Salacca stolonifera

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Salacca (SAH-lahk-kah)
stolonifera (stoh-lohn-ih-FEH-rah)
Thailand. Photo by Philippe Alvarez.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Salacca (SAH-lahk-kah)
stolonifera (stoh-lohn-ih-FEH-rah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering (soboliferous)
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Salacca stolonifera is found in SE. Pen. Thailand. Scarce in swamp
Thailand. Photo by Philippe Alvarez.
and wet forest in the extreme south from near sea level to 600 m altitude.


Loosly clustering understorey palm, up to 4 m tall. Stems creeping to shortly erect, with conspicuous aerial roots. Leaves 6–9 per stem; sheath 30–60 cm long, deeply split, densely covered with brownish, felt-like indument and armed with up to 4 cm long slender black spines, arranged in horizontal groups of 3–7 basally to paired or solitary towards the petiole; petiole c. 1.2 m long; rachis 2–2.5 m long, armed abaxially with solitary or paired spines to 1.5 cm long; leaflets 15–17 per side, clustered in sub-opposite groups of 2–3 and pointing in different directions, sigmoid, c. 50 x 5 cm, long acuminate, apical pair of leaflets coherent, not split. Male inflorescence lateral, emerging though groove on the abaxial side of the leaf base, to 4 m long, whip-like, with c. 3 partial inflorescences, these reddish, spike-like and up to 20 cm long, with hairs projecting from the subtending bracts; female inflorescences not seen. Fruits ellipsoid to obovoid, densely covered in spine-like scales. (Palms of Thailand)

Clustering understory palm, spreading by whip-like stoloniferous inflorescences to 4 m long rooting and sprouting at tip, forming loose colonies of plants spaced 2-4 m apart. Stem to 70 cm tall, 5-8 cm in diam., short-creeping to erect, internodes 3-5 cm, conspicuous aerial roots. Leaves 6-9, pinnate, ascending, to 3.5 m long; sheath 30-60 cm long, long-open, tubular and bulbous only at base, light green, densely covered with rusty-brown felt-like indument, slender black spines to 4 cm long in horizontal lines of 3-7 in proximal portion becoming paired or solitary on petiole; petiole to 1.2 m long, with similar indument as sheath; rachis 2-2.5 m long, with similar indument as sheath, solitary or paired spines to 1.5 cm long and spaced 4-6 cm apart on abaxial surface; 17 pinnae per each side of rachis, clustered and fanned in remote sub-opposite groups of 2-3, pinnae to 50 x 5 cm, end pair confluent and broader, lanceolate, falcate, long-acuminate, green adaxially, paler abaxially, especially distal margins with forward-pointing bristles to 2 mm long, prominently J-nerved, a midrib and 1 sub- marginal primary nerve near each of 2 margins, 3 secondaries between midrib and each sub-marginal primary, 1-2 secondaries between each sub- marginal primary and margin. Staminate plants only seen, inflorescence interfoliar, to 4 m long, whiplike; peduncle 15 cm long; bracts 2-3, to 3 cm long; inflorescences bearing in proximal 45 cm 3 partial inflorescences to 20 cm long and spaced about 15 cm apart, each a nodding simple rachilla with a sub-peduncle to 14 cm long and sheathed by 4 bracts, lowest one to 8 cm long, long-acuminate, loosely sheathing, attached 4 cm up from base of sub-peduncle, 2nd bract to 5 cm long, 3rd to 3 cm long and funnel-shaped with acute tip, 4th to 4 mm long and compressed funnel-shaped, basal unsheathed portion of sub-peduncle with thick clusters of reddish brown hairs and scales to 2 mm wide; rachis or rachilla to 6 cm long, with numerous inflorescence bracteoles, these close-set, less than 1 mm apart, imbricate, spirally arranged, collar-like, reddish, each encircling rachis and forming a bowl 2 x 7 mm. Staminate flowers set within rachilla bracts, in dyads subtendedby broad-based slender bracteoles to 0.75 mm high, with clusters of slender transparent hairs 1-2 mm long projecting from margins of bracteole; flowers 5 x 2 mm, long-ovoid; calyx 3 mm high, moderately lobed, sepals connate in basal 3/4, rounded apically, medially thickened and nerved when dry, margins thin and membranous to nearly transparent and composing the connate portion of the sepals; petals 5 mm long, connate in basal 3 mm, valvate and rounded-acuteapically, spatulate, strongly nerved when dry; stamens 6, exceeding corolla throat. ( Editing by edric.


Tropical Moist Forest.

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: The epithet is from the Latin stoloniferus, meaning bearing a stolon, and is used here in reference to the stolon-bearing inflorescences, a diagnostic feature of this species. (

Salacca stolonifera is closest to S. glabrescens, but the latter differs in its larger size, non-stoloniferous habit, and more highly branched inflorescence with more rachillae. S. stolonifera is scarce in hill forest in southern peninsular Thailand. (

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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