Cyrtostachys Blume, Bull. Sci. Phys. Nat. Néerl. 1: 66 (1838)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Bismarck Archipelagopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Borneopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Malayapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
New Guineapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Solomon Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sumaterapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Thailandpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Seven species: Cyrtostachys renda in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo, and very widely cultivated; all other species in New Guinea and Melanesia. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A


Biology And Ecology




  • Solitary or clustered, moderate to tall, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stems erect, bare, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars, often bearing a mass of adventitious roots at the base, where clustering, the clump rather close, or more rarely diffusely spreading by stolons. Leaves pinnate, neatly abscising; sheaths tubular, forming a well-defined crownshaft, brilliantly orange-red coloured in 1 species (Cyrtostachys renda), glabrous or scaly; petiole short to long, adaxially channelled or flattened, abaxially rounded or angled, glabrous or scaly; rachis like the petiole but angled adaxially; leaflets always single-fold, acute or acuminate, regularly arranged, often stiff, sometimes ascending, sometimes slightly paler beneath, ± glabrous adaxially, abaxially often with ramenta along the midvein and sometimes minutely dotted between the veins, transverse veinlets conspicuous or obscure. Inflorescence apparently protandrous, infrafoliar, highly branched to 3 orders, rather diffuse and spreading; peduncle usually very short, ± oval in cross-section; prophyll enclosing the inflorescence until leaf fall, borne just above the winged base of the peduncle, tubular, 2-keeled, ±lanceolate, with winged margins, splitting, soon caducous; peduncular bract borne just above the prophyll, completely enclosing the inflorescence, splitting longitudinally like the prophyll, caducous; subsequent bracts very inconspicuous, incomplete, low, triangular; rachis longer than the peduncle; first-order branches robust, spreading, with a short bare portion at the base, then branching to produce diverging rachillae or second-order branches; second-order branches, when not rachillae, also with short bare portion and then branching to produce rachillae; rachillae elongate, cylindrical, rather robust, glabrous, papillose, minutely roughened or indumentose, often brightly coloured, expanding long before anthesis; rachilla bracts low, triangular, spirally arranged, rather crowded, each partially enclosing a shallow pit bearing a triad of flowers, triads borne throughout the length of the rachillae; floral bracteoles membranous, very small and inconspicuous. Staminate flowers with 3, distinct, imbricate, broad, strongly keeled sepals with minutely toothed margins (?always); petals about twice as long as sepals, united at the very base to ca. 1/3 their length, globose or ellipsoidal, apically attached, the hilum orbicular, endosperm distally with 3 triangular, valvate tips; stamens 9–15, the filaments awl-homogeneous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid shaped, connate basally, apically inflexed in bud, anthers apically and basally with narrow lobes. Cytology: 2n = 32. slightly bilobed, dorsifixed, latrorse; pistillode almost as long as filaments, narrow, elongate, trifid. Pollen ellipsoidal, less frequently, oblate triangular, symmetric or slightly asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus or trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate rugulate, in some species with verrucate or gemmate supratectal processes, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 27–56 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral [2/11]. Pistillate flowers about the same size as or slightly larger than the staminate; sepals 3, distinct, rounded, imbricate, the margins minutely toothed (?always); petals 3, slightly larger than the sepals, distinct, imbricate proximally, asymmetrical, rounded with short triangular valvate tips; staminodal ring membranous, very low, bearing short truncate or irregularly triangular teeth; gynoecium unilocular, ellipsoidal with 3 short recurved stigmas, ovule pendulous from the apex of the locule, form unknown. Fruit 1-seeded, broad to narrow-ellipsoidal, usually black, the perianth whorls persistent, stigmatic remains apical; epicarp smooth, contrasting with the rachilla, mesocarp thin, oily, with abundant longitudinal fibre bundles, endocarp thin, closely adhering to the seed. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Fossil record