Aiphanes parvifolia Burret, Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 11: 569 (1932)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Endemic to a small area in northwestern Colombia, on the eastern slopes of Cordillera Central from Amalfi to San Luis in the department of Antioquia, and on the western slopes of Cordillera Occidental near Pueblo Rico in the department of Caldas. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A



  • Aiphanes parvifolia is readily distinguished by its solitary, brown, hard stem; small leaves (rachis 33-70 cm long); and especially its extremely short, fastigiate rachillae. There is some variability in the shape of the pinnae, which sometimes are completely linear and regularly inserted (Callejas 8535, Loiaza & Cogollo 319, Sneidern 5385), but more commonly cuneate and grouped. This variation might be related to habitat, linear pinnae occurring in palms growing in rocky places or directly on rocks, and cuneate pinnae in palms growing in clayey soil. A similar variation has been observed in other species such as A. linearis. There is also some variation in the basal rachillae, which are longer, more loosely arranged, and with a longer sterile
    basal part in specimens with linear pinnae.
    The circumscription above corresponds to the diagnosis by Burret (1932b) based on the lost type, except in one respect: Burret wrote "rami haud numerosi," a strange characterization of inflorescences of A. parvifolia, which rather give the impression of having very many, though very short, rachillae. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the neotype designated here is conspecific with the lost holotype collected some 30 km NW of the neotype locality. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A


  • Solitary. Stem (0.1-)1.5-2(-6) m tall, 2.5-3 cm diam., brown, unarmed or with few black spines; internodes green toward apex. Leaves 4-10, erect and arching; sheath 10-18 cm long, with a light brown, scaly indument, often exposing the green surface below, armed with brown to black, to 2.5 cm long spines; petiole 8-25 cm long, unarmed or with many black, to 3 cm long spines, adaxially with a light brown to ferruginous indument; rachis (24-)36-65 cm long, with a brown, scaly, caducous indument, unarmed or with scattered, black, to 1 cm long spines; pinnae 5-10(-16) per side, inserted in groups of 2(-3) separated by 9-10 cm, in different planes, rarely almost regularly inserted, narrowly to broadly cuneate, rarely linear, 1-4.5(-18) times as long as wide, truncate, oblique, or lobulate praemorse at apex, with a 2-5.5 cm long finger-like projection on the distal margin, adaxially glabrous, dark green, abaxially paler, glabrous to rough due to numerous microscopic spinules, distal margin sometimes lined with a row of ca. 3 mm long, black spinules, midrib abaxially with 0-2 spines basally; basal pinnae 6-17.5 x 0.6-4.5 cm; middle pinnae 9-24 x (1.8-)4-8 cm; apical pinnae 2-8 ribbed, 11-24.5 x (0.6-)4-30 cm, normally considerably broader than the remaining. Inflorescence erect or arching, projected beyond leaves, branched to 1 order; prophyll 10-25 x 0.5-1.4 cm, unarmed; peduncular bract 60-75 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, with a thin, caducous, brown, scaly indument, unarmed; peduncle 50-95 cm long, 2-4 mm diam. at junction with rachis, densely covered with minute, brown to black spinules, sometimes also with scattered, to 2.5 cm long, soft spines; rachis 16-42 cm long, minutely spinulose; rachillae (15-)40-70(-120), slender, flexuose distally, densely covered with less than 0.5 mm long, brown to black spinules; basal rachillae 7-13(-26) cm long, more or less appressed to rachis, with flowers from the base, or rarely with a basal, up to 12.5 cm long sterile part, with triads for ? of the length, the remaining part with staminate dyads; middle rachillae 2.5-5 cm long, staminate, or with triads basally; distal rachillae extremely short, 0.5-2 cm long, staminate, or with a few triads at base; triads slightly sunken into the rachis, each subtended by a 1-2 mm long bract covering the pistillate and the proximal staminate flower before anthesis; dyads superficial, each subtended by a similar, smaller bract. Staminate flowers purple outside, white inside, 1.1-1.5 mm long, those of dyads distinctly pedicellate; sepals free, imbricate, keeled, covering ½-3/4 of the petals, 0.9-1.4 x 0.5-1 mm; petals connate for ? of their length, valvate distally, acute, 1-1.5 x 1-1.5 mm; filaments 0.3-0.6 mm long; anthers slightly broader than long, 0.2-0.4 x 0.3-0.4 mm; pistillode trifid, fused with receptacle and base of filaments into a rounded, dark structure, ca. 0.7 mm diam. Pistillate flowers purple, ca. 2 mm long, subtended by a rounded bracteole that covers half the flower; sepals arched, rounded to very broad, enclosing petals for ? or more, 1.5 x 2-4 mm; petals almost free, acute, 1.5-2.5 x 1-1.5 mm; staminodial cup ca. 1 mm high, 1 mm in diam., almost truncate; pistil ca. 2 mm high, 1 mm diam., glabrous. Fruit orange to red when mature, globose or elliptical, slightly rostrate, 7-10 x 7 mm; endocarp turbinate-subglobose, somewhat foveolate. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A

Materials Examined

  • COLOMBIA. ANTlOQUIA: Mun. de Amalfi, vereda EI Oso, 13-16 km from Amalfi toward Medellín, 1590 m, Sep 1988 (fr), Betancur et al. 909 (MO); Peldar forest, quebrada La Viborita, 1670-1700 m, 28 Feb 1990 (fem fl), Galeano & Henderson 1961 (COL NY); Mun. de San Luis, km 16 SE of San Luis on rd. Medellín-Bogotá, vereda La Josefina, 800 m, Jun 1987 (fl , fr), Callejas et al. 4238 (HUA, NY); 3 Dec 1982 (fem fl), Hernández & Hoyos 632 (HUA); ibid., 20 Sep 1983 (imm fr), Hoyos & Hernández 333 (JAUM); ibid., 27 Dec 1983 (fem fl), Hoyos & Hernández 832 (JAUM); ibid., 18 Feb 1984 (fl). Hoyos & Hernández 891 (JAUM); (fem fl) 912, (JAUM); rd, toward Aquitania, 12 km from Medellín-Bogotá hwy., 850 m, 24 Nov 1988 (fem fl), Cogollo et al. 3760 (JAUM); top of Piedra Castrillón, 1700 m, 17 Apr 1971 (fem fl, imm fr), Loaiza & Cogollo 319 (HUA, JAUM); Mun. de San Carlos, Alto Samaná, rd. Jardín-Miraflores, quebrada la Miranda, 700-800 m, 24 Oct 1989 (fem fl), Callejas et al, 8535 (COL, HUA), CALDAS: Pueblo Rico, La Selva, 1500 m, 27 Jan 1946 (fl, fr), Sneidern 5385 (5) (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A