|Basselinia (bas-seh-LIN-ee-uh) glabrata (gla-BRAH-tah)|
New Caledonia. Photo by Dr. Jean-Christophe Pintaud, edric.
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Habitat and Distribution
A very dainty palm, growing up to 40' in the wild. Distribution in New Caledonia: This species occurs in the North East of Grande Terre. habitat In rain forest on slopes or sometimes riparian (F) substratum On ground more or less distinctly rocky or deep sedimentary substrate.
Basselinia glabrata resides in a monotypic genus and is endemic to the rain forest of northeastern New Caledonia. This slower growing solitary emergant palm can grow to 40 ft/12 m but rarely has a trunk thicker than 6 inches/15 cm. It's long streaked crownshaft adds to a gorgeous overall apperance. The unusual flowering habit and subsequent black fruit are additional pleasing aesthetics of another exceptional palm from New Caledonia.
Solitary palm, up to 15 m, with a diameter of 13 to 15 cm, cut in half at the base of the sheath; trunk covered with leaf ciacatrices not prominent; presence, sometimes at the base of the frustum of a cone adventitious roots. Basselinia glabrata has a really skinny stem/trunk (6" diameter) and a very long, graceful dark-green-yellow crownshaft, right below which all the flowers pop out in various stages of development. It is one of the only palms to crank out 'stacked' inflorescences- a mature palm will make huge (for a palm) flowers in about 4-5 columns all the way around the trunk, one on top of the other... for landscaping purposes, these detract from the look of the palm, and can be removed. Leaves 8 to 10 per crown, spreading, arching, of 1.3 to 2 m long regularly pinnate, petioles about 15 cm, covered with dark scales; long sheath from 70 to 90 cm, a more or less dark green and covered with écailes dark outside, green or white inside. Phenology (flower) Inflorescences under the leaves, many (up to 17), long persistent, at different stages of maturation, and long horizontal branches with many flowers, pendulous, completely covered at the beginning of a scaly tomentum brown, then becoming glabrous with age. fruits Fruit ellipsoid, 1.2 cm long and 4-5 mm diam., Slightly arched at the base, black at maturity, with the stigmatic residue apical position; seeds 7 x 3 mm. Editing by edric. (From the French).
Single-stemmed, slender, unarmed, monecious palms; trunk 9-10 m high, about 13 cm in diam. breast high, 7 cm in diam. at base of leaves, with enlarged base and mass of slender, minutely prickly, branched, brown, adventitious roots, nodal seal slightly but not markedly impressed, internodes 9-10 cm long near base, becoming very short at top, cortex brown, more or less longitudinally lined. Leaves about 10, spreading; sheaths tubular, forming a crownshaft, about 70 cm long, green with dark-centered scales margined with pale hairs when fresh, becoming brownish-green or pale-green and brown-lepidote from persistent scale bases in age, the veins prominent, oblique; petiole short, about 15 cm long, rounded beneath, flat above, sharp-margined, with dark-centered, pale-margined, appressed scales when young, becoming minutely brown-lepidote in age; rachis 1.9-2 m long, rounded beneath, angled above, with scales like those of the petiole; pinnae 20-22 on each side, regularly arranged in one plane, acute to acuminate, prominently reduplicate at insertion, I-ribbed except the sometimes broader and 4-5 ribbed lower pinnae, with thickened lateral and marginal veins, the midrib, veins, and sometimes the surface above minutely lepidote, becoming brown puncticulate, the veins less prominent beneath, minutely brown-Iepidote, with scattered basifixed or medifixed, brown, lacerate or fimbriate, membranous ramenta about 4-5 mm long, lowermost pinnae 60-75 cm long, 2.5-7 cm wide, produced in a slender lora, median pinnae 1-1.05 m long, 3.5-5 cm wide, apical pinnae about 32 cm long, 4 cm wide. Inflorescences infrafoliar, pendulous, often numerous (to 12), protandrous, green; major bracts 2, yellow-green, caducous, the prophyll completely encircling tbe peduncle basally, bicarinate, with deciduous, brown-centered scales margined with long pale hairs, appearing villous, 44-52 cm long, 6 cm wide, the peduncular bract included within the prophyll and with similar scales; peduncle and rachis green, with brown-centered, lacerate-margined scales when young, becoming glabrous, peduncle abruptly decurved, about 20 cm long; rachis about 30 cm long, bearing about 10 branches, the lower pedunculate, twice-branched