Pinanga coronata

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SoCal. Photo by Geoff Stein, edric.
Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah) coronata (kohr-oh-NAH-tuh)
Kuhlii Form - Photo: Brod Northwood, Carina Heights - Brisbane, Queensland.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pinanga (pih-NAHN-gah)
Species: coronata (kohr-oh-NAH-tuh)
Pinanga kuhlii; now Pinanga coronata var. 'kuhlii'
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Kuhl's Palm, Ivory Cane Palm, Bing-bin (West Java), piji (Central Java, East Java, and Bali), pinang rante (East Java).

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Habitat and Distribution

Andaman Is., Fiji, Lesser Sunda Is., Society Is., and Sumatera, Jawa to Lesser Sund Islands. Occurring on very steep hillsides in montane forest and flat areas in lowland forest, from sea level to 1800 m above sea level. (J.R. Witono, J.P. Mogea and S. Somadikarta. 2002)/Palmweb.


Small, clustered, undergrowth palm. Stems erect, unbranched, 2-8 (10) m tall, 1.5-7 (10) cm in diam., with internodes 4.5-12 (20) cm, scars 0.5-1.2 cm; stem surface green to brownish green. Crownshaft swollen elongate, 50-100 cm long, 2.5-10 cm in diam., slightly wider than the stem, green, yellowish or brownish green, or brownish to reddish yellow when adult, with brown scales, ligule poorly developed. Leaves 4-7 in the crown; whole leaf including leaf-sheath 150-300 cm; leaf-sheath 35-80 cm; petiole 20-100 cm, deeply oblique adaxially, convex abaxially; rachis 90-180 cm, petiole and rachis smooth or silvery indumentose below, flattened adaxially, convex abaxially, sharp near the apex; leaflets 6-30 on each side of rachis, entire, regularly arranged, elongate linear-lanceolate, falcate-sigmoid, basal leaflets 22-85 x 0.5-6.5 cm, with 1-5 ribs, middle leaflets 32-90 x 0.8-9 cm, with 1-7 ribs, apical leaflets 16-45 x 1.5-10 cm, with 2-13 ribs, notched to deeply cuneate to dentate, indumentose on lower ribs, the surfaces discolorous, upper pale green, lower dark green when fresh, on drying becoming pale brown to pale greenish brown on lower surface and dark brown to dark greenish brown on upper surface. Inflorescence infrafoliar, pendulous or erect then pendulous, green when young, becoming yellow pink to red, base very stiff; peduncle flattened, 1-6.5 x 0.5-2 cm; prophyll 20-28 x 4.5-8 cm, pale yellow when fresh, light brown when dry, smooth; rachis 2-9 x 0.2-1 cm, smooth; rachillae 5-22, glabrous, straight, spreading to parallel, not in same plar basal rachillae with 19-51 triads on each sid apical rachillae with 15-36 triads. Staminate flow sessile, creamy white, stamens 12-16 (28), pale yellow, about 3-3.5 x 0.2 - 0.4 mm. Pistilla flower creamy white, sessile, calyx cup-shape sepals orbicular to very broad orbicular, 2.5-5 2-3.5 mm, membranous, striate, imbricate acuminate-mucronate-obtuse at the apex, cilia at margins; petals usually smaller than sepal orbicular to very broad orbicular, 2-4.5 x 2-3. mm, membranous, striate, imbricate, acuminate-mucronate-obtuse at the apex; ovary rounded about 1-2 x 1 mm. Fruit obovoid, ellipsoid to ovoid, 11-15 x 6-10 mm, green when youn becoming yellow pink, red to brownish red stigmatic remains apical; epicarp smooth, shiny mesocarp thin, fleshy; endocarp with longitudinal fibers. Seed conforming to the fruit, 7.5-12 x 5-7. mm; endosperm deeply ruminate. (J.R. Witono, J.P. Mogea and S. Somadikarta. 2002)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Blume described P. kuhlii based on a specimen apparently from West Java (Java Occidentalis). Beccari (1886) mentioned that the type locality of P. kuhlii was Cisoka, West Java. This locality is in Lebak District, Pandeglang Regency, Banten Province. Index Kewensis says that the type locality of P. kuhlii is Malaya. This information is incorrect, and indeed no specimen or record has ever been documented from Malaya. Pinanga coronata was described based on a specimen from Megamendung, on the slopes of Mt. Gede-Pangrango, to the south-east of Bogor in West Java. Again Index Kewensis incorrectly cites the type locality of P. coronata as Celebes; however, P. coronata has so far never been found in Celebes. Blume (1839) separated P. kuhlii and P. coronata primarily based on leaves and growth of the inflorescence. The rachis of P. kuhlii is covered with small scales on the abaxial surface, the leaflets are broad (lanceolate to falcate), 10-13 in number and the inflorescence is pendulous. Characters of P. coronata are rachis smooth, leaflets narrow (linear to elongate), numerous, and inflorescence erect then pendulous. Specimens that were collected from lowlands usually have characters similar to P. kuhlii, but specimens from montane forest (>1000 m above sea level) usually have characters similar to P. coronata. In fact, between P. kuhlii and P. coronata, there are intermediate forms. Based on this evidence we conclude that the clustered Pinanga of Java and Bali represents a single species. Pinanga costata and P. noxa, are reduced to P. coronata because they have similar characters and are indistinguishable in the field and in the herbarium. Pinanga coronata was chosen by Beccari and Pichi-Sermolli (1955) as the type of the genus Pinanga, because Pinanga was first published by Blume, not in Rumphia (1838-1843), but in Bulletin des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles en Neerlande vol. 1 (1838). Although the genus Pinanga was described in the Bulletin, the species were merely listed and are nomina nuda. Before Rumphia 2 was published, Martius published Historia Natumlis Palmarum, vol. 3 (1838), in which he made the combination Areca coronata, which is the first validly published name for this species. The valid name of the clustered Pinanga in Java and Bali is thus P. coronata (Blume ex Mart.) Blume. Other names for clustered Pinanga in Java are P. nenga which was published by Blume (1838-1843), and P. neglecta which was published by Burret (1940). Pinanga nenga is the type of the genus Nenga. At present, the correct name for it is Nenga pumila. Pinanga neglecta is synonymous with Nenga pumila (Fernandol983). (J.R. Witono, J.P. Mogea and S. Somadikarta. 2002)/Palmweb.


