Pinanga riparia

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Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
riparia (rih-pah-REE-ah)
Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
riparia (rih-pah-REE-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Mak ling (หมากลิง) (Peninsular Thailand)

Habitat and Distribution

Borneo, Malaya, Sumatara, and Thailand.
Bukit Tagar, Selangor, Malaysia. Photo by Ahmad Fuad Morad


Clustering palm to 3 m tall; peat swamp forest and riverbanks. Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Sumatra. Borneo? Clustering, to 5m. Leaves 60-90 cm, w/3-7 prs. falcate (sickle shaped) leaflets. Fruit white-green, ripening red-black. Riparian, can stand periodic submergence.

Stems loosely clustered and spreading by rhizomes, to 5 m tall, 1–3 cm in diameter, greenish. Leaves pinnate; sheaths 15–23 cm long, green with silvery-grey hairs; petioles to 15 cm long; rachis 0.5–0.8 m long; pinnae 3–9 per side of rachis, discolorous, linear, regularly arranged, distantly spaced, the middle ones to 25 cm long, 4–6 cm wide. Inflorescences pendulous; peduncles 15–25 mm long, 4–6 mm wide; rachis 10–20 mm long; rachillae 2–4, 12–20 cm long, straight, glabrous/tomentose; triads arranged distichously, superficial on the rachillae. Male flowers pale pink; sepals about 1 x 1 mm; petals triangular about 8 x 4 mm; stamens 10–16; female flowers about 3 x 3 mm; sepals about 2 mm long, rounded, smooth; petals about 2 mm long, smooth. Fruits oblong to ellipsoid, to 1.3 cm long and 0.7 cm in diameter, ripening red to black. (Palms of Thailand) Editing by edric.


Comments and Curiosities

"Clustering understory palm from Malaysia and Thailand... has nice turquoise stems and mottled, variably split pinnate leaves. Suckering species with rhomboidal shaped leaflets... as name suggests, lives in swampy conditions. Spreads by underground rhizomes, sometimes many feet away from original plant... could be invasive in very humid, hot, tropical climates, but mostly forms tight clumps in cultivation." (Geoff Stein)

A small, slender, loosely clustering palm with cane-like stems and small crowns of finely pinnate leaves with a wider terminal pair of leaflets. It is native to swampy or seasonally flooded forest and riverbanks at low elevation on the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. A very pretty and easy palm for the wet tropical garden. (

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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