1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Eremospatha (G.Mann & H.Wendl.) Schaedtler

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is W. Tropical Africa to Zambia.

    [FTEA]

    Palmae, John Dransfield. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1994

    Habit
    Clustering, high-climbing, spiny, pleonanthic, hermaphrodite palms; stems suckering sympodially
    Leaves
    Leaves displaying a remarkable plasticity of form from flabellate juvenile leaves to regularly or irregularly pinnate adult leaves, in adult and some juvenile stems terminating in a cirrus armed with reflexed thorns and more massive paired reflexed acanthophylls; leaf-sheath unarmed, usually glabrous, occasionally with chocolate-coloured or paler indumentum; ocrea well developed, usually long-persistent, unarmed, truncate; petiole present in juvenile foliage, very short to absent in most adult leaves; rachis usually with lateral reflexed spines; leaflets few–many, the basal few often modified as spiny ‘aphlebiae’, reflexed and clasping the stem (function not known); the distal leaves uni- or very occasionally pluricostulate, usually moderately to fiercely armed with marginal spines, otherwise unarmed, lanceolate, suborbicular to rhomboid, occasionally apiculate, normally at least part of the distal margins praemorse, concolorous or rarely discolorous, occasionally with scattered chocolate-coloured scales
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescence axillary, shorter than the leaves, emerging from the ocrea, branching to 1 order; peduncle short; rachillae arranged subdistichously, spreading, subtended by very small inconspicuous bracts with triangular limbs, and bearing flowers in pairs throughout their length, each pair subtended by a minute annular bract
    Flowers
    Flowers hermaphrodite; calyx tubular with 3 low triangular lobes; corolla ± twice the length of the calyx, with 3 short triangular lobes; stamens 6, epipetalous, borne near the mouth of the corolla-tube, united basally, the free filaments very short, each bearing a small pair of anthers; ovary covered with reflexed scales and tipped with 3 stigmas, united for most of their length
    Fruits
    Fruit somewhat oblong, covered in reflexed scales, and tipped by the stigmatic remains, calyx and corolla persistent
    Seeds
    Seeds 1–3, variously shaped, often somewhat lobed and grooved; testa thin; endosperm homogeneous; embryo lateral.
    [PW]
    General Description
    Clustered (?always), spiny, high-climbing, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic rattan palms. Stem eventually becoming bare, with long internodes, usually circular in cross-section, sometimes obscurely 3-angled, juvenile stem apparently much more slender than the adult, sucker shoots apparently axillary. Leaves pinnate, bifid in juveniles, with a terminal cirrus; sheath strictly tubular, unarmed, longitudinally striate, sometimes with a thin caducous cover of indumentum; ocrea conspicuous, tightly sheathing, neatly truncate (?always); knee present in mature climbing stems, but rather inconspicuous; petiole present in juvenile stems, absent in mature climbing stems; rachis usually armed with reflexed spines, and sometimes bearing caducous indumentum; cirrus bearing neat pairs (rarely not paired) of reflexed acanthophylls, sometimes also with scattered reflexed spines; leaflets few to numerous, single-fold except, rarely, in juvenile leaves where lamina undivided, praemorse or abruptly narrowed to a pointed tip, or entire, linear to rhomboid, usually somewhat plicate, regularly arranged, variously indumentose, sometimes white tomentose beneath, usually armed along the thickened margins with conspicuous robust, distally pointing or reflexed spines, transverse veinlets moderately conspicuous; proximal few leaflets on each side of the rachis frequently very much smaller than the rest, strap-like, heavily armed along margins, and reflexed across the sheathed stem. Inflorescence arching outward, branched to 1 order, branches horizontal, peduncle enclosed within the leaf sheath and emerging from its mouth, flattened, not adnate to the internode, the surface usually minutely papillose; bracts throughout the inflorescence very inconspicuous; prophyll absent?; peduncular bracts absent; rachis much longer than the peduncle; rachis bracts low, triangular, striate, ± opposite or alternate, often united to form an incomplete sheathing collar; rachillae adnate to the inflorescence axis a short distance above the bract, either opposite (in which case subtended by a double bract) or alternate (in which case subtended by a single triangular bract), distal rachillae always