Hydriastele gibbsiana

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Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
gibbsiana (gihbbs-ee-AHN-ah)
Hg87453321188.JPG
Hydriastele gibbsiana. A. Habit. B. Inflorescence and infructescence. C. Portions of rachillae with triads. D. Portions of rachillae with fruit. A from the Anggi Lakes of the Arfak Mts., western New Guinea; B–D from the Tamrau Mountains, western New Guinea. Photos A: André Schuiteman; B–D: W.J. Baker. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
Species:
gibbsiana (gihbbs-ee-AHN-ah)
Synonyms
None set.
Native Continent
Oceania
Oceania.gif
Morphology
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
Syah (Madik).

Habitat and Distribution

Distribution:—Tamrau Mountains and Arfak Mountains of the
Photo By David Tanswell (from Palms&Cycads No. 52-53, Jul-Dec 1996.)
Bird’s Head Peninsula, western New Guinea.

Habitat:—Premontane and montane rainforest on slopes and ridge tops, 950–2450 m. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

Description

Solitary, moderately robust, emergent palm to 30 m tall, bearing 13–15 leaves in crown. Stem strongly ventricose, about 10 cm in diam. immediately below crownshaft widening to 20–30 cm in diam. further down, inner wood conspicuously soft and pithy; internode 1.5–6 cm long. Leaf 2–2.15 m long including petiole; sheath 60–82 cm long, sparsely or densely covered with a thin layer of lanate, orange-brown indumentum, crownshaft about 100 × 15 cm; petiole about 30 cm long, flattened adaxially; rachis arcuate; leaflets 50–53 per side, arranged regularly, ascending and ± drooping at their tips, linear, with ramenta on the abaxial, basal portion of the midrib; basal leaflets single-fold, acuminate or obliquely praemorse apically; middle leaflets 50–80 × 2–5 cm, single-fold, obliquely praemorse or acuminate and briefly bifid apically; terminal leaflets comprising 1–5 folds, truncately praemorse. Inflorescence 55–60 cm long including 4–5 cm peduncle, branched to 2 orders, protandrous; rachillae 22–28; triads on average 7–8 mm apart, opposite and decussate; inflorescences about 13 present. Staminate flower 11–16 × 2–4 mm in bud, cream; stamens 6–9. Pistillate flower 4–5 × 3–3.5 mm in bud, cream, with free sepals and free petals with conspicuous, triangular and valvate tips. Fruit about 13.5 × 8 mm when ripe, broadly ellipsoid, red, with a distinct, dark, sclerotic zone encircling apical stigmatic remains (up to about 3.5 mm in diam.). Seed ca. 9 × 6.5 mm, broadly ellipsoid; endosperm homogeneous. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press. Editing by edric.

Culture

Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Notes:—Hydriastele gibbsiana stands out among all New Guinea palms on account of its strikingly swollen stem. It is also a tall palm with relatively short (2–2.15 m), arching leaves and ascending leaflets with the terminal leaflet pair being multi-fold and truncately praemorse at the tip. The ventricose part of the stem is composed of soft, pithy and light inner wood with very wide vessels, and the inflorescence is relatively short (55–60 cm long) including a short (4–5 cm long) peduncle. Hydriastele gibbsiana is most similar to H. ledermanniana, although that species does not have a ventricose stem and its leaves and inflorescences are usually larger. Three other species of Hydriastele have conspicuously ventricose stems, H. procera, H. wosimiensis and H. ramsayi, but to a lesser extent. Only the two former occur in New Guinea and are distinguishable immediately from H. gibbsiana by their more-or-less straight leaves with pendulous leaflets.PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

On the Anggi Lakes, the stems of Hydriastele gibbsiana were, at least until the 90s, lashed together to make rafts, the pithy stems being very light and buoyant when dried (Matthew Jebb pers. comm.). Surprisingly, Gibbs (1917) made no reference to this in her account of the Arfak Mountain flora, but she did include a picture of a loaded raft that appears to be made of the trunks of H. gibbsiana (Fig. 38). When Matthew Jebb returned to the Anggi Lakes in June 2017 he could no longer observe the trunks being used in this way (Matthew Jebb pers. comm.). The practice of using the stems for rafts may have contributed to the decline of local populations of this species. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

Uses:—The very light and pithy trunks used for making rafts on the Anggi Lakes (Fig. 38; Matthew Jebb pers.comm.) and for flooring in the Tamrau Mountains. Leaves used as thatch. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

Vernacular names:—Syah (Madik). PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

Although this palm is from the tropics, it is found at very high altitude, so hopefully, it will prove cold-hardy in cultivation. David Tanswell (from Palms&Cycads No. 52-53, Jul-Dec 1996.)




External Links

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).

PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.


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

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