Pinanga gracilis

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Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
gracilis (grah-SIHL-iss)
Pinanga gracilis leaf.jpg
Hawaii. Photo by Paul Craft
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
gracilis (grah-SIHL-iss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Himalayan Pinanga palm

Habitat and Distribution

Assam, Bangladesh, East Himalaya, Myanmar, Tibet. Lowland to montane rain forests; below
Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein
1200 m. Xizang (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal).


Stems clustered, to 4 m tall, about 1.5 cm in diam., reddish brown. Leaves pinnate, rarely undivided; sheaths closed and forming crownshafts, 21-34 cm, green with reddish brown scales; petioles 9-13 cm; rachis 40-60 cm; pinnae (1-) 3-8 per side of rachis, green abaxially, sigmoid, regularly arranged, distantly spaced; middle pinnae to 55 × 3-10 cm. Inflorescences spicate, pendulous; peduncles 1.4-4 × 0.5-0.6 cm; rachis absent; rachilla 1, 12-17 cm, straight, triangular in cross section, glabrous; triads tristichously arranged, superficial on rachilla; male flowers to 8 mm, deciduous; sepals to 1 mm, connate at base into a 3-lobed cupule; petals to 8 mm, valvate; stamens ca. 35; female flowers to 2.5 mm; sepals to 2.5 mm, rounded at apex, ciliate; petals to 2.5 mm, ciliate. Fruits red, ellipsoid, to 1.8 × 1 cm. ( Editing by edric.

Clustering palm. Leaf type: Pinnate (feather shape), fairly long for the size of the trunk. Height: 10 feet plus. A nice clustering Pinanga that has proven fairly cold hardy, and might be a good new introduction. It has slender stems, with orange fruit.

"An attractive, small, slender, clumping palm to about 5m tall, with dark green, pinnate leaves to about 1m long. It has clusters of orange/scarlet fruit." (Colin Wilson)


Soil requirements: Rich, good draining. Sun Requirements: Filtered light or shade. Maintenance: Good grower. Speed of growth: Medium. Cold Hardiness: Near freezing, mid to upper 30 F.

Comments and Curiosities

"Coming from the Himalayas, this is much more cold tolerant than most Pinangas, but probably still not frost tolerant. It likes a sheltered and moist but well drained position. It is a very nice palm which should be more widely grown." (Colin Wilson)

A lovely, clustering species with very slender canes to around 1.8 m (6 ft) tall, and velvety green, sparingly pinnate leaves to 1.2 m (4 ft) long. Pinanga gracilis grows in the understorey of the cloud forests of N.E. India and Burma up to 1000 m (3300 ft). It is a fast-growing species and probably the most cold tolerant of the Pinanga. A humid, frost-free, warm temperate or subtropical climate suits it best and it also does well as an indoor palm. Seeds are scarce and difficult to collect. (

"This may not be the most colorful Pinanga, but in my experience growing Pinangas in southern California, this is the easiest and most cold hardy species to grow here. It is a small, understory Philippine palm with wide, irregularly split pinnate leaves and small stems (up to 1" in diameter, maybe maximum). I can't find much information on this species, but it is a very nice little palm, reminiscent of a CHamaedorea. Does well as a potted plant, too. Why some species are so cold hardy while others are not I will never understand." (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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