Pinanga bicolana

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Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
bicolana (bihk-oh-LAHN-ah)
PHILIPPINES: Luzon: Laguna prov. Los Banos, University of the Philippines College of Forestry Campus; coordinates of general area 14 9 59.99 N, 121 13 0.02 E. Photo by Dr. Leonardo L.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
bicolana (bihk-oh-LAHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Bicol abiki

Habitat and Distribution

Philippines. Philippines: Luzon (Camarines Norte and Sur provs.); in dipterocarp
Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein
forest about 100-200 m alt. Endemic. Tropical Moist Forest.


Solitary, moderate, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm to 3 m tall. Stem about 4 cm in diam., internodes to 6 cm long. Crownshaft elongate, cylindrical, slightly swollen, to 60 cm long. Leaves 5-6 in crown; leafsheath about 42 cm long, dull light green, covered with dense, brown, scaly indumentum; leaf without sheath 75-100 cm long; petiole about 25 x 1.3 cm, channelled above, convex below, covered with indumentum as the leafsheath; rachis angular, bifacial above, obtusely rounded below, covered with indumentum as the leafsheath and petiole. Leaflets to 10 on each side of the rachis, unequal, inequi-distant, to 6 cm apart, the apex incised to as many lobes as there are costae, dull dark green above and slightly mottled with blotches of lighter shade, ashy puberulous-glaucous underneath, the costae above sharply edged, those beneath covered with brown scaly indumentum; basal leaflets generally unicostate, about 17 x 1 cm, ± sigmoidal, long-acuminate; middle leaflets 1-6 costate, about 40 x 8 cm, ± sigmoidal, cuneiform, narrowed towards the base, apical lobes acuminate-falcate, pendulous, to about 7.0-8.5 cm long, generally about l of leaflet length; terminal leaflet pair to 14 costate, about 18.5 x 12.5 cm, the pair joined to 14 cm at the base along the rachis, apical lobes falcate-acuminate, to 3.5 cm long. Inflorescence infrafoliar, pendulous; prophyll not known; peduncle about 5 x 0.8 cm, flattened, about 3-4 mm thick, glabrous, light green becoming orange when fresh; main axis to 8 cm long, tapering distally, ± zigzag when dry; rachillae 5- 8, very rarely more, deflexed, distichous, ± in the same plane, borne 3-4 cm apart, each about 9-14 cm long, flattened, to 4 mm wide, 3 mm thick when dry, light green becoming orange when fresh, the subtending bract a narrow low collar; triads borne strictly distichously along the rachilia. Staminate and pistillate flowers not known. Infructescence pendulous. Fruiting perianth depressed-cupular, 3 mm high, 7 mm across, with a broadened mouth; the petals and sepals subequal, glabrous, drying dark brown; sepals valvate, joined at their bases; petals free, imbricate, broader than the sepals; subtending bract as a low explanate, semi-annular collar, almost inconspicuous. Fruits distichous, to 8 mm apart, ripening red then purplish-black, oblong-ellipsoidal, about 2.2 x 1.4 cm, prominently beaked or mammilate, with a collar to 2 mm high and 3 mm wide near the base surrounding the apical stigmatic remains; epicarp drying smooth, sometimes with shallow depressions, rather thick and crustaceous; mesocarp loosely fibrous; seed broadly ovoid, about 9.5 x 9.0 mm, rounded at tip, shallowly concave-truncate at base; endosperm ruminate, embryo basal. (Principes Vol. 32, page 172.) Editing by edric.

This species is closely related to P. copelandii in the distichously arranged fruits along the rachilla but is easily distinguished by its prominently beaked, oblong-ellipsoidal fruits with the epicarp drying smooth and rather crustaceous. The inflorescence bears rarely more than 8 deflexed rachillae. P. bicolana together with P. maculata and P. copelandii belong to a distinct group within Pinanga in bearing united sepals in their pistillate flowers. Within that group they form an unusual subgroup in having broad, pluricostulate leaflets which are ashy-grey on the undersurface and with deeply incised tips. All the four species of Pinanga discussed above are excellent ornamental palms, especially at the juvenile stage (e.g., as pot plants) when the mottling of the leaves is most prominent. In P. maculata, P. copelandii and P. bicolana the first seedling leaves are generally much larger and with broader spots than in P. curranii. It is, however, in P. maculata where the variegation is most striking and in most cases continues until fruiting stage. Seeds of P. maculata and P. copelandii may have been distributed through the Palm Society Seed Bank, but names provided should be treated with caution. Precise identification of the plants is only possible when they start to flower and bear fruits. (Principes Vol. 32, page 172.)


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

"Smaller solitary pinnate species from the Philippines. Crownshaft is light green with some red-brownish colors sometimes. Leaflets are irregularly spaced along rachis and are lightly mottled. Trunk is very dark purply green near top and prominently ringed." (Geoff Stein)

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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