Pinanga sarmentosa

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Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
Forest Research Institute, Malaysia, Kepong 52109, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: collector of the type Dr. SAW LENG GUAN
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Malaya. The palm flora of Peninsular Malaysia is relatively well worked out. Last
Pinanga sarmentosa, Sungai Nipah, Terengganu, Malaysia. Oct. 2002. This species was described new to science based on this small hillside population that Scott Zona and his colleagues discovered. Photo by Dr. Scott Zona
year it came as a pleasant surprise when a collection team from the Kepong herbarium with visitors from the Fairchild Tropical Garden (Scott Zona and Carl E. Lewis) chanced upon this very unusual and elegant Pinanga from the Sungai Nipah Forest Reserve, Terengganu. In Peninsular Malaysia, only two other species of Pinanga form stolons or have long-necked rhizomes – P. riparia Ridley and P. johorensis C.K.

Lim & L.G. Saw (Lim 2001). Both of these species have stolons or rhizomes just beneath the soil or, if exposed, very close to the soil. These are also large plants, often exceeding 2 meters in height.


Clustering, pleonanthic, short-stemmed stoloniferous palm with long runners forming colonies of widely spaced individual stems; stems stilt rooted, to c. 20 cm high; internodes 0.5–1.2 cm, 1.0–2.3 cm diam., nodal scares conspicuous; mature stolons 80–100 cm long, creeping above the forest litter, occasionally rooting at nodes, terminating with plantlets, internodes 5–9 cm long, 2–3 mm diam. Leaves 4–5 in crown, pinnate, 70–90 cm long (including petiole), neatly abscising; sheaths tubular, 11–15 cm long, covered with scattered dark reddish brown indumentum; crownshaft well defined up to 22 cm long, 1–1.5 cm diam.; petiole 35–55 long, 0.5 cm diam., channelled adaxially, rounded abaxially, covered with scattered dark reddish amorphous indumentum; rachis slightly curving under the weight of the frond, ridged adaxially, rounded abaxially and indumentum covering similar to the petiole; blade variously divided into 2–8-fold leaflets, slightly mottled, surface dull, typically terminal leaflets with 5–8 folds, proximal ones with 2–5 folds, leaflets with pointed apical margin; leaflets 5–7 pairs, terminal leaflets 16–26 cm long, 3–6 cm wide, proximal leaflets 25–35 cm long, 1.5–5 cm wide, individual folds 0.5–1.1 cm wide; lamina covered with scattered dark reddish amorphous indumentum on adaxial surface and glabrescent abaxially; transverse veinlets inconspicuous, adaxial surface paler when dried. Infructescence infrafoliar, spreading in various directions, 9–12 cm long,; prophyll not known; peduncle bright red, terete but slightly flattened, 2–2.5 cm long, 2–3 mm diam., densely covered with amorphous caducous translucent-white and reddish brown indumentum; peduncular bracts scale-like, (1–)2, if 2 then oppositely arranged, positioned mid-way on the peduncle; rachillae 2, rarely 3 bright red, rarely spicate, regularly zigzagging with fruits distichously arranged on the ridges of the folds, ca. 3 fruits/cm, densely covered with amorphous caducous translucentwhite and reddish brown indumentum. Fruits green, maturing black, ellipsoid, c. 13 × 8 mm. Seed, 12 × 5 mm, endosperm ruminate. (Figs. 1–4). SPECIMEN EXAMINED. Malaysia, Terengganu, Kemaman, Sungai Nipah Forest Reserve, Sungai Nipah. L.G. Saw, S. Zona & C.E. Lewis, FRI 48154 (Holotype KEP; isotypes FTG, K, L). So far, the species is only known from the type locality. HABITAT. Lowland dipterocarp forest. The species formed scattered colonies of individuals on the upper slopes and ridges of a lowland dipterocarp forest. Here they were found in large numbers, becoming one of the common understory palms of the forest floor. Individual shoots were spaced rather widely apart. The species was absent from the lower slopes or in valleys. NOTES. A very distinctive Pinanga, like no other species in Malaya. The species looks superficially like Pinanga tenacinervis J. Dransf. from Sarawak; however, the long stolons and the longer leaflets found in the new species distinguish it from the latter. Furthermore, P. sarmentosa has a thinner textured frond than P. tenacinervis; the former has red rachillae, ellipsoid fruits, c. 13 × 8 mm, maturing black, while the latter has green rachillae with fusiform fruits, c. 12 × 4 mm that will mature crimson (Dransfield 1980)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

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).

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

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