Colpothrinax wrightii

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Colpothrinax (kol-poh-TRIH-nax)
wrightii (RITE-ee)
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Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Florida. Photo by Dr. Carl E. Lewis/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Colpothrinax (kol-poh-TRIH-nax)
Species:
wrightii (RITE-ee)
Synonyms
Pritchardia wrightii, AKA Gastrococos wrightii.
Native Continent
America
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Morphology
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
Barrigona, palma barrigona ("pot-bellied palm"), palma barrigona de la Vuelta Abajo [to distinguish from (palma) barrigona de sierra, Gastrococos crispa, another Cuban endemic. Eng. Cuban Bottle Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Colpothrinax wrightii is found in southwestern Cuba, and the nearby Isle of Youth (formerly Isle of Pines), alt. O-200 m; semidry savannas and grasslands (formerly pine forests) on white sand. The climate where C. wrightii occurs is classified as dry tropical (Borhidi 1996). The area has a 5-6 month dry season with an annual precipitation of only 750-1,600 mm. However, during the rainy season (approximately April to September) some lands are periodically inundated (Zona et a1. 2000). Colpothrinax wrightii originally occurred on white sand in open pine (Pinus tropicalis Morelet) forests, in association with the understory palm Acoelorraphe wrightii (Griseb. & H. Wend1.) H. Wend1. ex Becc. (Borhidi 1996). These forests have now virtually all been converted to savannas or pastures as a result of logging and subsequent burning and/or grazing. It was usually the pines in the original forest that were targeted by loggers. (R.J. Evans. 2001)/Palmweb.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida.

Description

Trunk 6-12 (-15) m tall, erect, 15-20 cm in diam. breast high, swollen beginning 2-3 m above ground, 30-40 (-50) cm in diam., naked; trunks of juveniles less than about 3-5 m tall usually enclosed in a mat of persistent leaf-sheath fibers, 5-10 cm thick. Leaves usually 10-20 per crown; petiole about 1-1.5 m long, 3.7-4.6 cm wide at attachment to blade; sheath glaucous, disintegrating and fraying into a coarse, fibrous, nonpendulous network, the individual fibers somewhat serpentine and twisted, typically compressed, 0.6-0.8 mm broad; hastula elevated above the blade, 1.7-2.8 x 4.8-5.8 cm, 2.1-2.8 times as wide as long, depressed to very depressedtriangular, obtuse and ± notched apically; costa 19.5-25.0 (-38.5) cm long; blade 142-171 cm long centrally, 39-44 cm long laterally, divided into single-fold segments; central division to within 76-111 cm of (1/3-1/2) base, the lateral-most division extending to within 1.5-2.5 (-3.5) cm of (> 90% to) base; folds per blade half 36-45; widest single-fold segment 3.4-5.0 cm wide. Inflorescences with flowers and fruit about 5, plus about 10 marcescent per individual; primary axis about 1.5 m long; inflorescence bracts lanate, with trichomes 2-3 mm long; peduncle about 0.4 m long; prophyll about 20 x 5 cm; peduncular bracts about 6, 22.0-54.5 cm long; rachis bracts 10.5-65.5 cm long; firstorder branches 6-10; axes creamy yellow initially, becoming orange in fruit, their primary-axes 3.0-73.0 cm long, with unbranched proximal portion 2.0-54.5 cm long, the branched distal portion 1.0-27.0 cm long; prophyll 8.5-44.5 cm long; rachillae typically 20-50 per basal first-order branch, < 10 per apical first-order branch, 3.5-17.5 cm long, tomentose, the trichomes whitish (to ferruginous), 0.4-0.5 mm long; flower-bearing spurs 0.2-0.4 mm long, the subtending bracteole 0.8-1.7 mm long, 0.5-0.9 mm wide basally. Floral receptacle 0.8-1.2 mm long; calyx 2.3-3.3 mm long, free distally from corolla for 1/4-1/2 its length, yellow, with lobes 0.2-0.7 mm long; 1 corolla 5.3-6.2 mm long, yellow, the lobes valvate, with parallel sides and mucronulate apices, fleshy, adaxially furrowed with involute or thickened margins, forming a hood apically, deciduous, with a clear line of abscission; filaments 3.2-4.5 mm long, connate basally for 2.0-2.7 mm (1/2-3/4 their length), stamen-cup much longer than calyx-cup, 1.5-2.7 mm in diam., anthers 2.2-3.9 x 0.8-1.2 mm; pollen 30-40 x 25-35 pm, tectum on nonapertural face foveolate; gynoecium 3.5-4.9 x 1.2-2.0 mm, carpels 1.1-1.6 x 0.7-1.3 mm, styles 2.2-3.4 mm long. Fruit 1.1-1.6 cm in diam. Seed 0.7-0.9 x 0.9-1.1 cm. (R.J. Evans. 2001)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Culture

Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Tropical in its requirements. Quite slow growing.

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: Despite the elimination of its natural habitat and its exploitation C. wrightii has continued to survive in populations of scattered individuals in the shrub and grasslands and the species was recently given special protection regulating its use (Moya and Leiva 2000). (R.J. Evans. 2001)/Palmweb.

Uses: C. wrightii has also been much exploited locally, the swollen "pot-belly" of the trunk being used for such things as water containers, furniture, and even beehives (Alain 1961; Moya & Leiva 2000). Non-destructive uses include removing leaves for thatching and gathering fruits for feeding pigs (Moya & Leiva 2000; Zona et a1. 2000). (R.J. Evans. 2001)/Palmweb.


External Links

http://perfildaplanta.blogspot.com/2010/07/roystoneas-confusoes-imperiais-parte-ii.html

References

Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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).

Evans, R.J.2001. Monograph of Colpothrinax. Palms 45(4): 177-195.


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

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