Laccosperma secundiflorum (P.Beauv.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 729 (1891)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Benin present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Cabinda present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Cameroon present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Central African Republic present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Gabon present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ghana present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guinea present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guinea-Bissau present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ivory Coast present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Liberia present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Niger present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nigeria present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Senegal present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sierra Leone present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Togo present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Zaire present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
This species is distributed from Senegal to Cameroon south to Democratic Republic of Congo. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • A number of species of the large diameter members of the genus Laccosperma were described in the early part of the 20th century by Beccari (1910) and de Wildemann (1916), and later by Burret (1942). Although Burret, in particular, was prone to applying very narrow typological species concepts (see Henderson 1999), he has been proven to be somewhat accurate in the majority of his species accounts within this genus and Oncocalamus. Despite this, and obvious morphological discontinuities within this complex, evident both from herbarium material and field observations, many of the species described both by Burret and Beccari were never recognised.
    One of the major reasons for this is the fact that in their original paper in which Mann & Wendland (1864) re-described Laccosperma secundiflorum (syn. Calamus secundiflorus), the account was accompanied by an illustration by Fitch, probably based on Mann's field sketches, that showed the growth habit of a number of African palms, including that of L. secundiflorum. However, with its conspicuously pendant, and distinctively linear leaflets, the rattan palm labelled in the account as "L. secundiflorum" bears little resemblance to the species of Palisot de Beauvois, nor indeed to the original collections of Mann the account cites. The taxon drawn is undoubtedly a species described later by Burret (1942) as L. robustum. This confusion seems to have given credence to the oft-mentioned claim of many of the subsequent floristic studies that L. secundiflorum is a highly polymorphic taxon both within and between populations. As such, these floristic studies continued to group all of the large-diameter species of Laccosperma into a single species complex: L. secundiflorum(Drude 1895, Wright 1902, Unwin 1920, Dalziel 1937, Renier 1948, Robyns & Tournay 1955, Irvine 1961, Russell 1968, Letouzey 1978, Dransfield 1986, Berhaut 1988, Morakinyo 1995).
