Physokentia insolita

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Physokentia (fy-soh-kehn-TEE-ah)
insolita (ihn-soh-LEE-tah)
P. insolita1.jpg
Hawaii. Photo by BGL
Scientific Classification
Genus: Physokentia (fy-soh-kehn-TEE-ah)
insolita (ihn-soh-LEE-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
manusilae or sometimes garagara in Kwara'ae dialect.

Habitat and Distribution

Solomon Is.
Hawaii. Photo by BGL


Stem solitary, slender, to 15 m. high. 17.5 cm. in diam., light brown or grey and smooth near the base with prominent leaf-scars and internodes 7.5-15 cm. long, green toward apex where internodes are shorter, with sometimes ribbed stilt roots to 15 cm. high, 2.5-5 cm. in diam., with spread of about 45 cm. at ground. Leaves about 8, spreading at maturity; crownshaft 4.5-6 cm. long, fawn-colored from dense coat of pale brown floccose scales with pale centers where protected or olive-green and pale-puncticulate where exposed, the old sheaths purple within; petiole slender 8-37.5 cm. long, 1.3—1.5 cm. wide at apex, densely dark-brown-lepidote or puncticulate on the rounded lower surface, similarly lepidote on the channelled upper surface, the scales membranous-margined; rachis 1.5-1.8 m. long (1.77 m. in type) with scales similar to those of the petiole; blade little or irregularly divided on each side into 2-3 very broad, many-nerved pinnae in younger plants or with 4-6 mostly broad pinnae on each side in mature individuals bearing flowers and fruits; pinnae (on one entire leaf of type) 5 per side, from base to apex with respectively 6, 6, 7, 5, 8 primary nerves or a total of 32 per side for the entire blade, (1.5-) 12-38 cm. wide at insertion, 43-108 cm. long on upper margin, 6.5-13 cm. wide at about middle, falcately narrowed to an acute apex, but this sometimes broken or frayed and appearing praemorse, secondary nerves 2-4 between each primary nerve, both surfaces and all nerves rather densely dark-lepidote with minute pale-margined scales, the primary nerves with prominent, red-brown, irregularly linear, membranous, medi-fixed or basifixed scales toward the base on the lower surface. Inflorescences 1-8 on an individual plant, spreading, paniculately twice-branched, whitish at anthesis, to more than 6 cm. long and wide; lower peduncular bract thin, about 35 cm. long, briefly pointed, glabrous; peduncle 6-10 cm. long, 1.3-2.2 cm. wide at apex; rachis 9-22 cm. to last branch, bearing 9-10 branches, the lower of these once-branched, the upper furcate to simple and to ca. 40 cm. long, rachis and branches with small, lacerate-fimbriate, whitish, dark-centered scales at least at anthesis; rachillae bearing triads nearly to the apex, these subtended by prominent rounded to usually acute bracts, bracteoles very narrow and inconspicuous, glabrous or, as also the staminate pedicels, minutely hairy but not prominently white-barbate. Flowers cream-colored in bud: staminate flowers asymmetric, 5.5-7 mm. long when dry; sepals about 2 mm. long, narrow, acutish, somewhat keeled dorsally, ciliolate along the margins, not or very inconspicuously nerved when dry; petals about 5-6 mm. long, 2.5-3 mm. wide, rather conspicuously nerved when dry; pistillode conic when fresh, angled-columnar when dry. with angled apex, about one-third as high as stamens in bud: pistillate buds about 2.5-3 mm. high, the perianth in fruit with sepals 2.5 mm. long and often lobed (entire, rounded-acute and ciliolate along the margins in bud), petals 4 mm. high, 4.5 mm. wide, prominently ciliolate along the margins. Fruit red at maturity, globose, with excentrically apical stigmatic residue. 11-13 mm. high, 10-13 mm. in diam.; mesocarp with numerous red sclerosomes in fleshy tissue and some flattened curved fibers; endocarp 10-12 mm. high, 10-11 mm. wide, 9-10 mm. thick with acute adaxial (hilar) keel, rounded abaxial (dorsal) keel, rounded apex, 2-3 indistinct rounded partial ridges and shallow to marked depressions on each side, the operculum rounded; seed about 8-9 mm. high, broad, and thick, brown, irregularly sculptured and rounded in conformity with the endocarp, raphe-branches about 5 per side from the ventral hilar keel, lateral and anastomosing dorsally toward base; endosperm ruminate; embryo basal. (H. Moore. 1969)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Requires a moist shady position in the tropics or sub-tropics. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Native to the understorey of higher elevation rainforests on the Solomon Islands, this stunning palm has a green crownshaft with the most beautiful arching leaves with very wide segments, a slender green trunk, and is supported by tall stilt roots. Even though essentially a child of the tropics, P. insolita grows to higher elevations than other Physokentia and could therefore also be able to live in mild, humid subtropical/warm temperate climes. (

"Solomon Islands pinnate, solitary, monoecious palm with stilt roots and partially divided leaves. THe crownshaft is olive green and has some scales on it that rub off easily. Needy of water and heat. Not a palm for most areas of the US (except Hawaii)" (Geoff Stein)

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).

H. Moore, A synopsis of the Genus Physokentia. 1969. 1969. A synopsis of the Genus Physokentia. Principes 13(4) 120-136.

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

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