Syagrus evansiana

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Syagrus (see-AHG-ruhs)
evansiana (eh-vahn-see-AHN-ah)
Expedition to the Midwest and Southeast with Dr. Larry Noblick. São Paulo State (near Campinas), Brazil. Male inflorescence. Photo by DR.LARRY R. NOBLICK.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Syagrus (see-AHG-ruhs)
evansiana (eh-vahn-see-AHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Brazil Southeast. Brazil, locally common in the well-drained, rocky soils and high
MG, Brazil. Photo by Mauricio Moreira Caixeta.
grassy plains (900–1300 m) of the “camporupestre” regions northwest and north of Diamantina, Minas Gerais, with its S. glaucescens populations, but also in high altitude cerrado (west of Montes Claros). It is not a rare plant; in fact, it is common on the Cadeia do Espinhaço, Minas Gerais (MG). There are areas where it is a dominant plant, i.e. on the high flat grassy plateaus near Itacambira. (DR.LARRY R. NOBLICK)


Palm, solitary and acaulescent or nearly so with a very short to subterranean trunk, whole plant usually less than 60 cm in height, but varying from 40–100 cm in height. Leaves gray-green, 3–11 in number; leaf sheath plus the petiole ca. 10–40 cm long, sheathing leaf base ca. 10–20 cm long, fibrous with papery membrane between the fine principal warp fibers, tending to disintegrate along the margins of the pseudo-petiole; true petiole absent to nearly 18 (–26.5) cm long and 0.6–1.5 cm wide by 0.3–0.8 cm thick, channeled adaxially and rounded abaxially, pseudopetiole (true petiole plus part of the sheath) to 10–33 cm long; rachis 21–92 cm long; leaflets medium to dark gray green becoming lighter when dried, discolorous, adaxial surface waxy, but abaxial surface with a thicker white waxy coating, leaflets 18–48 along one side, irregularly distributed in clusters of 2–4 (–5) along the rachis and inserted in divergent planes, ramenta or tomentum absent at leaflet insertion and along the abaxial midvein of the leaflets; basal leaflets 4–27 cm long by 0.2–0.8 cm wide, middle leaflets 12–30 cm long and 1.5–3 cm wide, apical leaflets 3–12 cm long and 0.1–0.9 cm wide, both lobes of the asymmetric tip rounded. Inflorescence androgynous, inter foliar, commonly spicate, with a total length of 4.5–17 cm from the first flowers or basal primary branch to the apex; prophyll 6–16 cm × 1.5–2.5 cm; peduncular bract woody, sulcate, exterior with scattered thin indument becoming increasingly dense near the base, total length ca. 12–48 cm including a beak of 0–1.5 cm, expanded or inflated portion 7–22 cm long, with 1.5–7 cm diam. and 3–11 cm perimeter and 1–2 mm thickness; peduncle glabrous, ca. 8–27 cm long, somewhat flattened in cross-section, 0.3–0.7 × 0.3–0.5 cm diam., rachis 0–6 cm long measured between the lowest and upper branches, primary branches glabrous, numbering 1–8, 4.5–10 cm long at the apex, (2–) 5–8 cm at the base, 4–5 mm diam. at the base and 1–2 mm diam. at its tip, pistillate portion 2–5 cm long with 3–12 pistillate flowers or fruits per primary branch, staminate portion 2–7 cm long; staminate flowers yellow, arranged in triads on the lower portion or in staminate dyads or singly on the upper portion of the primary branch, 8–10 mm long and 4–5 mm wide, sepals and petals 3, sepals 1.5–2 mm long and 1.5–2 mm wide, usually keeled and connate at the base, petals valvate, 7 mm long and 4–5 mm wide with acute tips, nerves indistinct, stamens 6, 4–5 mm long, anthers 3.5–4.0 mm long, filaments 1 mm long, pistillode trifid and less than 1 mm long; basal pistillate flowers elongate pyramidal, glabrous, 11–19 mm long and 5–10 mm wide (apical flowers 8–10 mm × 4–7 mm), sepals and petals 3, sepals imbricate 11–19 mm long and 4–5 mm wide, petals unnerved, imbricate at the base but (upper 4–5 mm) valvate at the tips, 10–11 mm long and 3.5–4.0 mm wide, pistil, with lepidote indument from base to nearly the base of the stigmas, 10–11 mm long and 3.5–4.0 mm in diam., stigmas 3–5, and 3 mm long, glabrous, staminodial ring about 1–3 mm high and 6-dentate; fruit yellowish brown when mature, obscured by a thick brown indument or lepidote tomentum, globose, about as long as wide 2–2.3, 1.4–1.5 cm in diam. with a 1–2 mm thick fleshy-fibrous (pulpy) mesocarp and ca. 1 mm thick endocarp, endocarp ca. 1.4–1.6 cm long × 1.1–1.3 cm diam. with 3–5 visible endocarp pores on the basal end and seed nearly globose ca. 8 mm in diam. (DR.LARRY R. NOBLICK) Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 9a

Comments and Curiosities

Etomology: The specific epithet honors Don Evans, retired Director of Grounds Management at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, Florida.

Phenology: Flowering in June–August and also December and with mature fruits in December.

Notes: Syagrus glaucescens and Syagrus duartei are the two most similar looking palms to S. evansiana in terms of foliage. However, S. evansiana is smaller overall in relation to the other two (Table 1). The inflated or expanded portion of the peduncular bract is smaller in S. evansiana (7–22 cm vs. 20–40 cm). It has a smaller inflorescence, often a spike (4.5–17 cm vs. 15–36 cm long), and smaller rachis (0–8 cm vs. 5–23 cm). Syagrus evansiana fruits are less than 2.5 cm long (2.3 cm), while S. duartei have the largest fruits at nearly 4 cm (3.8 cm) in length. One unusual character of this new Syagrus species is the variable number of pores in its endocarp, with most having three, but several having as many as four and five pores. The overall size of the plants increase (from less than 40 cm to more than a meter) from the western side of its distribution (west of Montes Claros) to the eastern side of its distribution (north of Diamantina), from rocky soils to deep clay soils. (DR.LARRY R. NOBLICK)

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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