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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/24/2012)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 10/24/2012)
Family PALMACEAE
Contributor L. H. BAILEY
Description Woody perennial endogenous bland trees, shrubs and climbing vines (some- times almost herbaceous), possessed of distinguished peculiarities and commonly recognized as a separate major botanical family yet lacking definite taxonomic morphological characters that pertain in all the species. The most characteristic general feature is the foliage: leaf-blades palmate and variously segmented, or elongated and pinnately veined or pinnatisect or pinnate, the leaf itself not long persistent and durable as in the cycads: blossoms verysmalI,- chaffy or soon be- coming so, the envelopes in two series of calyx a'nd coroII or simulating those organs, the parts or lobes valvate or imbricate in the bud, the staminiferous buds opening only briefly on disclosing the stamens and the flower then falling, pistil- liferous buds exposing stigmas only a few hours: flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual, in the latter case the plant monoecious or dioecious, borne either on a simple spike-like spadix or in variously branched spadices or clusters always accompanied by more or less expanded scarious or foliaceous bracts or spathes; spadices usually interfoliar or infrafoliar, seldom in Old World species superfoliar and forming a top above the leaf-crown or coma; stamens prevailingly 6, as are the sepals and petals or lobes of the calyx and corolla, but sometimes 3, frequently many, anthers various; ovary superior, commonly 3-loculed and 3-ovuled but usually only 1 ovule developing; staminodia and pistillodia often present in flowers of the alternate sex: fruit little to very large, commonly 1-seeded and variously drupe-like, micropylar pore often marked on the exterior and in the Cocos tribes the two pores of the aborted locules also persisting and prominent, exterior fleshy and plum-like or fibrous or even coriaceous or parchment-like; seed ordinarily included in a shell-like mesocarp which is sometimes very thick and hard, often covered with extensive and involved branches of the raphe; seed content a soft or liquid substance that in most cases hardens into an endosperm, in which case the content may be ruminated by intrusions of a darker tissue from the walls, or the albumen homogeneous; embryo basal, lateral, apical, the placement usually char- acteristic of the genus.
Note A few thousand species of noble plants in many genera, growing around the world in tropical and warm temperate regions, some of them withstanding frost, inhabiting humid, intermediate and semi-arid places, in swamps, on plains and mountains and dry exposed savannas. Many of the species of the western hemis- phere are imperfectly understood, and undoubtedly many novelties yet await dis- covery. Palms yield extensive materials for thatch, building timber, vegetable ivory, oils, fiber, and nutritious edible fruits or nuts as in the date, coconut, pejibaye. In warm countries they are extensively planted for ornament and com- fort, yet frequently arranged and treated in poor taste. TERMS SPECIALLY EMPLOYED IN PALM DIAGNOSES acervulus (Latin, a little heap). Applied particularly in the palms to thin lines of flowers and fruits on a rachilla, pistillate flowers being at one end of the line; well represented in Synechanthus, Gaussia, Mascarena. coma (Latin, the hair, head of hair). The leafy crown or head of a palm tree, particularly when the top is more or less condensed and high above the ground as in Acrocomia, Euterpe, Roystonea. continuous. Said of albumen that is both solid (or without central cavity) and not ruminate. costapalmate. Leaf-blade of the fan-shape or palmate kind that has a midrib and some of the segments divided to it, as in most species of Sabal. crowusbaft. The conspicuous elongated smooth false part of the shaft or trunk, composed of leaf-bases and inclosed terminal bud, that stands between the spadices and the coma in some palms, as in Roystonea, Euterpe, Oenocarpus. The spadices at its base stand in the axis of fallen leaves. cymba (Latin, a boat). A spathe-valve that is heavy, woody and durable, and concave so that it incloses or accompanies the inflorescence and then the infructescence, applied particularly to the main secondary valve that remains on the tree, the primary or shorter cymba being early caducous, as in Acrocomia, Cocos, Scheelea. endacarp. The inner layer or part of a pericarp; applied in palms to the osseous case in which the seed is often borne, when the case is not of the seed itself. equable. Said of non-ruminate albumen: plane; homogeneous. hastula. The ligule at apex of petiole of palmate leaves, at the base of blade. homogeneous. Uniform, of the same kind throughout; said of non-ruminate albumen: plane. infrafoliar. Below the leaves; applied to spadices that arise beneath the coma or leaf- crown. interfoliar. Among the