Aiphanes graminifolia Galeano & R.Bernal, Caldasia 24(2): 277 (2002)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Aiphanes graminifolia is known only from the type locality, a forested area on the western side of the Eastern Cordillera. The area has some calcareous basement and the forest corresponds to very wet premontane forest (bosque muy húmedo premontano), in Holdridge´s life zone system (IGAC 1977), and has a closed canopy 30-35 m high, dominated by trees of the Lauraceae, Sapotaceae and Euphorbiaceae; the understory is dominated by Araceae and small shrubs of Melastomataceae and Rubiaceae. Aiphanes graminifolia seems to be a rare species, since it was found only in one small area of the forest. This region includes one of the few premontane forests still preserved in Colombia. (Galeano and Bernal. 2002. New species and records of Colombian palms. Caldasia 24(2) 277-292)A


  • Aiphanes graminifolia is unmistakable in its delicate habitat, its linear and extremely narrow pinnae (23-36 times as long as wide), with bifid and strongly inaequilateral apex, a combination of characters not found in any other species in the genus. The most similar species is Aiphanes lindeniana (H. Wendl.) H. Wendl., a widespread and variable species (Borschenius & Bernal 1996) which differs in its larger size, its usually distichous leaves, its cuneate to linear pinnae, the narrowest ones only 11 times as long as wide, with truncate and obliquely praemorse apex, its larger inflorescence, with more numerous (16-68 vs. 7-12) and longer (16-42 vs. 7.5-12.4 cm long) rachillae, and its larger fruits (14-16 vs. 5 mm in diameter). However, a close relationship
    between both species is not evident (Galeano and Bernal. 2002. New species and records of Colombian palms. Caldasia 24(2) 277-292)A



  • Cespitose, with 2-15 sparsely arranged stems, up to 5 m long and 2 cm in diameter, erect or diversely flexuous, light brown, armed with dark brown to black spines up to 4 cm long. Leaves 4-6 polistichous; sheath + petiole at least 32-37 cm long, densely armed with short spinules and dark brown, up to 7 cm long spines; petiole 9.6-24 cm long,
    sparsely covered with yellowish-brown spinules to 0.5 cm long, and few flattened, brown, to 3 cm long spines; rachis 81-89 cm long, green, spinulose like the petiole, provided abaxially near base with a few scattered, flattened, up to 3 cm long, dark-brown spines; pinnae 30-32 on each side, inserted in lax groups of 2-6 separated by up to 7 cm, arranged in slightly different planes, narrowly linear to linear-lanceolate, 23-36 times as long as wide, the apex bifid and strongly unequal,
    the distal margin projected into a finger-like, 0.3-4 cm long acumen, which is longer in the middle pinnae and becomes progressively shorter in apical pinnae, or the wider pinnae with the apex truncately praemorse with up to three tips, the apical and subapical pinnae truncately praemorse, all pinnae membranaceous, glabrous on both sides, except for a few short spinules near base on both sides, margins lined with yellowish to brown, less than 0.5 mm spinules; midrid adaxially with short spinules to 0.3 mm long, abaxially without spinules; basal pinnae 23-35 x 0.3-1 cm; middle pinnae 27-55 x 1-1.5 cm; apical pinnae 16.5-20 x 1.3-1.5 cm. Inflorescence interfoliar, arched, 1-2 at different developmental stages, branched to 1 order; prophyll 15-16.5 x 0.5-0.7 cm, glabrous or with brownish, appressed scales and with a few flattened brownish spinules less than 1 mm long; peduncular bract 45-50 cm long, glabrous and unarmed; peduncle 71-73 cm long, purplish-green when fresh, sparsely covered with appressed brownish scales, unarmed or with a few minute spinules toward the apex; rachis 8.5-22 cm long, brownish in fresh, sparsely covered like the rachillae with minute, curved, sometimes retrorse, brownish, less than 0.1 mm long spinules; rachillae 7-12; basal rachillae 11.5- 12.4 cm long, with a basal flowerless portion 1.5-2 cm long, with triads for ?-½ of the remaining length, in this part ca. 2-3 mm diameter at anthesis, distally ca. 0.5 mm diameter, with staminate flowers solitary or in dyads; apical rachillae 7.5-9 cm long, with staminate flowers only; flower groups slightly sunken into the rachillae; triads subtended by an ovate-triangular, acuminate, to 1-2 mm long bract; solitary staminate flowers or dyads subtended by a triangular, ca. 0.5 mm long bract. Staminate flowers 1.5-2 mm long; sepals imbricate, shortly connate at base, ovate acuminate, carinate, 1-1.5 mm long; petals ovate, acute at apex, nearly free, ca. 1-1.2 mm long; filaments 0.1-0.3 mm; anthers almost square, 0.4-0.5 mm wide; pistillode minute. Pistillate flowers 3.5-5 mm long; sepals imbricate, widely ovate, 2.5-3.5 mm long; petals 4-4.5 mm long, connate for 1/3 of their length, valvate and acute distally; staminodial cup ca. 3-3.5 mm high; pistil ovoid, 2-2.5 x 2 mm, glabrous and smooth. Fruits globose, green and purplish toward the apex when inmature, ca. 5 mm diameter; endocarp turbinate-subglobose, with the germinative pores at the broadest portion, sparsely reticulate-foveolate toward the apex, where it is almost plane. (Galeano and Bernal. 2002. New species and records of Colombian palms. Caldasia 24(2) 277-292)A