Rhapis puhuongensis

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Rhapis (RAH-pis)
Rhapis puhuongensis, a new palm species from Vietnam, described by Garden scientist Dr. Andrew Henderson and colleagues M. Trudgen and T. T. Phuong Anh.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Rhapis (RAH-pis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Rhapis puhuongensis is found in North Central Vietnam, Nghe An Province, in low
Rhapis puhuongensis, a new palm species from Vietnam, described by Garden scientist Dr. Andrew Henderson and colleagues M. Trudgen and T. T. Phuong Anh.
forest on limestone hills; 250–300 m.


Dwarf clustering fan palm. Stem slender, to 1.2 m tall, 5–8.0 mm in diam., 3.4–4.4 mm in diam. without sheaths, internodes 13–30 mm long, nodes distinct, tattered remnants of leaf sheath persistent on upper stem, terminating in a crown of 9–12 (15) leaves. Leaf sheath closely sheathing the stem, to 7 cm long, forming a mesh of narrow fibers; ligule papyraceous, 10–15 mm long, often persistent at maturity; petiole slender, 1.2–1.6 mm wide, 12–16 cm long when mature, margins minutely toothed; leaf blade acutely to obtusely deltoid in outline, up to 13.5 cm from petiole apex to tip, folds 14–15, undivided for 2–4.5 cm, then splitting between the folds into 13–15 linear segments, each segment 8–11 cm long, 3–6 (9) mm wide, mildly cucullate, usually with one fold except a central segment with two folds, segment margins scabrid, segment apices split along and between folds to form shallow teeth, small (about 0.5 mm) caducous hair-like scales scattered on adaxial and abaxial folds (primarily near the petiole), transverse veinlets conspicuous; adaxial hastula small, semi- circular, 1 × 1 mm, densely tomentose on young leaves, glabrous on mature leaves, abaxial hastula absent. Inflorescences interfoliar, up to 5 per stem, slightly pendulous, to 24.5 cm (from point of attachment to stem), branched to 2 orders, with a primary branch bearing 2–4 rachillae within each of 3 rachis bracts; prophyll tubular, 9–14 cm (exserted from sheaths for 3–7 cm), 2 keeled, sheathing, sometimes with indument along the keels, splitting along abaxial side, overlapping the start of the first rachis bract; rachis bracts (2) 3, overlapping, tubular, 2–6 cm, sometimes with an incomplete distal rachis bract, occasional scattered indumenta, tomentose at tip, split 1/3–1/2 length from tip; peduncle 8–10 cm, 2/3 within sheaths; rachis to 12.5 cm (elongating to 22 cm in fruit), slender, 0.7–1.1 mm diam.; rachillae to about 19 mm (elongating to 67 mm in fruit), 0.3–0.6 mm in diam., peachy-pink, dark brown when dry, with pale caducous indumenta, each rachilla with 18–20 shortly pedicellate flowers, 0.5–2.2 mm apart (elongating to 1.2–7 mm apart in fruit); pedicels 0.2 × 0.4 mm (elongating to 0.8 × 0.6 mm in fruit), subtended by an elongate triangular bract. Flowers unisexual. Male flowers not seen. Female flowers appearing hermaphroditic, with well developed gynoecium and staminodes, subtended by an elongate triangular bract, pedicels 0.2 × 0.4 mm (0.8 × 0.6 mm in fruit), proximal flowers obovoid grading to spherical at the rachilla tip, 1.65 × 3 carpels developing, apocarpus, each carpel asymmetrically conic, flattened adaxially with an abaxial bulge, 0.25 × 0.075–0.2 mm. Fruit ovoid to spherical, green when immature, yellow or white when mature, to 6 × 4.5 mm, 1–3 carpels maturing, borne on a receptacular- stalk to 4.1 mm. (A New Species from Vietnam by Dr. Andrew J. Henderson 2008) Editing by edric.


Cultivation: Various species of Rhapis have been in cultivation since the 17th Century, and they are widely regarded as easily cultivated (Hastings 2003). We believe this species could become highly desirable, most probably as a container plant, due to its small ornamental leaves and lovely peachy-pink inflorescences (Figs. 1, 3 & 5). A small number of individuals have been transplanted and are in cultivation at IEBR, where they are doing well. (A New Species from Vietnam by Dr. Andrew J. Henderson 2008)

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 Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

A New Species from Vietnam by Dr. Andrew J. Henderson 2008. 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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