leaves; said of spadices that arise within the leaf-crown or among the leaves. mesocarp. The middle part of a pericarp; applied to the content, usually soft, mucilaginous or fibrous, that lies between the endocarp and the nutlet; probably it represents dif- ferent morphological structures. nodifrond. The bract attending a flower-branch at each node of the spadix, applicable particularly in those spadices (as in Sabal) not accompanied by a cymba; sometimes called a spathelet. nutlet. The hard nut-like center of the fruit, either the real seed itself or that body with its inseparable hard attached shell without reference to its derivation. palman. The undivided part, like the palm of the hand, of a fan-shaped leaf, important in the diagnosis of certain species of Sabal, and designative in other palmate blades. plane. Said of albumen when it is not ruminate. rachilla. Ultimate branch of a compound spadix, on which the flowers and fruits are borne; less frequently applied to the axis of a simple spadix. ruminate. Applied to albumen that is invaded by dark-colored protrusions from the walls, so that it is not homogeneous. The ruminate structure or its absence is an im- portant diagnostic character. sarcocarp. In a fruit, the external part or layer of soft or succulent substance, independ- ently of its morphological origin. spadix. The flowering and fruiting organ in a palm, whether simple or compound, fleshy or hard: inflorescence. This use of the term is often unfortunate even if supported by custom. spathe. Large specialized bract associated with a spadix, particularly when expanded and apparently having structural relation to the flower-cluster. In practice with palms the term covers all the bracts and leafy organs subtending a spadix, even though this is a loose application of the word and will be corrected when good morphological in- vestigations of the organs shall have been made. A spathelet subtends a branch of a spadix or inflorescence. In the cymba-like spathes the parts or valves are ordinarily 2, the primary or outer one falling usually in advance of flowering and infrequently observed, the inner longer and more durable one that commonly at first completely incloses the spadix or cluster: see nodifrond, cymba. superfoliar. Above the leaves; said of spadices that are terminal, or arise above the crown, as in Corypha, an Old World palm sometimes planted; apparently none of the Ameri- can palms presents this- structure.
Key a. Leaves palmate or fan-shaped. b. Petiole ending at leaf-blade; trunk bearing thorns- - _ 1. CRYOSOPHILA bb. Petiole extending nearly or quite through the blade as a midrib (at least in ours) and the blade with a marked downward curve in consequence: trunk not armed 2. SABAL aa. Leaves of the plumose kind with a continuing central rachis, pin- nately veined or pinnatisect or pinnate. b. Fruit a large hard tuberculate rough shell lacking evident carpellary structure at maturity, inside which 1-9 large nutlets are borne. c. Species monoecious, both sexes on-one spadix: spathe a woven cloth-like sheath that tears open at anthesis: fruits tessellate with small tubercle-like elevations - -- ------27. MANICARIA cc. Species dioecious:. staminate flowers in dense catkins with 2 cymba- like spathe-valves: fruits in strongly tubercled very large heads; seeds yielding vegetable ivory - 28. PHYTELEPHAS bb. Fruit wholly otherwise, smooth or only weakly spinescent or strigose, -calyx and stigmatic point and-- usually the micropyle apparent on outside or on the seed. c. Exterior of fruit loricate, completely covered in thin flattened imbricate smooth glossy scales.--? 26. RAPH'IA cc. Exterior of fruit not loricate: fruit for the most part drupe-like even though the exterior is fibrous. d. Trunk or caudex' long and very slender, not self-supporting, the plant a clambering or climbing vine- 6. DESMONCUS dd. Trunk heavy, essentially erect even if sometimes horizontal at base. trees or shrubs. e. Nutlet with 3 prominent pores or eyes (micropyles) at basal end underneath the fibrous covering; crownshaft not de- veloped: spadices interfoliar (except in Scbeelea and Aero- comia), branched (in ours); spathe usually of 2 woody cymbas (except in Corozo and perhaps Aiphanes), one of which persists and covers the inflorescence. f. Plant unarmed (except for spine-like undeveloped pinnae on lower part of rachis). g. Mature fruit very large, outer covering a thick spongy husk, nutlet containing liquid-' 3. Cocos gg. Mature fruit size of goose egg or smaller, outer covering a close thin hard husk or integument. h. Spadix long and much branched, inside a heavy woody cymba: erect tre e - - - 4. SCHEELEA hh. Spadix a dense head in axils, with fibrous shreddy covering: trunk prostrate at base 5. COROZO ff. Plant armed with spines or prickles on trunk, petioles, cymbas or other parts. g. Pinnae long-tapering, acuminate, pointed. -h. Trees large and heavy, boles usually variously tumid: main or permanent cymba elongated, very large and woody: staminate flowers somewhat