    However, field workers began to note that there were in fact at least two species of large-diameter Laccosperma in West and Central Africa. The morphological differences between taxa are obvious, particularly as these species are often sympatric. Paul Tuley, who was working in Nigeria in the 1950's-60's, wrote to Tom Russell at Kew, who was then preparing an account of the Palmae for the revision of the Flora of West Tropical Africa. Tuley suggested to Russell that there might be at least two "forms" within the L. secundiflorum complex with "one [form] having dropping segments and the other with rigid segments that are held horizontally". Tuley was quite clearly describing, in the first instance, the pendant leaflet habit of L. robustum. However, Russell discounts his observations, and states that ?all the flowering material at Kew, including collections of Tuley, are referrable to Ancistrophyllum secundiflorum? Russell (1968). In addition, Chapin, a botanist active in the then Belgian Congo makes the distinction between the true L. secundiflorumand "the one with pendant leaflets that grows in swamps" (Chapin 613, herb. BR!) (author's translation from the French). A brief discussion of this is also reported by Prance et al. (2000). Tuley (1995) went some way in distinguishing between the taxa, in describing L. acutiflorum and L. secundiflorum as separate species, but no doubt a lack of adequate voucher material hindered the preparation of a full account of this group. However, since then, further field-work and examination of herbarium material has confirmed that this ?taxon? is composed of three distinct species: Laccosperma secundiflorum, L. robustum and L.acutiflorum. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Laccosperma secundiflorum is a species of high forest, and is commonly found under a forest canopy. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • Least concern (LC). (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • (Latin) refers to the inflorescence structure with hermaphrodite flowers in pairs. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • Clustered moderate to robust palm, climbing to 25-50 m. Stems without sheaths 20-25 mm in diameter; with 30-35 mm; internodes 18-35 cm long. Leaf sheath dark green, lightly striate, moderately to sparsely armed with black-tipped finely triangular, upward-pointing or spreading spines; sheaths on upper portion of stem more sparsely armed; sparse black indumentum present on mature sheaths; ocrea 25-35 cm long, dry, often tattering, gradually tapering at the apex, dark tan coloured without, shiny dark brown to dull maroon within, armed as the sheath, spines concentrated at apex. Leaves up to 3.5 m long; petiole 30-60 cm long, 1.5-1.8 cm wide, commonly at 45-60° angle to the sheath, light to mid-green to straw coloured often with scattered brown indumentum below, abaxially rounded, adaxially concave, becoming flattened, somewhat rectangular in cross section distally, armed along the margins with inequidistant black-tipped spines up to 1.8 cm long, angular, spreading in many directions; rachis up to 1.2-1.5m long, hexagonal in cross section proximally becoming trapezoid then rounded in cross section distally, armed as the petiole, spines becoming increasingly short and more sparse distally; cirrus up to 1.5-1.8m long, armed on the underside with inequidistant, reflexed, black-tipped spines, with sparse brown indumentum below; leaflets composed of 2-4-folds, 25-40 on each side of the rachis, equidistant, often variable in width, arching from the rachis, not strictly pendulous, sigmoid, elongate, leaflet apex very finely acuminate with tip often breaking off, 35-45 cm long × 3-8 cm broad at the widest point, concolorous or somewhat discolorous with a darker green adaxial surface, leaflet margin armed with fine to robust, 1-2 mm-long, forward-facing, equidistant black-tipped spines, 1,2 or 3 costulate, each vein armed as the leaflet margin; acanthophylls, up to 4 cm long. Inflorescences, numbering 6-10, produced simulataneously in the distal 1-1.8 m portion of stem; peduncle 15-20 cm long; prophyll 8-10 cm; rachis branches 