Daemonorops formicaria

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formicaria (form-ih-car-EE-ah)
Lambir, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Daemonorops
formicaria (form-ih-car-EE-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Uwai Singkurung

Habitat and Distribution

Daemonorops formicaria is endemic to Borneo. Widespread in
Lambir, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Brunei. Also in Sarawak.


Slender to moderate, solitary or clustered ant rattan palm, climbing to 20 m; stem without sheaths 8-10 mm in diam., with sheaths to 20 mm in diam., internodes about 15 cm long. Sheath shiny green, reddish-brown tinged when young, bearing several collars with long horse-hair-like black spines to 8 cm long, 2-4 pairs of collars interlocking to form ant galleries, the spines bearing deciduous brown indumentum. Leaf cirrate, to 1.5 m (usually less), including petiole 25-40 cm and cirrus to 60 cm; petiole bearing groups of short spines to 4 mm, at the base intermingled with longer horsehair like spines; leaflets about 20-50 on each side of the rachis, very close and regular, stiff, ± parallel-sided and abruptly narrowed at the base, the longest to about 22 × 1.5 cm, usually narrower, conspicuously bristly on 3 veins and the margins on the upper surface, very sparsely bristly beneath. Inflorescences short or of moderate length, 15-30 cm long, peduncle short, unarmed or only very sparsely armed; prophyll and primary bracts deciduous, usually bearing horse-hair-like spines; flowers rather conspicuously stalked. Mature fruit rounded or slightly obovoid, about 14 mm in diam., very briefly beaked, covered in about 15 vertical rows of pale brown scales with darker margins (pale green with reddish-brown margins when immature). Seed rounded, about 10 mm in diam.; endosperm deeply ruminate. Seedling leaf pinnate with very fine close leaflets. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

D. formicaria is an elegant ant rattan, found in a variety of habitats from valley bottoms to the tops of ridges in the lowlands at up to about 250 m above sea level. The ant galleries combined with the close rather stiff, very regular leaflets make this species easily distinguishable. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Pertaining to ants.

Uses: The cane is of good quality and is used split in basketry. The fruit can be eaten. (J. Dransfield. 1997)

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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