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Origin and Habitat: Biak Island, Indonesia.
Type Locality: Biak Island: forests on the roadside, main road from North Biak Nature Reserve to Biak town.
Altitude: 80–170 metres a.s.l.
Habitat: It is a midstory to emergent tree growing on thin limestone soils in the lowland forest.
- Adonidia maturbongsii W.J.Baker & Heatubun
- Drymophloeus veitchioides Hambali
INDONESIAN (Bahasa Indonesia): Manjek (Biak dialect)
Description: Adonidia maturbongsii (previously known as Drymophloeus veitchioides) is a new species into the previously monotypic genus Adonidia. It is a solitary, monoecious, tall tree palm with very particular huge pendulous bat-like leaves.
Stem: Slender, erect, somewhat flexible, tapering towards apex, brown, up to 15 m tall and, 10–20 cm in diameter, surface smooth with prominent white leaf scars 2–4 cm apart.
Crown: Very open with about 10 arching fronds.
Crownshaft: About 80–90 cm tall and 10–12 cm in diameter, pale to dull green, covered with fine grey hairs and scattered with purple-brown scales.
Leaves: Petiole 25–45 cm long, channelled in the upper surface, rachis 2,5–3 m long, covered with the same fine grey hair as on sheath. Pinnae (leaflets) 25–30 pairs, regularly arranged in one plane, drooping or dangling, the longest 40–50 cm long and 9–12 cm wide, wedge-shaped, or narrowly elliptic, concave, apex truncate and irregularly toothed. Apical leaflets more linear. Veinlets not easily seen.
Inflorescence: 60–70 cm long, white, branched up to four orders born among the leaves and deflexed in fruit. Basal primary branch 40–65 cm long, rachillae 8–19 cm long.
Flowers: In triads 3–9 mm apart, spirally arranged. Male flower bony with 2–2.4 mm long sepals and 7–7.5 mm long petals, stamens 30–32, 4.5–6 mm long. Female flower 4.5–5 mm long; sepals 3–4 mm long, 4–4.5 mm wide, petals 4–4.5 mm long, 3–3.5 mm wide, similar to sepals.
Fruit: Ovate 24–31 mm long, 14–16 mm in diameter, orange to red at maturity. Endocarp, straw-coloured, covered in pale, flattened, longitudinal fibres interspersed with finer fibres closely adhering to seed.
Seeds: 14–20 mm long and 9–12 mm wide with ruminate endosperm.
Remarks: This species differs from Adonidia merrillii for the arching fronds, with broad, pendulous leaflets with concave leaflet tips in a single plane, and male flowers containing 30–32 stamens, in contrast to the ascending, narrower leaflets in slightly different planes with less conspicuously praemorse tips in Adonidia merrillii.
Bibliography: Major references
1) WILLIAM J. BAKER, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN, "New Palms from Biak and Supiori, Western New Guinea" PALMS Vol. 56(3) 2012
Cultivation and Propagation: This palm is a moderately robust and excellent garden plant suitable for well-drained soils (clay; loam; sand; slightly alkaline or acidic) except those that are soggy. Amend the soil with organic peat moss or top soil when you plant. Surface roots are usually not a problem.
Light: Prefers full sun but will take some shade, if indoors place in a position where it will get some sun during the day. Seedlings like a more sheltered area.
Drought tolerance: In cultivation they appreciates abundant waterings. During the summer or warmer months, water frequently to keep the soil from drying out.
Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer. Apply fertilizer 3 times a year, in spring, summer and fall...and if the palm is planted in full sun, fertilize more often. In a full sun location the fronds tend to turn lime-green or yellow, so the extra fertilization helps prevent this discolouration.
Hardiness: Very cold sensitive, and so it is only really suited to the tropics in frost-free regions (USDA Zones 10b-12).
Aerosol salt tolerance: Not known.
Home specimen: If home-grown, give some sun as with most tropical palms, and water well and feed once monthly, but looks much better when planted in the ground and will thrive if given a spot in light shade.
Garden Use: Its very neat appearance and stature makes it perfect for use in courtyards, atriums, terrace, specimen and close to swimming pools.
Traditional uses: Stems are used for flooring and pillars in traditional houses.
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