Your support is critical to our success.
Origin and Habitat: Papua New Guinea and West Papua in Indonesia.
Type Locality: Andal, near Manokwarl, Papua, Indonesia.
Habitat: It grow in rain forest understory in constant shade or filtered light in different sites, covering a wide range of habitat types characterized by high humidity and regular rainfall.
- Sommieria leucophylla Becc.
Sommieria leucophylla Becc.
Malesia 1: 67 (1877)
Description: Sommieria leucophylla is a solitary plant, with deeply notched, leathery leaves, which have a distinctive whitish underside. The genus Somieria is was used to contain three species, all native to northwestern New Guinea. In 2002, however, botanist Charlie Heatubun joined the three into a single species, however the plants shows may differences in size and form of leaves, thickness of stem, length of peduncle, fruit size, seed shape, etc. Even though under botanical criteria, the reduction to a single species makes sense, horticulturally the three original species are somewhat distinct.
Trunk: (0-)3-4 m tall, 3 - 4 cm in diameter, slender, often very short that may or may not emerge above ground level, internodes short ap to 1 cm apart, and lacks armament.
Crown: Fountain like, with up to 40 leaves radiating, without crownshaft.
Leaves: 92-180 long and 12-20 cm wide undivided, irregularly divided, or deeply bifid displaying a wide range of variation, dark silver-backed green above and silvery white to golden below. Petiole 10-39 cm and 3-8 mm thick at base, flat to channelled above, rounded below, with densely tomentose sheaths 7-30 long which disintegrate into a mass of fibers at the base.
Inflorescence: Interfoliar and erect, up to 160 cm long, about as long as the leaves and sparsely branched to one order. The peduncle is long and slender, the single peduncular bract is tubular and borne at the tip of the peduncle, enclosing the flowers before antithesis. The short rachis usually bears few rachillae, spirally arranged, each subtended by a small bract.
Flowers: The staminate flowers are asymmetrical and borne in triads with three distinct, valvate sepals and three thick petals. There are around 60 stamens with very short filaments, the elongated, basifixed anthers carry triangle shaped pollen with reticulate, tectate exine. The pistillate flowers become larger than the male's, the three sepals have rounded sides and pointed tips and the petals are asymmetrical with thick valvate tips. There are three to six small, triangular staminodes and the gynoecium is ovoid and covered in brown scales. The three stigmas are apical and reflexed; the ovule is pendulous.
Fruit: Spherical to ellipsoidal, fleshy and juicy,1-seeded. The corky-warty, dark brown epicarp take a pinkish-red colours at maturity and breaks away in age exposing the brown, warty mesocarp.
Seeds: Spherical with homogeneous endosperm and a subbasal embryo.
Remarks:*** It is closely related to Pelagodoxa, with which shares the same curious, warty, albeit much smaller fruits.
Bibliography: Major references:
1) Beccari, Malesia 1:66. 1877.
2) Uhl, Natalie W. and Dransfield, John (1987) "Genera Palmarum - A classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore." Lawrence, Kansas: Allen Press. ISBN 0-935868-30-5 / ISBN 978-0-935868-30-2
3) Riffle, Robert L. and Craft, Paul (2003) "An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms." Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-558-6 / ISBN 978-0-88192-558-6
Cultivation and Propagation: This is an excellent understory palm very highly sought after by palm collectors, but scarcely known in cultivation. It is adapt to warm temperate to tropical climates in humid regions, especially along with rainforests and, once established, will grow quite fast and does well in cultivation. In general it does not like hot, drying suns, winds, salt or bad water.
Soil requirements: It has a fibrous root system and benefits from deep organic, acidic, sandy loam soils that are fertile and well drained but thrives on wide range of tropical soils, like coastal marine alluvial clays, soils of volcanic origin, acid sands and other coastal alluviums. Waterlogged, highly lateritic, extremely sandy, stony or peaty soils should be avoided.
Watering: In cultivation it hates low humidity. During the summer or warmer months, water frequently to keep the soil from drying out. Avoid tap-water and filter or reverse osmosis water may be favourable for potted plant.
Light: Will grow better in full shade, but tolerates morning sun. Seedlings like a more sheltered area.
Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements.
Aerosol salt tolerance: It has a scarce salt tolerance, it does a lot better inland then it does on the coast.
Hardiness: It is suited for tropical or subtropical climate, but can handle some frost (USDA Zones 9b-12)
Wind hardiness: It needs wind protection.
Garden uses: It is rarely cultivated, but is an excellent understory palm if you can water it regularly. It is ideal where garden space is limited and a small clumping plant is required. It is also an excellent potted palm.
Hazard: It is fairly harmless, except for the seeds (oxylates).
Traditional uses: It have no known uses.
Propagation: Seeds or division of larger cluster. Germination can be erratic and slow, taking from 8 to 20 weeks and benefit from soaking.
|Back to Sommieria index|
|Back to Arecaceae index|
|Back to Palms And Cycads Encyclopedia index|