Orania trispatha (J.Dransf. & N.W.Uhl) Beentje & J.Dransf., Palms Madagascar : 118 (1995)

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Introduction

  • A majestic distichous palm of great beauty, and the largest member of the genus in Madagascar. The trunk is frequently swollen at the base. Because of its striking distichous leaves this species has been much sought after by enthusiasts. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A

Distribution

Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tdwg/geogrphy.html)
Madagascar present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Madagascar, mainly on the eastern part of the island facing the Indian Ocean. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

E Madagascar. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A

Habitat

  • Varying from lowland up to highland tropical rain forest, commonly found near to rivers or even also found growing in swamp forest, with altitude range from 50 - 400 m above sea level. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Discussion

  • The protologue states the pinnae are white-waxy on the adaxial surface; this should be the abaxial surface. The generic distinction could not be upheld, when we discovered that Orania longisquama may have either one or two peduncular bracts; with more material available, and with O. ravaka being described here, the number of stamens does not remain a generic character, but rather a specific one; the number of staminodes for O. ravaka encompasses the range of both O. trispatha and O. longisquama. The calyx in all taxa seems to be connate to varying degrees at its very base. The specimen from Manombo (about 800 km S of the Masoala/ Mananara populations) has a different "feel" to the leaf, with hardly any surface covering of a whitish substance, and fewer little red scales. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A
  • One herbarium specimen observed (Beentje 4522) shows a pinnate eophyll, but some others show bifid eophylls. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Biology And Ecology

  • Lowland rain forest; flat ground near streams, swamp edges; 50-400 m. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A

Conservation

  • Critical. Known only from three sites, all of which are under threat of destruction, with very low population numbers less than fifty trees are known. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A
  • Vulnerable (VU D1, D2) (M. Rakotoarinivo pers. comm.). Orania trispatha occurs in lowland forest in the area of the Bay of Antongil, with an extent of occurrence of 25198 km2 and area of occupancy 1644 km2 and a population size estimated at 600 individuals. It is rarely abundant. Some of its localities are within protected areas. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Common Name

  • Sindro or Sindroa (Betsimisaraka); Anivo (Antaisaka). (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A
  • Anivo (Farafanga), sindro (Maroantsetra). (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Etymology

  • With three spathes, referring to the prophyll and two peduncular bracts. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Uses

  • Palm heart not edible. Wood used in hut construction (Manombo). (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A
  • Leaves are used for house thatching, trunks for building houses and bridges. (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Description

  • Solitary palm. TRUNK 20-22 m, 20-35 cm diam.; root boss 30 cm high, 40-60 cm diam.; internodes 12-15 cm, light brown or grey; nodal scars 5 cm; wood hard. Crownshaft absent. LEAVES distichous, forming a fan, 10-12 in the crown, held on edge in their distal part; sheath c. 60 cm long, without ligules or markings, green with brown margins, grading into petiole, with rusty brown indumentum and white wax; petiole 75-200 cm long, channelled with sharp edges, 2.3-7 x 2.9-6 cm diam., densely grey-brown pubescent; rachis 2-2.3 m long, in mid-leaf 2.6-3 cm wide, keeled; leaflets regular, 60-65 on each side of the rachis, those on opposite sides of the rachis at an angle of c. 150°, the proximal 58-93 x 0.6-4 cm, median 65-99 x 3-9.5 cm (interval 4-5 cm), distal 10-53 x 0.5-2 cm, distal pair hardly connate, discolorous, abaxially with a thin white covering, with minute brown scales, the midrib with many pale grey ramenta to 5 cm long, main veins 3-5, also with large pale ramenta, apices obliquely praemorse. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branched to 3-4 orders, spreading; peduncle 16-25 cm long, 5.5-6 cm diam., slightly flattened, densely red- or brown-pubescent; prophyll woody, 30-40 cm long, 6.5-10 cm wide, borne at c. 5 cm above the base of the peduncle, brown-pubescent; peduncular bracts two, the first inserted at 3-10 cm from the base of the peduncle, 60-80 cm long with a beak of 8 cm, the second inserted at 7-18 cm from the base of the peduncle, 58 cm long with a beak of 7 cm, both woody, inflated, terete, green with brown scales, inflated, deciduous in the fruiting stage; rachis 30-40 cm long, with 8-12 branched first order branches, these proximally 3 x 1 cm diam.; rachillae 15-46 cm long, 6-7 mm diam., zigzag, reddish-scaly to glabrous; triads distant. STAMINATE FLOWERS asymmetrical, fleshy; sepals 1.5-4 x 4 mm, petals 9 x 5-9 mm; stamens 27-30, basifixed, latrorse, the filaments very short, the anthers c. 6 x 1 mm; pistillode absent. PISTILLATE FLOWERS asymmetrical; sepals 5 x 5 mm, petals 17-33 x 12-15 mm (in fruit); staminodes 11-12, thread-like, c. 2 mm; ovary 3-lobed, c. 5 x 8 mm, with papillose stigmas to 1.5 mm. FRUIT green, when slightly immature semi-globose or obovoid and 3.9-4.5 cm diam., but more often 2-lobed or 3-lobed and 5-5.5 cm high and 5-8 cm diam., when immature containing a bitter-tasting fluid solidifying into a homogeneous endosperm; stigmatic remains sub-basal. EOPHYLL pinnate (Beentje 4522). (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A
  • Large palm. Trunk c. 15 - 22 m tall, c. 20 - 30 cm diam. (dbh), much swollen at base, trunk very hard, bark light brown, internodes 12 cm, scars 5 cm, brighter coloured. Leaves 10 - 12 in the crown, distichously arranged, c. 3.01 - 5 m long, in some individuals also with appearance of brown coloured resin in every section; leaf-sheath massive, c. 20.5 - 60 cm long, 19.5 - 20 cm wide, margins disintegrating into fibres, adaxial surface with thin red-brown tomentum and wax, abaxial surface with dense redbrown tomentum and wax; petiole c. 75 - 200 cm long, c. 2 - 2.5 cm diam., with dense red-brown tomentum, wax present, margins disintegrating into fibres; rachis about 205 - 240 cm long, c. 2.5 - 3 cm diam., with dense red-brown tomentum and wax; leaflets elongate-lanceolate, regularly arranged leaflets held in one plane, 60 - 65 on each side of rachis, leaflets c. 4 - 5 cm distant, c. 98 - 110 cm long, 4.5 - 5.5 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous, with shiny surface, with red-brown tomentum and white indumentums on midrib, midrib robust, other ribs slender; abaxial surface densely covered with white indumentums and thin red-brown tomentum, mainly on basal part and every rib, midrib thick, other ribs slender; ramenta present, mainly on midrib and sparsely on nearby ribs, c. 1 cm long, greyish white. Inflorescence spreading, branching to 3 - 4 orders, robust, c. 1.46 - 1.5 m long, in some individuals with strong fragrance; prophyll persistent, c. 28.5 - 40 cm long, 7 - 12 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface with red-brown tomentum, adaxially disintegrating into mass of fibres when old, curly; peduncle c. 16 - 25 cm long, with dense red-brown tomentum; peduncular bracts two, woody, persistent, splitting in the middle, margins disintegrating into fibres, proximal peduncular bract c. 45 cm long, proximally attached c. 18 - 19 cm, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface with dense red-brown tomentum, distal peduncular bract c. 90 cm long, proximally attached c. 7 - 8 cm, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial surface with redbrown tomentum and white indumentum; rachis 30 - 40 cm long, with dense red-brown tomentum; c. 8 - 10 first order branches, c. 9 - 20 cm long, 2nd order branches c. 6.5 - 9 cm long; 3rd order branches c. 5.5 cm long, rachis bract conspicuous, c. 3.5 × 9 cm; rachillae robust, c. 28 - 35 cm long each, bearing 36 - 42 flower clusters, bearing triads in the proximal 1=10 part, maximum number of triads 6, rarely seen with 6 triads in rachilla, the basal c. 3 cm devoid of flowers. Staminate flowers with calyx of 3 minute united sepals; corolla with 3 free petals, c. 12 × 5 mm wide; stamens 40 - 42, filaments dark-brown, free, c. 1.25 - 1.5 mm long, anthers elongatelanceolate, pale creamy yellow, 5 - 6 mm long, free; pistillodes absent. Pistillate flowers with calyx of 3 united sepals, c. 2 mm long; corolla with 3 free petals, c. 3 cm long, 1.1 - 1.2 cm wide; staminodes more than 20, c. 7 mm long, uniform; gynoecium c. 20 mm long, 9 - 10 mm wide, stigma with 3 elongate lobes, c. 6 mm long, darker coloured. Fruits globose, bilobed or trilobed, green to yellowish green when mature, c. 4 - 5 cm diam.; epicarp smooth, thin; mesocarp fibrous, c. 3 mm thick; endocarp thinner than mesocarp, hard, red-brown; testa conspicuously thin, attached to endosperm; endosperm white, c. 3 - 3.5 cm diam., with a hollow inside, liquid endosperm present, said to taste bitter (Dransfield & Beentje 1995). Embryo placed below middle line of seed. Eophyll bifid or pinnate (observed in Beentje 4522). (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Materials Examined

  • Antalaha: Ambatobe, April 1971 (fl.), Moore 9921 (type, P). Maroantsetra: Sahavary, Oct. 1986 (fr.), Dransfield et al. JD6400 (K, P, TAN). Farafangana: Manombo, Nov. 1991 (fr.), Beentje 4522 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN). (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A
  • Maroantsetra: Andranofotsy river, Sahavary, 23 Oct. 1986, J. Dransfield JD 6400 (K!, TAN). Toamasina: Mananara Reserve de la Biosphere-Nord, Antanambe Village, 10 km W of Antanambe, 28 July 1994, Brummitt et al. OUEM 12 (K!, TAN); Betampona, 15 March 2003, Britt AB 16 (K!, TAN); Soanierana-Ivongo, Manompana, Befanjana, 16 Sept. 2006, Rakotoarinivo et al. RMJ 266 (K!, P, TAN). Farafangana: Manombo, Reserve Speciale, Parc. 1, 13 - 14 Nov. 1991, Beentje 4522 (K!, TAN). (A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012)B

Bibliography

    A. J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995
    B. A.P. Keim & J. Dransfield, A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae) in Kew Bulletin 67. 2012
    C. World Checklist of Arecaceae