Warm, sheltered, and moist. Relatively common, and easy to grow. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Previously split into 2 species, (P. kuhli being the other), it is now thought to be just a highly variable single species. P. coronata var. 'kuhlii' is the form found in the lower elevations, whilst P. coronata is found at higher altitudes.

Uses: Frequently cultivated as an ornamental, and sometimes used for building material.

It is generally accepted that there are two forms of Pinanga Coronata. The 'standard' P. Coronata will hold regular pinnate leaves when mature, and is not as mottled as the other form known as Kuhlii. P. coronata takes the full sun very well where as Kuhlii will burn, sometimes very bad. In addition Kuhlii does not handle the cold as well.

"This is one of many species of Pinanga, but only one of two or three that are hardy enough to survive outdoors in southern California (U.S.) It is a very commonly grown species in the tropics and sometimes streets are lined with plantings of them. It is a clumping palm with simple to partially divided leaves and yellowish crownshafts. The flowers stalks and fruit are bright red to blackish and very attractive. It is a beautiful plant for both indoors and shady outdoor warm gardens. It does need a LOT of water and can't handle hot, dry winds. As an addendum (1-2006) there is NO zone 11 in California, and most Pinangas cannot grow here (many have been tried over and over and over- not by me, but by those with a lot better climates and experience)." (Geoff Stein), edric.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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).

J.R. Witono & J.P. Mogea & S. Somadikarta, Pinanga in Java and Bali. 2002. 2002. Pinanga in Java and Bali. Palms 46(4) 193-202.

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