Dictyosperma album

Common name

hurricane palm, princess palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, slender, gray stems to 15 m tall and up to 20 cm in diameter, bulging at the base, fissured vertically, with ridged, "stair-step" rings of leaf scars. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, to 4 m long, with a rachis that twists 90° near the tip and linear leaflets growing in a single plane. The crown shaft is stout, about 1 m long, somewhat swollen at the base, and light green with white, gray, or brown waxy scales. The rachis more or less covered with reddish-brown tomentum on the underside. Leaflets are dark green with brown or tan twisted ramenta on the underside along the prominent midrib. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence is erect in bud (the bud somewhat resembling a horn) branched to one order, with branches recurved at maturity. Male and female flowers are maroon to creamy yellow and are borne on the same inflorescence. The black or purple ovoid fruits are 1-1.5 cm long and have remnants of the stigma at the apex.

Diagnostic features

Field: Erect, solitary palm with "stair step" rings and bulging base; stout white, gray, or brownish crown shaft. Leaflets in a single plane, green above and below.

Lab: Twisted tan to brown ramenta, along the prominent midvein

May be confused with

Archontophoenix alexandrae, but that species has leaflets colored silvery gray below, a green (usually) crown shaft, and an inflorescence with many pendulous branches.

Distribution

Native to Mascarene Islands

Additional comments

This species is widely cultivated, including in Hawaii, although it is critically endangered in its native range.

Scientific name

Dictyosperma album (Bory) H.Wendl. & Drude ex Scheffer

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Areca alba Bory

Dictyosperma rubrum H. Wendl. & Drude

Linoma alba (Bory) O. F. Cook

Last Updated May 2014

idtools.org