or manifestly sunken in rachilla 7. ACROCOMIA hh. Trees small with slender often flexuose trunks that are not swollen, frequently soboliferous or coloniate: cymba short, often nearly as broad as long at ma- turity, not woody; staminate flowers not sunken- 8. BACTRIS gg. Pinnae truncate or erose or strongly oblique at apex. h. Spathe-valves cymba-like, much elongated: staminate flowers compacted on short rachillae and sunken: heavy trees - 9. ASTROCARYUM hh. Spathe-valves thin and narrow, not cymba-like or prominent: staminate flowers- scattered on rachilla, not immersed: light slender trees 0. AIPHANES ee. Nutlet or seed with only 1 pore or micropyle developed, and even this one often covered under the epidermis: crownshaft often prominent: spadices interfoliar or infrafoliar, simple or branched: spathe various, in most cases not cymba-like. f. Plant dioecious: rachillae marked with simple rather than triplicate scars where flowers or fruits have been: spadices vaginate, soon shredding and when fallen leaving rings on the peduncle: shrubs or very small trees - I1. CHAMAEDOREA ff. Plant monoecious, both sexes in same spadix: rachillae marked with 3 contiguous scars where flowers have been, pistillate depression in the center, or with 2 scars when one of the staminates has not developed: spathes not shred- ding: stature various. g. Leaves regularly pinnate; pinnae uniform, narrow long- acuminate, divaricate from the rachis. h. Flowers (and fruits) on branched spadices. i.- Tree attaining great height; trunk columnar, swollen at some part of its length: main cymba several feet in length, produced into a long beak: crownshaft very prominent: albumen plane: fruit a small more or less fleshy drupe - -- - 12. ROYSTONEA ii. Tree of medium height (except in Welfia and Euterpe) -and size or even small; trunk not swollen: cymba short, or spathe-valves bract-like: crown- shaft evident or not: fruit and albumen various. j. Rachillae drooping, not prominently expanded at base (at point of attachment). k. Blossoms sunken partially or deeply on rachis. 1. Flower-strands or rachillae thick, stout and strongly angled, the flowers in 8 or more definite rows or lines: fruit ellipsoid: albumen plane: crownshaft not developed-------- 1 -3. WELFIA 11. Flower-strands or rachillae very slender, not angled or cornered nor the pits in definite rows: fruit globose: albumen either plane or ruminate: crownshaft evident - 14. EUTERPE kk. Blossoms not sunken on slender more or less zigzag rachillae: fruit globose: albumen plane: - crownshaft prominent-- -15. OENOCARPUS jj. Rachillae divaricate or ascending, markedly ex- panded at base: albumen ruminate: crownshaft not developed --16. PRESTOEA Lh. Flowers (and fruits) on simple spike-like spadices, continuing the line or direction of the peduncle: small palms. i. Anthers sagittate, the 2 cells not disjoined: fila- ments free: spadix with a chaffy appearance due to long not sunken imbricate flowers -17. WOODSONIA ii. Anthers imperfectly sagittate but the 2 cells sep- arated on opposite sides of a continuing and project- ed connective: filaments connate at base: flowers sunken-- .18-. NEONsCHOLSONIA gg. Leaves imperfectly or irregularly pinnate but the pinnae (if any) of different widths and sizes and ascending from the rachis as if divisions of a simple blade; or, the blade pinnatisect or entire with bifid apex; or, the blade or its lobes or divisions with oblique, truncate or erose ends. h. Leaf divisions acuminate-pointed. i. Inflorescence a small often overlooked broom-like spadix with very slender rachillae on the surface of (234) 194 31 FLORA OF PANAMA (Palmaceae) 33 1 which the minute flowers are arranged in short lines or acervuli -------- - ---- ----- -------------SYNECHANTHUS ii. Inflorescence various but different from above and flowers not in acervuli. j. Staminate buds at anthesis long and slender, not sunken in rachis - __ __ - _- 20. HYOSPATHE jj. Staminate buds short, sunken in rachis. k. Anther-cells disjoined, separated by slender connective and spreading from points on a cup-- like filament tube: leaves simple and bilobed or variously pinnatisect or irregularly pinnate: spadix simple or branched- 21. GEONOMA kk. Anther-cells disjoined and hanging from top of filament tube: rachillae or spikes few and finger-like at top of slender ascending pedun- cle: blade of leaf simple, bifid at apex with 2 long points - - _ - --22. ASTEROGYNE hh. Leaf divisions or leaf itself with erose, dentate or truncate expanded end. i. Leaves long-pinnate or -pinnatifid, the pinnae or segments quaquaversal (standing in all directions or planes): fruits 2.5 cm. or more long: tall trees. j. Stamens 9 or 10, or less than 20: spathes many.23. IRIARTEA jj. Stamens usually more than 20, commonly 25-35: spathes of about 2 parts - 24. SOCRATEA ii. Leaves entire and the blade more or less split or divided at its base: fruit a hard oblong body less than 15 mm. long: plant very small- - 25. MALORTIEA
 
 
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