Rhopaloblaste ledermanniana

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(roh-pah-loh-BLAHS-teh) ledermanniana
Senderawoi, Wandammen Peninsula, Papua, Indonesia. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Rhopaloblaste
Species: ledermanniana
Rhopaloblaste brassii
Native Continent
Please set a value for continent.
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Mimini (Yamur dialect, Etna Bay), Imbetor, Kasira (both Wandammen), Kuwehleh (Orne dialect, Aitape), Saku (Mianmin dialect, Telefomin), Koah (Nomad). Black Palm (Papua New Guinea).

Habitat and Distribution

Rhopaloblaste ledermanniana is found on Papua New Guinea. Primary rain
Wandammen Peninsula, Papua, Indonesia. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
forest with sparse undergrowth on ridges and gentle slopes, sometimes also occurring on alluvial flats near streams, from 50 to 900 m above sea level. (R. Banka and W.J. Baker. 2004)


Moderately robust, mid-storey, solitary palm bearing up to 11 leaves in the crown. Stem to 15 m tall, 8 - 10(- 15) cm in diam., surface slightly rough with longitudinal grooves, dark olive-green, becoming brownish black with age, leaf scars prominent, internodes 6 - 8 cm. Leaf sheath 62 - 70(- 100) cm long, with dense greyish brown lepidote tomentum; crownshaft 62 - 130 cm long, c. 9 - 12 cm wide; petiole 15 - 20 cm long, concave on adaxial surface, greyish brown; rachis 2 - 3.8 m long, with blackish membranous scales on the adaxial surface; leaflets 59 - 90 each side of rachis, borne 2.5 - 4 cm apart, in one plane, semi-pendulous, middle leaflets 64 - 75 x 2.3 - 2.5 cm, linear, tapering acutely and bifid at the apex, discolorous, with twisted, medifixed or basifixed ramenta on abaxial surface of mid-veins, membranous scales as on rachis on adaxial surface of mid-veins near base of leaflets. Inflorescence 64 - 95 cm long, with a spread of 1.2 - 1.5 m, divaricate, branched to 4 or very rarely 5 orders, primary branches c. 18, 50 - 70 cm long, basal pair of primary branches strongly recurved; prophyll 26 - 37 cm long, 6 - 9 cm wide, with greyish brown, silky tomentum; peduncle 1.5 - 4 cm long, 4 - 6 cm diam., green with scattered reddish brown indumentum; rachillae slender, 17 - 36 cm long, 2 - 2.9 mm in diameter, greenish. Staminate flower 5 - 6 mm long, 3 - 4 mm diam. at anthesis; sepals 2 - 2.3 x 2.3 - 2.5 mm, rounded, striated near the margins; petals 3.6 - 4 x 2 - 2.2 mm, elliptic, glabrous; stamens 6, 5.3 - 5.6 mm long, filaments 3 - 3.5 mm long, connate at the base, anthers 2.1 - 2.5 mm long, 0.6 - 0.8 mm wide, elliptic, medifixed; pistillode conical, 3.2 - 3.5 mm long, 1 - 1.1 mm diam. at base. Pistillate flower 2 - 3 mm long, 3 - 3.5 mm diam., borne throughout the rachillae; sepals 1.4 - 1.5 mm long, 2.4 - 2.5 mm wide, rounded; petals 2.7 - 2.8 mm long, 1.5 - 1.8 mm diam., rounded with short triangular tips; staminodes 4, lobes 0.4 - 0.5 mm long, 0.4 - 0.5 mm wide at the base, acute at the apex; gynoecium 2.8 - 3 mm long, 1.9 - 2.1 mm diam., ovoid. Fruit 15.5 - 21 mm long, 9.5 - 12 mm diam., ovoid-ellipsoid, yellowish green when immature, becoming orange- red in maturity, with cupule of persistent perianth 5 - 6 mm long. Seed 10 - 12 mm long, 8 - 10 mm diam., ellipsoid-ovoid, testa black. (R. Banka and W.J. Baker. 2004)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Rhopaloblaste ledermanniana can be distinguished by its small ovoid-ellipsoid fruits, by its slender rachillae and by the inflorescence branching to four or sometimes five orders.


Warm, sheltered and moist. Tropical in it's requirements. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: The hard, outer part of the stem is used for making floorboards, bows and arrow tips. The shoot apex is eaten in Mianmin (Papua New Guinea) and Wasior (West Papua). (R. Banka and W.J. Baker. 2004)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Least concern. Rhopaloblaste ledermanniana is under no threat in West Papua as it has a wide distribution there. It is however restricted to the north-western and central-western part of Papua New Guinea, and does not extend towards the eastern most part of Papua New Guinea. The species may become threatened in Papua New Guinea if heavily disturbed in its limited, localised distribution there. (R. Banka and W.J. Baker. 2004)/Palmweb.

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.

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).

Banka, R. & Baker, W.J. 2004. A Monograph of the Genus Rhopaloblaste (Arecaceae). Kew Bulletin, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 47-60.

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

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