Hydriastele lurida

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Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
lurida (loor-EE-dah)
Palm tc 101024 1.jpg
Timika, West Papua (Indonesia). Photo by John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
lurida (loor-EE-dah)
Was Hydriastele brassii
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Ansan (Soon), Gulbotom (Gebe), Omdar (Biak), Sirata (Sayal).

Habitat and Distribution

New Guinea.
Near Soon, Biak, Papua, Biak (Indonesia). Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Distribution:—Known from various parts of western New Guinea, Gag Island and Biak Island, and from Western Province in Papua New Guinea. Habitat:—Lowland swamp and heath forest, occasionally in drier habitats or in disturbed roadside vegetation, 5–500 m. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.


Solitary, moderately slender subcanopy palm to 25 m tall, bearing 8–12 leaves in crown. Stem (4.5–)6–10(–15) cm in diam. Leaf 1.3–2 m long including petiole; sheath 47–105 cm long, conspicuously fibrous at the sheath mouth; petiole 25–100 cm long; leaflets (21–)27–40 per side, arranged irregularly with one or more groups present, closely spaced and held in different planes, single- or multi-fold, linear to narrowly cuneate, truncately praemorse apically, brittle when dry. Inflorescence 42–70 cm long including 3–6 cm peduncle, branched to 2 orders, protandrous; rachillae (10–)15–27, yellowish; triads spirally arranged. Staminate flower 3–7 × 1–3 mm in bud; stamens 6(–7). Pistillate flower 1–4 × 1–3 mm in bud, with free sepals and free petals with conspicuous, triangular and valvate tips. Fruit 5–7 × 5–7 mm when ripe, globose, red, with a distinct, dark, sclerotic zone encircling apical stigmatic remains (up to about 3.5 mm in diam.). Seed 4–5 × 4–5 mm, globose; endosperm ruminate. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Notes:—Hydriastele lurida is a moderately slender subcanopy palm distinguished by its fibrous leaf sheaths, leaves with 27–40 irregularly arranged leaflets on each side of the rachis (rarely as few as 21 leaflets per side), and inflorescences branched to two orders with spirally arranged triads. Hydriastele lurida may superficially resemble H. wendlandiana in habit, although that species belongs to the Wendlandiana group, does not have conspicuously fibrous leaf sheaths and generally has leaves with fewer leaflets. Hydriastele lurida is unlikely to be confused with other species in New Guinea. Hydriastele lurida most closely resembles H. microcarpa (Scheffer 1876: 153) Baker & Loo (2004: 65) and H. oxypetala (Burret 1937a: 474) Baker & Loo (2004: 66), which both occur in the Moluccas. Our preliminary work indicates that H. lurida can be distinguished from those two species based on its more closely spaced leaflets, having 24 to 39 leaflets per side per meter rachis as opposed to only 16 to 21 leaflets per side per meter rachis in H. microcarpa and H. oxypetala. Here we place H. brassii in synonymy under H. lurida, having thoroughly examined the type material. In his protologue of H. brassii, Burret makes comparison to the related H. microcarpa, but does not mention H. lurida. Moderate palms, inflorescences protandrous and branched to 1 or 2 orders, triads largely decussately arranged, pistillate sepals and petals uniquely fused in a cup. The Moluccas and the Biak Islands. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

Uses:—Stems used for making harpoons, floors and beds, leaves used for roofing. Shoot apices consumed.

Vernacular names:—Ansan (Soon), Gulbotom (Gebe), Omdar (Biak), Sirata (Sayal).

Conservation status:—Least Concern (LC). This species is widespread (EOO > 258,000 km2) and the relatively low AOO (36 km2) is a conservative estimate expected to increase with more records of H. lurida. PETER PETOE, CHARLIE D. HEATUBUN & WILLIAM J. BAKER Phytotaxa 370 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press.

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).

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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