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Principes 14: 92 (1970)
Accepted Scientific Name: Dransfieldia micrantha (Becc.) W.J.Baker & Zona
Syst. Bot. 31: 62 (2006)
Origin and Habitat: Wondiwoi Mountains, Western and North-Western New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of Papua.
Altitude: Up to 180 m above sea level.
Habitat: It grows in scattered populations in dense lowland rainforest. They are restricted to undergrowth, with high humidity and frequent rainfall.
- Dransfieldia micrantha (Becc.) W.J.Baker & Zona
- Heterospathe micrantha (Becc.) H.E.Moore
- Ptychosperma micranthum Becc.
- Rhopaloblaste micrantha (Becc.) Hook.f. ex B.D.Jacks.
Description: Dransfieldia micrantha is a gracious, monoecious, pinnate-leaved palm with numerous slender cane-like stems. It is the only species in the genus Dransfieldia, with no close relatives, which was formally named by William Baker and Scott Zona in 2006.
Stem: Thin, slender, cane-like, solitary, up to 10 m high and 2-5 cm in diameter, grey to maroon in colour, with distinct, widely-spaced leaf scar rings.
Crownshaft: Smooth, columnar at the stem tip.
Leaves (fronds): Pinnate-compound, elegant.
Sheath: Tubular, extended, green with dark indumentum, 30-45 cm long, forming narrow crownshaft.
Petiole: 10-20 cm long.
Leaflets: 12-30 each side of leaf rachis, to 80 cm long, with pointed tips, widely-spaced, arranged regularly, horizontal.
Inflorescences: Up to 34-60 cm long, born below the leaves, protected by a caducous prohyll, with thin spreading branches, containing both male and female flowers on the same plant.
Flowers: Small purple groups of three (triads) with a central female and two lateral male flowers) throughout the length of the branches of the inflorescence that carry the flowers.
Fruits: Olive-shaped, one-seeded, black with apical remains.
Seeds: Ovoid with a flattened base.
Bibliography: Major references
1) William J. Baker, John Dransfield “Field Guide to the Palms of New Guinea” Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 15/gen/2006. Page 69
2) The Garden – Vol. 131 2006 - Page 305. Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain), Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain).
3) Baker, W.J. & Zona, S. (2006). "Dransfieldia deciphered." Palms 50(2): 71-75.
4) Baker, W.J., Zona, S., Heatubun, C.D., Lewis, C.E., Maturbongs, R.A. & Norup, M.V. (2006). Dransfieldia (Arecaceae) - A new palm genus from western New Guinea. Syst. Bot. 31: 61–69.
Cultivation and Propagation: This is an excellent understory palm occasionally cultivated by specialist palm growers and botanical gardens in tropical countries, but scarcely known in cultivation. It is adapt to warm temperate to tropical climates in humid regions, especially along with rainforests. 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. 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.
Light: Will grow better in 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: Not known.
Hardiness: It is suited for tropical or subtropical climate. (USDA Zones 10-12)
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.
Traditional uses: The stems of this palm are used to make harpoons and the leaves are used for thatching.
Propagation: Seeds or division of larger cluster.
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