Aiphanes spicata Borchs. & R.Bernal, Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 70: 78 (1996)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Known only from two nearby localities in northeastern Peru, in Dictyocaryum lamarckianum-dominated montane forest at ca. 2000 m. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A


  • Aiphanes spicata resembles A. acaulis, from which it differs in size and color of flowers. Pollen of the two species is also different: that of A. acaulis has finely reticulate tectum with fusing supratectal clavae, whereas that of A. spicata has a reticulate, smooth tectum. No other species combines acaulescent habit, linear or narrowly cuneate pinnae, and spicate inflorescences. The known populations of A. acaulis and A. spicata are separated by the Andean Cordillera and more than 2000 km, including some of the best-collected areas with respect to palms, in Ecuador and Colombia; furthermore, the two species occur at different altitudes. The acaulescent habit and the spicate inflorescences are considered derived characters in Aiphanes, and the striking morphological similarity may be due to convergence rather than to a common, widely distributed ancestor. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A


  • Solitary, acaulescent or with a horizontal, subterranean stem, to 30 cm long, 2-5 cm diam. Leaves 9-12, erect and arching; sheath 14-20 cm long, with numerous black spines, to 8 cm long; petiole 16-25 cm long, armed like sheath, but spines fewer; rachis 42-80 cm long, green, with a brown, caducous indument, unarmed or with scattered, black spines, to 5 cm long; pinnae 14-16 per side, nearly regularly inserted or in groups of 2-4, these occupying 3-7 cm along the rachis, separated by 9-11 cm, all pinnae more or less in one plane, strongly plicate, middle pinnae 17-22 x 1-2.5 cm, linear or narrowly cuneate, 10-18 times as long as wide, obliquely praemorse at apex, with an up to 2 cm long finger-like projection on the distal margin, both sides with scattered, peltate hairs and few minute spinules, margins lined with black spinules, ca. 1 mm long. Inflorescence interfoliar, erect, spicate; prophyll 14-16 cm long, ca. 1 cm wide; peduncular bract 30-50 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, thin, with minute, black spinules, soon disintegrating; peduncle 45-110 cm long, 3-4 mm diam. at apex, green, with a thin, brown, caducous indument, unarmed or covered with black, thin, to 3 cm long spines; spike 14-26 cm long, 5-8 mm diam., with a brown, caducous indument, covered with minute, black spinules, basal ? with triads, distally staminate; flower groups sunken into deep, elongate cavities in the spike, each subtended by a 3-4 mm long bract, covering the flower group before anthesis. Staminate flowers 3-4 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, yellow in center, with light green petals; sepals imbricate, carinate, covering the petals for ? of their length, 3-3.5 x 4-5 mm; petals free, valvate, 3.5-4 x 2.5-3 mm; filaments ca. 1 mm long, anthers 1.1-1.4 x 0.9-1.1 mm; pistillode minute, trifid; receptacle swollen, ca. 0.5 mm thick. Pistillate flowers (at anthesis) 4-5 mm long, ca. 4 mm wide, light greenish yellow; sepals imbricate, broadly ovate, shorter than the petals, enclosed in the floral pit, 2.5-3.5 x 4-5 mm; petals connate for ½ their length, valvate distally, 4-5 x 3-4 mm; staminodiaI cup truncate, 3-4 mm high; pistil ca. 4 mm high, 3 mm diam., glabrous. Fruits 10 mm long, 9 mm wide. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)A

Materials Examined