25-35 cm long, perpendicular to the main axis; rachis bracts 2.5-3 cm long, decreasing distally, dry, often tattering, tapering to form an elongate acutely triangular lobe on the abaxial side, closely adpressed to the bract above, covered with a dense brown indumetum; rachillae 15-25 cm long, pendulous, densely covered with imbricate bracts ca.7 mm long, dry and triangular at apex, each with a wide opening and a 1.5 mm-long apiculum. Flowers at anthesis 1-1.2 cm × 3.0-3.5 mm; calyx 5-5.5 mm long, excluding angular 3 mm-long stalk, 3-3.5 mm wide, dark tan coloured, tubular in the basal 1.5-2 mm, with 3 longitudinally-striate or mottled rounded to bluntly triangular lobes ± 4.5 mm × 3 mm; corolla tubular in the basal 1 mm only, with 3 valvate lobes, white or pale cream, longitudinally striate or mottled, ± 9 mm × 2 mm with a bluntly acuminate tip; stamen filaments dark brown, 4 mm × 1 mm, united into a 2 mm-long basal tube; anthers 3 mm × 1 mm; ovary ca.1 mm in diameter, stigma up to 5 mm long. Fruit ovoid, 1.8-2 cm × 1.3-1.5 cm, with 18-22 vertical rows of scales. Seed smooth, ovoid, 1-1.2 cm long, 0.8-1.2 cm wide, 0.5-0.7 mm deep, lightly flattened on one side. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A

Materials Examined

  • SENEGAL: Vanden-Berghen 7285, Casamance (12º51N:15º17W) sterile, November 26, 1984 (BR!); GUINEA-BISSAU: d'Orey 262, Cacine (11º06N:15º00W) Fl., January 30, 1954 (K!); GUINEA-CONAKRY: Chillou 1419, Condoya forest, sterile, May 16, 1939 (BR!); Roberty 2903, Irie (08º16N:09º12W) Fl., December 21, 1954 (K!); SIERRA LEONE: Deighton 2593, Njala (08º06N:10º46W) sterile, January 1933 (K!); Deighton 4119, Gola forest (07º45N:10º45W) Fr., March 10, 1945 (K!); Deighton 3090, Tabe (08º01N:11º56W) Fr., September 21, 1935 (K!); Jaeger 1802, Between Krutox & Siki Koro, sterile, September 21, 1945 (MO!); Jordan 2065, Gola forest (07º45N:10º45W) Fr., May 13, 1955 (K!); Jordan 2066, Gola forest (07º45N:10º45W) Fl., May 14, 1955 (K!); Pyne 39, Joru to Daru road (07º41N:11º03W) sterile, November 2, 1955 (K!); Small 697, Gola forest (07º45N:10º45W) Fl., May 24, 1952 (K!); LIBERIA: Adam 20746, Fr., January 25, 1965 (K!); Bos 2165, St Paul river (06º30N:10º40W) Fl., July 27, 1966 (K!, WAG!, BR!); Yvory Coast: Bernardi 8382, Tien-Oula (06º45N:07º04W) Fr., March 2, 1962 (K!); de Wilde 3282, Nigbi (06º39N:06º39W) Fr., November 21, 1961 (K!, WAG!, BR!); Hepper & Maley 8178, Taï Forest (05º38N:07º08W) sterile, February 9, 1984 (K!); Hepper & Maley 8062a, Foret de Gheoule, sterile, February 3, 1984 (K!); Leeuwenberg 3954, 15km NE of Bianouan (06º06N:03º09E) Fr., April 17, 1962 (K!, MO!, WAG!, BR!); GHANA: Foggie 16/40, Fr., 1940 (K!); Hall 3371, Nkroful, Western Region (04º56N:01º44W) Fl., August 18, 1965 (K!, GC!); Moore & Enti 9892, Esiama-Nkroful road (04º56N:01º44W) sterile, March 7, 1971 (GC!); Morton 377, Ankobra River, Axim (04º55N:02º16W) sterile, August 18, 1965 (GC!); Sunderland 2259, Road from Tarkwa to Axim (05º21N:01º00W) sterile, May 25, 1999 (K!, KUM!); Tomlinson s.n., Bobiri Forest Reserve (06º38N:01º17W) sterile, December 20, 1957 (K!, GC!); Vigne 2410, Mampong Escarpment (07º17N:01º27W) Fl., August 30, 1932 (K!, KUM!); BENIN: Aufsess 427, Adjarra (06º32N:05º52E) sterile, December 6, 1988 (K!); Latilo s.n., Sapoba F.R. (06º06N:05º52E) Fr., January 25, 1951 (GC!); NIGERIA: Arwaodo 42, Aluu, Niger Delta (05º00N:06º00E) sterile, March 16, 1998 (K!); Ayewoh 3853, Ondo Province, Owo (08º25N:03º20E) Fl., February 24, 1944 (K!); Barter 4, Niger Delta (05º00N:06º00E) Fl., 1859 (FI!); Brenan 8580, Okomu F.R., Fl., December 21, 1947 (K!, FHO!, BR!); Keay FHI 6996, sterile, November 24, 1943 (K!); Magajie & Tuley 2166, Ankpa Division (07º23N:07º36E) sterile, February 