wide; staminodes 6, unequal, 2 being different, larger with hooked tip, about 10 mm long, otherwise about 1.2 - 2 mm long; gynoecium dark-brown, about 3.5 - 4 mm long; stigma with 3 elongate lobes. Fruits globose or bilobed, about 4.5 - 5 cm in diam., dull green when young, yellowish green when mature; epicarp smooth, thin; mesocarp fibrous, 1 - 1.5 mm thick; endocarp thinner, hard, redbrown; endosperm white, about 3 - 4 cm diam., about 2.5 cm thick, with a hollow inside, about 1 - 1.5 cm wide. Embryo placed below middle line of seed. Eophyll bifid. (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Genus name; Honors the early 19th century Crown Prince of the Netherlands, F.G.L. Willem van Nassau, Prince of Orange. Species name; Literally "growing in the forest"

Conservation: IUCN Red List - Near Threatend. This palm tree is confined to coastal rainforest up to 200 m. The subpopulation in West Java has been reduced to fewer than 200 individuals in a single locality. The species is extinct in Singapore.

On a global scale this species is widespread and often abundant in, for example, Peninsular Malaysia and South Thailand. However, at the local level it may be seriously threatened; for example, in Java it is on the verge of extinction.a (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)/Palmweb.

Uses: Trunk is used for building houses. Leaves are used for house thatching. Fruits are said to be poisonous.

A large, solitary tree palm to 20 m (66 ft.) tall with a smooth, grey trunk and a spreading crown of straight leaves with slightly drooping, leathery leaflets that are silvery below. It occurs in rainforests on the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. (RPS.com)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos, edric.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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).

A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012. A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae).

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

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