Roystonea borinquena O.F.Cook, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 28: 552 (1901)

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Puerto Rico, at low to middle elevations on soils derived from limestone. This palm is relatively common at the base of limestone hills (mogotes) along Puerto Rico's northern coast. Also from Vieques Is. and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Extremely abundant on Hispaniola in all but the driest regions, up to ca. 800 m. (Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.)A


  • In the original description of R. borinquena, Cook stated, "The typical form [of R. borinquena] is shown in our photograph (no. 250) taken in the plaza of Juana Diaz" (1901: 522). Curiously, and perhaps through oversight, Cook's photograph was never published. Bailey (1935) indicated the type as '"taken in the plaza of Juana Diaz,' Cook" Similarly, Classman (1972) indicated that the type is "Puerto Rico: Juana Diaz (Cook - US)," but no such herbarium specimen is in the collection of US. Bailey and Classman may have intended Cook's photograph to serve as the type, but there is much ambiguity in their designations, and the photograph has not been located. The type indicated here is the specimen at US annotated in what appears to be Cook's handwriting. It is considered to be the holotype. At the type locality, Sierra de Luquillo, another palm, Prestoea montana (Graham) Nicholson, is locally abundant at high elevations, but in the foothills, R. borinquena is occasionally encountered.
    This species is most remarkable for its colorful staminate flowers, creamy yellow with bright purple anthers, crowded on rachillae that bear the conspicuous bases of the free trichomes. Bailey thought that the rachillae were "lepidose-pubescent" (1949: 120), contrasting with the "glabrous" rachillae of R. regia and others. But no Roystonea has truly glabrous rachillae-all bear the free trichome bases, and the difference between the above-named species is only one of degree.
    At least one palm growing in the collection of the Montgomery Foundation, Miami, Florida (accession 91631 A; represented at FTG by Zona 603), resembles R. borinquena in the shape and size of the fruits and peduncular bract and in the color of the trunk; however, the flowers are strikingly different: widely spaced, white staminate flowers with dull purple anthers. The provenance of this palm is unknown, and there is a possibility that it represents a garden hybrid of R. borinquena with some other species. Although it is distinct from all other species, I am reluctant to recognize it as new until the questions of its origin and hybridization are resolved.
    A useful, but likely overlooked, synopsis of the biology and ecology of R. borinquena can be found in Francis (1992). (Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.)A

Common Name

  • Manacla, palma caruta, palma de cerdos, palma de grana, palma de yagua, palma real, yagua, and many others (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic; see Dahlgren, 1936); palmiste (Haiti); royal palm (Virgin Islands). (Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.)A


    • Leaves and leaf-sheaths are used for thatch and siding; fruits are used as hog feed. (Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.)A


    • Trunk gray-brown to cinnamon-brown, to 15 m tall, 26.2-47. cm diam.
      Leaves ca. 15, lowest leaves hanging well below the horizontal; crownshaft 1.5-1.7 m long; petiole 30-55 cm long, rachis 3.8-4.5 m long; middle segments 67-125 cm long and 2.5-5.2 cm wide.
      Inflorescence 1-1.4 m long and 0.7-1.2 m wide; prophyll 43-74 cm long and 10.3-18.5 cm wide; peduncular bract 0.9-1.6 m long, widest at the middle, apex acuminate; rachillae 15-33.5 cm long and 1.4-2.5 mm diam. Staminate flowers creamy yellow with bright purple anthers; sepals triangular to reniform, 0.7-1.4 mm long and 1.2-2 mm wide; petals elliptical to ovate, 5.3-6.4 mm long and 3-3.7 mm wide; stamens 6-9, 4-7.4 mm long, filaments awl-shaped, 2.9-6 mm long, anthers 2.5-4.3 mm long; pistillode minute. Pistillate flowers creamy yellow, 2-4 per cm; sepals reniform, 1.2-2.4 mm long and 3-4.1 mm wide; petals ovate, 2.4-4.4 mm long; staminode shallowly 6-lobed, 2.3-3.2 mm long, free for 0.9-1.7 mm; gynoecium 1.7-3.3 mm long and 1.5-3.1 mm diam. Fruits spheroid to ellipsoid, 11.6-15 mm long, 9-12.4 mm dorsiventral thickness, and 9.4-13.3 mm wide; epicarp brown to black, stigmatic scar plain; endocarp ellipsoid, 9.1-11.8 mm long, 6.8-8.6 mm dorsiventral thickness, and 7.1-9.1 mm wide; seed dorsiventrally compressed ellipsoid, 7.4-10.1 mm long, 5.3-7 mm dorsiventral thickness, and 5.9-7.8 mm wide; raphe circular. Eophyll linear-lanceolate, 19-23.3 cm long and 1.6-2.2 cm wide, exstipitate, weakly costate. (Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.)A

