Daemonorops sparsiflora

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sparsiflora (spahr-sih-FLOHR-ah)
Kampong Belalong, Temburong, Brunei Darussalam. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Daemonorops
sparsiflora (spahr-sih-FLOHR-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Daemonorops sparsiflora is endemic to Borneo. Throughout Brunei. Elsewhere a few
Kampong Belalong, Temburong, Brunei Darussalam. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
records from Kalimantan, abundant in Sabah and Sarawak. D. sparsiflora is a common rattan usually found associated with richer soils in primary and disturbed forest, in valley bottoms, lower hill slopes and riverside alluvium at altitudes up to about 1000 m above sea level. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.


Slender to moderately robust clustering rattan palm, with stems to 20 m, frequently flowering when much less; stem without sheaths 8-18 mm in diam., with sheaths to 27 mm in diam., internodes to about 20 cm long. Sheaths dull to bright green, armed with scattered rather broad-based, triangular yellowish-brown or green spines, rarely exceeding 15 mm, and brown indumentum; knee conspicuous. Leaf cirrate to about 2 m including petiole to 20 cm and cirrus to 80 cm; leaflets about 50 on each side of the rachis, stiff, to 25 × 1 cm, usually very close and regular, parallel-sided, abruptly and neatly narrowed at the base and acuminate in drip-tips to 2 cm long, upper surface with main rib bristly and a row of bristles on each side, margins bristly, lower leaflet surface sparsely to densely covered with minute brown scales and only mid rib bristly. Inflorescences bright reddish-brown at anthesis, arching away from the stem to 40 cm only, primary bracts soon falling, other bracts very inconspicuous; flowers borne on distinct short stalks; first order branches about 6, each to about 12 cm, crowded, covered with brown indumentum. Mature fruit rounded (immature occasionally ovoid), rarely exceeding 1 cm in diam., covered in 14-16 vertical rows of dull brown scales. Seed ± rounded, about 6 mm in diam.; sarcotesta sweet, thin; endosperm deeply ruminate. Seedling leaf pinnate with about 6 leaflets on each side of the rachis, very neatly and stiffly held. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

It is an unmistakable rattan with its very neat leaflets and sparsely spiny sheaths; the sudden and neat contraction of the leaflets is highly diagnostic. Seedlings are exquisite and would make fine ornamentals; but for the sparseness of fine bristles they could be confused with seedlings of rattans related to Calamus hispidulus. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Sparse flowers. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.

Uses: Of moderate quality, the cane shrinking somewhat on drying. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.

External Links


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).

Dransfield, J. 1997. The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam. Ministry of Industry and primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam.

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

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