Pinanga insignis

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Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
insignis (in-SIG-niss)
PHILIPPINES: Leyte: Southern Leyte prov. Lake Danao; coordinates of general area c. 700 m. 11 4 23.71 N, 124 41 43.18 E. Photo by Dr. Wally Suarez
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
insignis (in-SIG-niss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Philippines; sarawag, chebouch (Palau). English name; Pinang palm, Black-stemmed pinanga palm, Black fiber palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Caroline Is., Philippines, and Sulawes in the Sunda Islands, the world's eleventh-largest
PHILIPPINES: Mindanao: Bukidnon prov. Baungon Municipality, Barangay San Vicente, Sitio Kalanganan, Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park; coordinates of general area 8 11 23 N, 124 45 27 E. Photo by Drs. P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona
island, it is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. Micronesia (Caroline Islands) and Philippines (Luzon, Masbate, Mindoro, Negros, Leyte, Mindanao, Basilan); in primary lowland to montane rain forests.


Large solitary tree palm to 10 m tall, stem to 20 cm in diameter, the leaf scars often prominent. Leaves pinnate, to 6 m long; leaf sheaths to 1.5 m long, forming a distinct crownshaft that is thicker that the stem, purplish-brown; the leaflets linear-lanceolate, each to 80 cm long. Flowers small, in large panicles arising from below the crown shaft, the panicles pendulous to 1 m long, often with more than 7 rachillae; flowers in groups of 3, a female flower between two males, the flower groups arranged in two series along the rachilla. Fruit bifarious along the rachilla, ellipsoid, 2.6 x 1.2 cm, ripening red then velvety purplish black, tapering at both ends, subtended by a persistent calyx cup. (De Guzman E. and E. S. Fernanado. 1986.) Editing by edric.


"This palm enjoys a sunny, moist area where it can get a good helping of full sun during the day. It is a water lover, and should be watered regularly to insure it will not dry out. This palm is cold sensitive and should be kept in Zones 10-11 (Tropical/warm sub-tropical). Any temperatures under the mid 30"s F (3°C) will cause serious damage. Seedlings prefer a moist shady area where they will get watered every day." (Mike Brett MB Palms)

Comments and Curiosities

"The tallest species in the Pinanga family, this solitary palm can grow to heights over 30 feet (10 metres) tall. The trunk is a glossy dark green with light brown leaf scares, leading up to the bright purple crownshaft. The purple crown and the green trunk give this palm a nice color contrast. The crown consists of 6-10 long evenly arranged green pinnate leaves. The seeds turn bright red once ripe, adding even more color to this palm." (Mike Brett MB Palms)

"Largest of all the Pinangas, this Phillipine solitary pinnate monoecious palm is a majestic palm for any tropical landscape. It has a deep olive green crownshaft fading to a wonderful maroon-purple below and deep red seeds. the trunk is deeply ringed and a light olive green- quite ornamental." (Geoff Stein)

A fast-growing, tropical palm that represents one of the largest of all Pinanga. It originates in the Philippines and the Micronesian Palau Islands, and has a stout, smooth trunk to 10m (33ft) tall and large leaves to 3m (10ft) in length. (

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).

De Guzman E. and E. S. Fernanado. 1986. Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna Vol IV; Bamboos, Grasses and Palms. NRMC, MNR and Univ. of the Philippines: 222-224.

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

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