into 9-12 rachillae, the upper once-branched or undivided, all branches and rachillae subtended by a low, usually rounded bract, with small brown or whitish trichomes in the axils, lower branches 43-50 cm long or more, rachillae 30-45 cm long or more, densely covered with short, stiff, brown or whitish hairs in young bud, becoming glabrous and drying rugulose. Flowers borne in triads of two staminate and a pistillate flower throughout or nearly throughout the rachillae, sunken in prominent depressions about 1 mm deep, with no obvious subtending bract or lip but with minute trichomes on distal side, flowers of both sexes brown, nearly the same size in bud, arranged in a horizontal row, bracteoles dark brown when dry, the outer rounded and slightly shorter than the margin of the depression, the two surrounding the pistillate flower equal, sepal-like, 1.5-2 mm long, exceeding the depression: staminate buds about 2 mm high; sepals 3, imbricate, thickened and dark dorsally, about 1.8 mm high; petals 3, valvate, about 1.4 mm high above receptacle; stamens lilac-violet in bud, filaments markedly inflexed at the apex in bud, anthers clorsifixed, oblong, laterally dehiscent by longitudinal slits, the base (uppermost in bud) divided about one-third; pistillode triangular-columnar with rounded triangular apex, slightly exceeding the stamens: pistillate flowers about 3 mm high at anthesis; sepals 3, broadly imbricate, thickened and dark dorsally, 2-2.2 mm high; petals 3, imbricate with briefly valvate apices, about 2.5 mm long; staminodes 3, dentiform, borne at one side of the gynoecium; gynoecium pseudo monomerous, ellipsoid, with short recurved stigmas, unilocular, uniovulate, the ovule pendulous, arillate, probably hemianatropous.
Pollen (fide G. Thanikaimoni, from Moore et al. 9957) monosulcate, never trichotomosulcate, elliptic in polar view; exine finely reticulate; lumina 0.5 1": muri 0.5 u.; exine thickness 2 u.; tectum perforate 0.5 u. thick; columella 1.0 I" in height; foot layer 0.5 u. thick. L = 36 (46.3) 52 u.; 1= 20 (22.95) 28 u.; h = 20-23 I" Fruit black when mature, ellipsoid, with apical stigmatic residue, about 12 mm long, 4-5 mm in diam. when fresh, drying 9-12 mm long, 3--4 mm in diam. falling from the perianth, which persists on the rachilla; epicarp smooth, under-lain by tannin cells, a shell of pale, flattish, very short sclereids, a few thin, pale longitudinal fibers, and an inner tanniferous layer; endocarp fragile, minutely alveolate, brown, narrowly ovoid-ellipsoid, with elongate operculum and produced in a basal point: seed narrowly ovoid-ellipsoid, brown, about 7 mm long, 3 mm in diam., hilum elongate, in upper %, raphe branches descending, few, scarcely anastamosed; endosperm homogeneous; embryo lateral, below middle.
The generic name of this palm is in tribute to M. Maurice Schmid, formery of O.R.S.T.O.M., Noumea, New Caledonia, who, in concert with M. Luciel; Lavoix, has provided material, notes, and photographs, over the years, and who in 1971 and 1972, arranged for much of my fieldwork and accompanied me on , major trip to the mountains of the northeast coast. Alloschmidia has the inflorescence enclosed by a complete prophyll, sharing this characteristic among New Caledonian palms of the Clinostigma alliance (Moore 1973) with Brongniartikentia, Clinosperma, Cyphokentia (including Dolichokentia), and Lavoixia. From these it differs in the fruit with apical not lateral or basal stigmatic residue, in the lateral, not basal, embryo, in the minutely alveolate endocarp with elongate operculum, and in other characteristics of inflorescence, arrangement of flowers, and stamens. It was originally intended to use a different specific epithet (Veillon 1976, p.40, nomen nudum) taken from the name of a daughter of M. Schmid, hersell born in New Caledonia, but study of the type of Basselinia glabrata among materials recently received at Paris from Caen shows it to represent Alloschmidia and requires the transfer of the epithet from that species. Editing by edric. Alloschmidia glabrata (Becc.) H. E. Moore, Basselinia glabrata Becc., Palme della Nuova Caledonia 77. 1920; Webbia 5 145. 1921.
Comments and Curiosities
Officially moved from Alloschmidia to Basselinia 2008.
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- New Caledonia photos in habitat.
Special note: All information, translated from the French, edric.
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos, edric.
Special thanks to palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.