Saribus surru (Dowe & Barfod) C.D. Bacon & W.J. Baker, Palms 55: 115 (2011)

Primary tabs


Papua New Guinea. In Madang Province near Bosmun village at the mouth of the Ramu R., and in West Sepik Province in the Miwaute area and Mt Ekwai. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • In rainforest and swampforest, 10-1300 m alt. Flowers all year; fruits all year. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • The first mention of Livistona surru was by Hay (1984, p. 208) who noted a Livistona at Ramu R.: "... here the Livistonas are growing in a remarkable rain forest dominated almost to the exclusion of dicotyledonous trees by palms of the genera Actinorhytis, Rhopaloblaste, Cyrtostachys, Ptychococcus, Orania, Gulubia, Caryota and Livistona". Subsequently, this report was investigated by Ferrero (1997) and by Barfod who collectedthe type specimen, Barfod 390. The specific name was taken from thevernacular surru, from the Olo language used in the Miwaute area of West Sepik Prov., Papua New Guinea. Livistona surru is a moderate to large canopy palm to 20 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are pendulous, and with a bifurcate cleft to 6% of the segment length; the inflorescence is basally trifurcate, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 7 partial inflorescences; bracts are loosely tubular; fruit are globose, to 65 mm diam., and orange-red at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Near threatened. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Common Name

  • Surru, Bop or Tim (Olo language at Miwaute). (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Leaves are used for roof thatch and umbrellas, stem portions for axe handles and house frames, and leaf sheath fibres for brooms and sago strainers. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Hermaphroditic palm. Trunk to 20 m tall, 18-25 cm dbh, usually covered by crustaceous lichens, leaf scars slightly raised, internodes narrow, light grey, petiole stubs not retained. Leaves 17-29 in a ± globose crown; petiole 140-180 cm long, slightly arching, green, ca 25 mm wide in the middle, adaxially flat, glabrous except for scattered lepidote scales that are brown in the centre and grey at the margin, more densely so on the abaxial surface, margins with single or grouped black spines 5-10 mm long, larger and more closely inserted in the proximal portion, becoming smaller and wider spaced in the distal portion; leaf-base fibres in 2 layers, the outer with thick fibres, the inner with thin coir-mat like fibres, reddish brown, persistent until leaf fall then deciduous in sheets; appendage to 1 m long, to 10 mm thick; hastula very prominent, 2 cm high, 5 cm across; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, subcircular to ovate, undulate, 180-224 cm long, 143-160 cm wide, adaxially mid green, abaxially similar green; lamina divided for 45-80% of its length, with 70-90 segments, depth of apical cleft ca 6% of the segment length; apical lobes pendulous, hanging ± vertically; mid-leaf segments 4.5-7 cm wide where the segments diverge; parallel veins 5-6 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences trifurcate with ± similar collateral axes ca 120 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 3 orders; each axis with 5-7 partial inflorescences; prophyll 37-42 cm long, 12.5-15 cm wide, glabrous, lacerate-fibrous at the apex; peduncle of individual axes subterete, to 3 cm wide, peduncular bract(s) lacking; rachis bracts 40-45 cm long, loosely tubular, fibrous, disintegrating at the apex with maturity, pubescent throughout but more densely so toward the apex; rachillae 14-24 cm long, subterete to angular in cross section, pubescent with dense long coarse red appressed scales in the proximal portion, distally with long white scales, less dense to glabrous in the extreme distal portions. Flowers in clusters of 2-4 (only decayed ones seen). Fruit globose to obovoid, 55-65 mm long, 50-55 mm diam., orange-red; epicarp with scattered lenticellular dots and light 3 mm long lines pointing in longitudinal direction toward the apex; stigmatic remains apical; longitudinal stripe of suberised epidermal tissue usually visible for full length of fruit; mesocarp fleshy, fibres thick, distributed throughout but more densely aggregated toward the endocarp and shallowly embedded in the endocarp; endocarp to 2 mm thick, bony; pedicel 6-12 mm long, 3 mm thick, green, with prominent scars of fallen flowers. Seed globose to subglobose; endosperm intruded by the seed coat to ca two-thirds across, intrusion broadly kidney-shaped, orange; embryo lateral. Eophyll not seen. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Materials Examined

  • Specimens examined: PAPUA NEW GUINEA: West Sepik Prov., Miwaute, (AAU, LAE); West Sepik Prov., Miwaute, 03º 25'S, 142º 07'S, 950-1000 m alt., Barfod 390 with Ferrero & Damborg (AAU holotype, BRI, K, LAE); West Sepik Prov., Upper Freida R., Mt Ekwai, 1200-1300 m alt., Ferrero 980029 (LAE). Madang Prov., Goinbang, near Bosmun 2, mouth of Ramu R., on road from Bogia, Baker 582 with Utteridge (BH, FTG, K); Madang Prov., Bosmun Village at mouth of Ramu R., 04°07'S, 144°43'E, Damborg 354 with Ferrero & Barfod (AAU). (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


    A. Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae)