Pinanga cucullata

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Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
cucullata (koo-kool-LAH-tah)
Pinanga cucullata01.jpg
Photo by Rudy Meyer,
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
cucullata (koo-kool-LAH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering & procumbent.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Borneo. It seems always to be found in 'kerangas' (Bornean heath forest) and,
Photo by Rudy Meyer,
although all collections are from the same locality, I have observed it else-where in the 1st Division at Semengoh Forest Reserve near Kuching and in Sempadi Forest Reserve on the Bau-Lundu Road. Although abundant where it occurs, it is, like many kerangas palms, a shy flowerer. (J. Dransfield. 1991)/Palmweb.


Slender colonial palmlet spreading by short rhizomes or stolons; stem erect, rarely exceeding 60 cm long, 4-8 mm in diam., internodes 3-4 cm long, the surface covered with dark brown scales and white hairs, adventitious branching sometimes occurring from the middle of the internodes. Crown of about 8 leaves, the sheaths forming an elongate crownshaft; leaf sheaths about 11 x 1.4 cm, smooth, almost succulent when fresh, striate on drying, bearing scales and hairs as the internodes, distally with 2 short rapidly disintegrating auricles 6 x 3 mm; petiole very short, about 20 x 2.5 mm, bearing scales and hairs as the sheath; blade when fresh, dark shiny green adaxially, grey hairy abaxially, deeply bifid, the costa about 5 cm only, the two lobes conspicuously cucullate, to 25 x 3 cm, with about 5 ribs, the tips entire rather than lobed, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface densely grey-scurfy, particularly along the folds. Inflorescence unbranched or bifid, pendulous or porrect, to 8 cm; prophyll not preserved; peduncle very short, not exceeding 8 mm, about 4 mm in diam. near the base; rachilla about 2 x 1 mm in diam., pale cream, thickening and becoming red at fruit maturity, rather densely covered in caducous branched scale-like trichomes, and bearing strictly distichous triads of flowers. Staminate flowers (based on one very imperfectly preserved flower) about 4 x 3 mm; calyx about 0.5 mm high, irregularly 3-lobed; petals about 4 x 2 mm, unequal; stamens at least 4 (exact number not known), filaments 0.5 mm, anthers elongate, 1.3 mm; pollen not known. Pistillate flower globular, about 2 mm in diam.; calyx gamo- sepalous, striate, about 1.5 mm high, shallowly 3-lobed; petals imbricate, ovate, about 1.5 x 1.5 mm, the margins minutely ciliate; staminodes absent; ovary ellipsoid, about 2 x 1 mm, tipped with an irregularly lobed stigma. Mature fruit black, ellipsoid, about 13 x 5 mm. Seedling not known. (J. Dransfield. 1991)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

This is a pretty species, very distinctive in its cucullate bifid leaves of a curious almost succulent texture, adaxially shiny green and abaxially grey-hairy. It seems most closely related both in vegetative and floral details to P. tomentella Becc.; the latter, however, is immediately distinguishable by its entire, lanceolate, scarcely bifid leaf. (J. Dransfield. 1991)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

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).

Dransfield, J. 1991. Notes on Pinanga (Palmae) in Sarawak. Kew Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 691-698.

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

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