Ptychosperma ambiguum

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Ptychosperma (tee-koh-SPEHR-mah) ambiguum (ahm-big-OO-uhm)
Ptychosperma ambiguum fruit.jpg
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens, Thailand. Photo by Paul Craft
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ptychosperma (tee-koh-SPEHR-mah)
Species: ambiguum (ahm-big-OO-uhm)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering & solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Palem bambu (Java)

Habitat and Distribution

New Guinea. Grows
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens, Thailand. Photo by Paul Craft
on limestone deposits.


Clustering, rarely solitary palm to about 5 m tall, although, trunk rarely larger than 2.5 cm (one inch). It has leaves to about 1.25 m long (4 feet), with narrow leaflets clustered along the stem. It has inflorescence brarched to 3 orders, with black fruit, bright red rachillae and cupules. Editing by edric.


Growing on limestone deposits, it is best suitable to soils with a high pH. Requires a warm, moist, well drained and sheltered position. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

A solitary, very slender species from the understory of rainforests in western New Guinea, where it grows on limestone rock. The leaves have rather narrow, clustering leaflets, and the bright red fruit stalks carry attractive black fruits. (

"ambiguum is definitely the right word... only sources I can find for this palm in the literature say it is a solitary palm, yet all the photos and plants I have personally seen are clustering palms... nothing matches... but since I am more swayed by what I see, than what I read (escecially if not written by a researcher) I will assume this is a suckering species- from New Guinea. Has drooping leaves with long, premorse leaflets and a fairly open crown, as the suckers are arched away from the center, making it a particularly ornamental palm." (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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