    Materials Examined

    • HAITI. DEPT. DU NORD: Bayeux, 26 July 1923, Cooks.n. (US); 19 Aug 1924, Cooks.n. (US); 12 May 1925, Cook s.n. (US). DEPT. DU NORD-OUEST: Vallee des Trois-Rivieres, Ekman H4571 (K). DEPT. DU QUEST: Thor, 17 May 1925, Cook s.n. (US); 24 May 1925, Cook s.n. (US); 5 July 1927, Cook s.n. (US); 16 Aug 1927, Cook s.n. (US).?DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. DIST. NACIONAL: Near Rio Yuca, ca. 12 km from Yamasa on Villa Mella-Yamasa rd., Zanoni et al 15288 (JBSD); km 8 from Villa Mella, 1 km from La Victoria, Mejta et al. 9005 (JBSD, NY). EL SEIBO: 26.5 km E of El Seibo (El Seybo) on rd. to Higuey, along rd. to Hato de Mana, Zona & Sakman 481 (FLAS, JBSD, RSA). ESPAILLAT: 6.8 km W of town of Rio San Juan along rd. to Caspar Hernandez, Zona & Salzman 475 (FLAS, JBSD, RSA). PUERTO PLATA: 6.2 km W of Puerta Plata along rd. to Altamira, Zona & Salzman 474 (FLAS, JBSD, RSA); E of Sosua, Gentry & Zanoni 50632 (MO). SAMANA: Sanchez, N of Yuna River, Taylor 61 (NY); Loma Pan de Azucar, La Laguna, NW of Santa Barbara de Samana, Zanoni 34105 (JBSD); vicinity of La Laguna, Pilon de Azucar, Abbott 420 (US). SAN CRIST6BAL: 12 km E of Villa Altagracia, near town of El Cachdn, De la Cruz, et al. 20 (JBSD); La Cuchilla, Zona & Salzman 471 (FLAS, JBSD, RSA). SANTIAGO: In Inoa, 7 km W of San Jose de las Matas, Zanoni & Pimentel 31678 (JBSD); in Inoa, ca. 5 km W of San Jose de las Matas, Sanders et al. 1690 (FTG, JBSD).?PUERTO RICO. Without locality, Flee 416 (P). MPIO. ARECmO: Along Hwy. 621 to Rio Abajo Forestry Reserve, 1.5 km from Hwy. 10, Zona & Salzman 467 (FLAS, RSA, UPR); between Arecibo and Utuado, Britton 348 (NY). MPIO. COAMO: Coamo Springs, Goll et al. 736 (US). MPIO. DORADO: Vicinity of Dorado, Britton et al. 6705 (NY, UPR). MPIO. NAGUABO: Without locality, Britton & Britton 7813 (NY, UPR). MPIO. SAN GERMAN: San German, Bailey 44 (MO). MPIO. SAN SEBASTIAN: Ca. 1.5 km from Hwy. 119 along Hwy. 448, Zona & Salzman 463 (FLAS, RSA, UPR); near Lago de Guajataca between Hwy. 457 and 113 on Hwy. 119, Zona & Salzman 464 (FLAS, RSA, UPR). MPIO. UTUADO: Rfo Abajo, Little 13763 (GH, MO). MPIO. VILLALBA: Above Villalba, Britton 6422 (NY). VIEQUES Is.: Playa Grande to La Mina, Shafer 3006 (US).?U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. ST. CROIX: S of Bethlehem, Britton et al. 131 (NY); Fountain Valley Golf Course, Fos-berg & Hayes 58958 (US). (Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.)A


      A. Zona, S. 1996. Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 71, 1-35.