28, 1971 (K!); Maggs 150, Ikot Arna (05º06N:07º36E) Fl., August 23, 1948 (K!); Mann 453, Mouth of the River Niger (04º35N:07º00E) Fl., August 1, 1960 (K!, FI!); Tuley 851, Ikorundu Causeway, Lagos (06º28N:03º20E) Fl., September 4, 1964 (K!); Tuley 454, Between Nsu and Okigwe (05º39N:07º14E) sterile, January 28, 1964 (K!, WAG!); Tuley 648, Calabar to Mamfe road, Mile 31 (05º18N:08º34E) Fr., July 13, 1964 (K!); CAMEROON: Aninze 24732, Kembong Forest Reserve, SW Province (05º38N:09º14E) sterile, September 5, 1951 (K!); Gentry et al. 62566, Sango River, East Province (02º22N:16º09E) sterile, May 8, 1988 (MO!); Harris & Payne 2469, Korup National Park (05º00N:09º00E) Fl., August 29, 1990 (K!); Letouzey 10605, Banks of Ngoko river nr Pandama, 8km ESE of Moloundou (02º03N:15º09E) Fl., April 4, 1971 (YA!); Sunderland 1710, Onge River valley (04º21N:08º57E) sterile, November 23, 1995 (K!, SCA!, NY!); Sunderland 1755, Limbe?Douala road at Mungo Bridge (04º08N:09º31E) sterile, November 16, 1996 (K!, SCA!, BH!); Sunderland 1763, 15km from Kribi on Campo road (02º34N:09º50E) sterile, December 1, 1996 (K!, YA!, BR!); Sunderland 2048, Takamanda Forest Reserve (06º08N:09º16E) Fl., January 18, 1999 (K!, SCA!); Sunderland 2059, Takamanda Forest Reserve (06º08N:09º16E) sterile, January 18, 1999 (K!, SCA!); Sunderland 2255, Mokoko River Forest Reserve (04º29N:09º00E) sterile, February 16, 1999 (K!, SCA!); Thomas 2292, Korup National Park (04º55N:08º50E) Fl., July 16, 1983 (K!, MO!, YA!); CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Harris & Fay 449, Ndakan (02º21N:16º09E) Fl., April 9, 1988 (MO!, BR!); Gabon: de Wilde et al. 9917 (01º43S:09º50E) sterile, December 1, 1989 (WAG!); DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Bequaert 7076, Barumbu (01º13N:23º30E) sterile, March 12, 1915 (BR!); Chapin 613, Mompoto, above Lukolela (01º03S:17º12E) Fr., October 22, 1930 (BR!); Corbisier-Baland 1992, Eala (00º03N:18º18E) Fl., June 20, 1933 (BR!); Couteaux472, Eala (00º03N:18º18E) Fl., October 20, 1938 (BR!); Evrard 1686, Equator Province, Popolo (03º06N:20º45E) Fr., August 22, 1955 (K!); Germain 1669, Eala (00º03N:18º18E) Fr., October 1943 (K!, WAG!, BR!); Hulstaert 869, Eala (00º03N:18º18E) Fr., November 1, 1942 (BR!); Hulstaert 1419, Bokela (01º07S:21º55E) Fr., s.d. (BR!); Hulstaert 1623, Bamanga (00.16S:25.32E) sterile, September 17, 1954 (BR!); Hulstaert 1624, Bamanga (00º16S:25º32E) sterile, September 17, 1954 (BR!); Laurent 913, Eala (00º03N:18º18E) Fl., June 11, 1909 (BR!); Laurent s.n., Equator Province, Eala (00º03N:18º18E) Fl., 1905 (K!, BR!); Laurent s.n., Fl., 1906 (BR!); Lejoly 1512, Batikalela, 43km from Kisangani (00º18N: 25º33E) sterile, May 22, 1977 (BR!); Leonard 54, Bank of the river Bonkele, between Bamania & Ilalenga (near Eala) (00º03N:18º18E) Fr., September 26, 1945 (BR!); Leonard 815, Between Eala et Bantoie (00º03N:18º18E) Fr. October 12, 1946 (K!, BR!, WAG!); Leonard 1686, Popolo (03º06N:20º45E) Fr., August 22, 1955 (BR!); Leonard 3960, River Lomela (02º17S:23º15E) Fl., April 21, 1958 (BR!); Louis 3646, Yangambi, 5km N de fleuve (00º45N:24º26E) Fl., April 14, 1937 (BR!); Louis 3699, Yangambi: 5km N of Yaosuka (00º45N:24º26E) Fl., April 18, 1947 (K!, BR!); Louis 3958, Yangambi, 4km N du fleuve (00º45N:24º26E) Fl., May 24, 1937 (K!, BR!, FHO!, WAG!, MO!); Louis 11739, Ile Esali, en face de Yangambi (00º45N:24º26E) sterile, s.d. (BR!); Louis 16995, Yangambi (00º45N:24º26E) Fr., September 1, 1944 (BR!); Sapin s.n., sterile, June 26, 1906 (BR!); Vanderyst 1408, Kwango, sterile, 1913 (BR!); Vanderyst 9974, Kikwit (05º02S:18º48E) sterile, June 1921 (BR!) (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


    A. Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae