Orania micrantha Becc., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 52: 36 (1914)

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Distribution

Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tdwg/geogrphy.html)
New Guineapresent (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A
This species is known from the northeast (the then Kaiser Wilhelmsland) through West Sepik to Morobe provinces in Papua New Guinea. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Habitat

  • Highland tropical forest with an altitude of 800 - 1380 m. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Discussion

  • Orania micrantha is probably the most elusive species of Orania. In the protologue of this species Beccari (1915) selected the specimen in Berlin as the holotype, this was probably destroyed during the Second World War. Essig (1980) in his monograph mentioned that he had seen photographs of the fragments of the type in FI and BH. Unfortunately we did not see any photographs of the types in FI, instead we did see two photographs and fragments of rachilla identified by Beccari himself as O. micrantha but with different collection numbers ? definitely not of the type which is Schlechter 17739. One photograph was apparently of Schlechter 17735, the other one was unlabelled and there is no information about the collection number written on it except that it was attached with the specimen of Schlechter 17610. It seems to have been removed from the herbarium specimen. We presumed that this photograph is of that particular collection, not of the type. On the other hand, the fragment of rachilla was clearly labelled each for Schlechter 17735 and 17610. Looking at those two photographs and fragments, in general we found no significant difference in appearance. We could not find the type specimen in FI, nor even the fragment of it as was previously stated by Essig (1980). Efforts were made to borrow the photographs ? or at least copies of them ? from BH as a proof that they do exist somewhere outside B and FI, unfortunately without success. Therefore, all the information needed to determine the status of this species relies only on those two non-type specimens available in FI. The new specimen collected by Essig (Essig & Young LAE 74064) which he believed may represent a new species or just a subspecies of O. lauterbachiana, based on this study turns to be a member of this species. The type of the then O. clemensiae was most likely destroyed during the Second World War and there is no information on the existence of a duplicate kept in other herbaria. Thus it is only known through its protologue and the single collection under a different collection number made by the same collector and year from approximately the same location as the type, available at Kew. The results of this study indicate that there is no single distinctive morphological character, which can be used to separate O. clemensiae from O. micrantha as two distinct species, thus O. micrantha is synonymised. This is not in accordance with Burret (1940). In his monograph Essig (1980) regarded this species as a synonym of O. lauterbachiana based on observations made from the new specimen that he collected from the type locality, without mature flowers and fruits (Essig & Young LAE 74012). (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Conservation

  • Data deficient (DD). The palm is known only from the type locality and two other collections. We have no recent information on the status of forests in these localities. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Etymology

  • With small flowers (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Description

  • Large palm. Trunk c. 17 m tall, c. 25 - 30 cm diam. (dbh). Leaves spirally arranged, c. 262 m long; part of rachis c. 1 - 1.3 cm diam., with dense red-brown tomentum; leaflets elongate-lanceolate, regularly arranged leaflets held in one plane, c. 30 on each side of rachis, leaflets c. 5 - 8 cm distant, c. 80 - 100 cm long, 4.7 - 6.5 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous, red-brown tomentum on midrib, midrib thick, other ribs slender, abaxial surface densely covered with white indumentum, thin red-brown tomentum on margin, midrib thick, other ribs slender. Inflorescence spreading, branching to 2 orders, c. 100 - 270 cm long; peduncle c. 45 - 130 cm long, with dense red-brown tomentum; rachis c. 55 - 140 cm long; first order branch c. 40 - 70 cm long, rachillae bract minute or with 5 mm long, rachillae slender, c. 37 - 60 cm long, bearing 150 - 200 flower clusters, otherwise 96 - 100 (Clemens 11363), bearing regularly arranged triads in the proximal 4=5 & paired staminate flowers in the distal 1=5, otherwise in the proximal 1=2 (Clemens 11363), the basal c. 3 - 4 cm devoid of flowers, triads c. 1 - 2 cm distant, rachilla glabrous or with thin red-brown tomentum. Staminate flowers creamy white, rarely with dark green coloured (LAE 74064); with calyx of 3 united minute sepals, c. 2 mm long; corolla with 3 free petals, c. 7 - 10 mm long, 2 - 5 mm wide; stamens 6, filaments free, darkbrown, c. 1.7 - 3.5 mm long, with one or two being longer, c. 6 - 7.5 mm long, anther elongate-lanceolate, pale creamy yellow, free, c. 4 - 5 mm long; pistillodes absent. Pistillate flowers creamy white, rarely with dark green coloured (LAE 74064); with calyx of 3 united sepals, minute or with 1.5 mm long; corolla with 3 free petals, c. 4 - 5 mm long, 2.5 - 4 mmwide; staminodes 6, uniform, c. 0.6 - 1.1 mm long; gynoecium dark-brown coloured, c. 3 - 5 mm long, 2 mm wide, stigma with 3 elongate lobes. Fruits globose or bilobed, young fruit with c. 2.8 cm diam., mature fruit unknown. Embryo placed below middle line of seed (see Essig 1980). Eophyll bifid. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Materials Examined

  • PAPUA NEW GUINEA. North East: Kaiser Wilhelmsland, Kani Mt, 26 April 1908, Schlechter 17610 (B, FI!); 18 May 1908, Schlechter 17735 (B, FI!). West Sepik: Telefomin, Carpentaria Exploration Co., Frieda R. site, Antap Mt, helicopter pad, 1380 m alt., 29 April 1978, Essig & Young LAE 74064 (BH, L!, LAE). Morobe: Boana, 7 May 1940, Clemens 11363 (K!). (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)A

Bibliography

    A. A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012