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Origin and Habitat: New Guinea (Papua New Guinea).
Type Locality: West Sepik Province, Vanimo District, Pual River area, Wasimei.
Habitat: It grows as an understory plant in rain forests.
- Calyptrocalyx awa Dowe & M.D.Ferrero
Description: Calyptrocalyx awa is a small monoecious palm with, clustering habit and bifid leaves.
Trunk: Clustered with a dominant stem and 2 to 5 basal sucker, green, cane-like, about 2-3 m in height and 20-30 mm in diameter, internodes up to 5 cm apart.
Crown: Dense, with 8-11 leaves.
Leaves: 90-129 long, 30-58 cm wide, semi-glossy light green on the upper surface, lighter dull green below, and nice orangy-red colored on new emergent leaves both in juvenile and adult plants, bifid or more or less irregularly segmented or pinnate, segment (leaflets) 2 -6 with 1-8 ribs per side not raised in the upper surface. Sheath 16-30 cm long; petiole 5-18 cm long adaxially channeled, abaxially rounded, rachis 50-69 cm long.
Inflorescence: 40-70 cm long, interfoliar, usually 2-spiked, with unisexual flowers of both sexes; prophyll 17 cm long; peduncular bract up to 26 cm long; peduncle 10-20 cm and 3-4 mm in diameter; rachilla 30-50 cm long, 3,5-4,5 mm diameter. Both pistillate and staminate flowers have three sepals and three petals. Staminate flowers with small, rigid, red-tinged petals.
Fruit: Widely spaced on the rachilla, globose, one-seeded,10-12 mm diameter epicarp smooth, thin; mesocarp moderately fibrous; fibres thick, aggregated toward the endocarp.
Seeds: Globose, 7-10 mm diameter; endosperm homogeneous.
Remarks: Seedling leaves have a metallic lustre that gradually fades as plants assume a size to about 30 cm tall.
Bibliography: Major references
1) 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
2) J.L. Dowe & M.D. Ferrero “Revision of Calyptrocalyx and Linospadix” BLUMEA - Vol. 46, No.2, 2001 page 218
Cultivation and Propagation: This is a rare palm mainly cultivated for its colourful new leaves by specialist palm growers and botanical gardens in tropical countries, but still scarcely known in cultivation. It is shade-loving palm adapt to tropical climates. Makes a nice, neat potted specimen plant for the tropics.
Soil requirements: It has a fibrous root system and benefits from well drained deep fertile humus-rich soils, but thrives on wide range of tropical soils. Waterlogged, highly lateritic, extremely, stony or peaty soils should be avoided.
Watering: They appreciate a consistently moist soil, but do not overwater. During the summer or warmer months, water frequently to keep the soil from drying out.
Light: Shade or filtered light when young, though some will adapt to full sun as they mature
Seedlings like a more sheltered area.
**Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements.
Aerosol salt tolerance: Not known.
Wind tolerance: It needs wind protection. Dry winds easily damage or kill it.
Hardiness: It is suited for tropical or subtropical climate (USDA Zones 10-11) and require protection from cold.
Uses: None recorded. It is of no particular merit as a source of cane for rattan handicrafts.
Garden uses: It is rarely cultivated, but is a very tropical looking excellent palm. Young plants have a small stature and the shape and colour of the leaves has the potential to be used as an ornamental plant. It is ideal where garden space is limited and a small plant is required. It is a great collector's palm.
Hazard: None recorded.
Propagation:*** Seeds or division.
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