Carludovica drudei

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drudei (droo'-deh)
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Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Photo by Dr. Reinaldo Aguilar.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Carludovica
drudei (droo'-deh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering, acaulescent & caespitose.
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Jungle Drum

Habitat and Distribution

Carludovica drudei is found in Central America, Peru and Colombia. Occasional, in the forest,
Carludovica drudei in Brief Garden, Bentota, Sri Lanka. Photo by Philippe.
usually along streams, pos­sibly preferring steep banks. Flowers in June. The fruits mature from July to October. Distinguished by having the leaf lobes toothed much less than half way to the base. Lowland forests in Mexico (Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula), Costa Rica, Panama, and possibly Colombia. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest, on both slopes in the Canal Zone and in Chiriqui and Darien.


Large, clustering, acaulescent, and caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), 2-3 m tall. Petioles to 2.5 m long, terete, vaginate only near base; blades to 1.8 m wide, palmately and unequally 4-lobed, the lobes to 75 cm long, 35-60 cm wide at apex, with 9-16 teeth per lobe, the teeth 5-13 cm long, glabrous and shiny above, dull below; juvenile leaves entire, the apex, V-shaped, becoming 4-lobed, the lateral lobes more deeply divided. Peduncles 40-50 cm long; spathes 4, congested immediately below spadix; spadix narrowly cylindrical, 11-12 cm long, 1.5 cm thick in flower, to 22 cm long and 4.5 cm thick in fruit; staminate and pistillate flowers alternating spirally on spadix; staminate flowers in clusters of 4, lack­ing perianth, the stamens numerous, closely congested, obscuring all of pistillate flower but the staminodium, falling within a few days after anthesis; pistillate flowers sunken into fleshy axis of spadix; sepals 4, 5-6 mm long in flower, distinctly surpassing length of stigmas (to 8 mm long in fruit); staminodium slender, flattened, very long and showy, white, falling soon after anthesis; stigmas 4, laterally compressed; fruiting spadices rupturing at ma­turity, beginning at apex, to expose bright orange matrix with embedded fruits. Fruits oblong to rounded, about 10 mm long, 6-8 mm broad; seeds numerous, ± ovoid, about 2 mm long, flattened. (The Smithsonian Tropical Institute). Editing by edric. (From the Spanish) Editing by edric.


Comments and Curiosities

Not to be confused with true palms, this species is in the Cyclanthaceae family. The genus is probably best known for Carludovica palmata (toquilla), the young leaves of which are made into Panama hats. An unidentified species belonging to this family (possibly a Carludovica species) has been marketed as a houseplant in the United States under the name "Jungle Drum".

Carludovica drudei Mast. - Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela.

Carludovica palmata Ruiz & Pav. - widespread from Tabasco to Bolivia.

Carludovica rotundifolia Schaedtler - Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama.

Carludovica sulcata Hammel - Nicaragua, Costa Rica.

Etymology: Carludovica (named after Charles IV. of Spain, and Louisa, his queen).

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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