alternate, distichous, rachillae minutely papillose, bearing ± distichous, minute, triangular, incomplete bracts, each subtending a pair of equal flowers without bracteoles. Flowers pale in colour, very fragrant; calyx thick, coriaceous, very shallowly 3-lobed distally, obscurely veined, minutely papillose; corolla very thick, coriaceous, divided at the apex to 1/4 to 1/3 its length into 3 short, triangular, valvate lobes, remaining approximate even at anthesis, the lobes then separating slightly; stamens 6, united into a massive, fleshy, epipetalous ring, ± occluding the mouth of the flower, clasping the gynoecium, free filaments angled, very short, anthers enclosed within the flower, ± medifixed, very short, somewhat sagittate, latrorse; gynoecium tricarpellate, triovulate, rounded, covered in reflexed scales, tipped by a columnar or tapered, ± 3-angled style, apically with 3 stigmatic angles, ovule basally attached, anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, bi-symmetric; aperture an extended distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, coarsely perforate, or rugulate-reticulate, aperture margin usually much finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 32–63 µm [4/10]. Fruit 1–3 seeded, stigmatic remains minute, apical, perianth whorls persistent; epicarp covered in vertical rows of reddish-brown reflexed scales with fringed margins, mesocarp apparently fleshy at maturity, endocarp not differentiated. Seed subbasally attached, from the shape of 1/3 of a sphere to hemispherical or ellipsoidal depending on the number of seeds developing, sometimes slightly lobed or grooved, with a conspicuous abaxial ridge opposite the embryo, seed coat thin, scarcely fleshy, endosperm homogeneous; embryo lateral. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied. Solitary or clustered, spiny, high-climbing, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic rattan palms. Stems circular to triangular in cross section, with short to long internodes, juvenile stems much more slender than the adult, sucker shoots axillary. Leaves pinnate, bifid in juveniles, becoming pinnate, with a terminal cirrus; sheath strictly tubular, unarmed, longitudinally striate, often sparsely to moderately covered with black or brown caducous indumentum or indumentum absent; ocrea conspicuous, entire, tightly sheathing, neatly or obliquely truncate or somewhat saddle-shaped, or drying and becoming longitudinally split; knee absent or conspicuous, vertically linear, abrupt or tapering at base, sometimes more linear, ridge-like; elaminate rachis present on lower stems, or absent; petiole present in juvenile stems, occasionally in mature climbing stems, armed with reflexed spines, sometimes with a caducous indumentum below, or indumentum absent; rachis armed as the petiole, with caducous indumentum below; cirrus armed as the petiole or unarmed; leaflets few to numerous, single-fold except, rarely, in juvenile leaves where lamina undivided, clustered or regularly arranged, linear-lanceolate, sub-orbicular to rhomboid, broadly attenuate at the base, narrowly to broadly praemorse or entire and apiculate at apex, concolorous or somewhat discolorous, usually armed along the margins with conspicuous robust reflexed spines; tranverse veinlets moderately to highly conspicuous; proximal few leaflets on each side of the rachis often smaller than the rest, shaped as the mature leaflets or somewhat linear, strap-like, sparsely to heavily armed along margins, laxly or tightly reflexed across the sheathed stem, or not reflexed and more regularly arranged; acanthophylls in neat pairs, opposite, rarely sub-opposite, parallel, or at varying angles to cirrus. Inflorescence arching outward, branched to 1-order, branches horizontal, peduncle enclosed within the leaf sheath and emerging from the mouth, flattened, not adnate to the internode, the surface glabrous or minutely to profusely papillose; bracts throughout the inflorescence inconspicuous or somewhat more conspicuous; prophyll absent although vestigial scar visible; peduncular bracts absent; rachis somewhat longer or than the peduncle; rachis bracts low, triangular, striate, opposite, alternate distally, sometimes united proximally to form an incomplete sheathing collar; rachillae distichous, opposite proximally and subtended by a double bract, becoming alternate distally, subtended by a single triangular bract, adnate to the inflorescence axis a short distance above the bract, bearing ± distichous, minute, triangular, incomplete bracts, each subtending a pair of equal flowers without bracteoles. Flowers very pale in colour, becoming darker post-anthesis, moderately to strongly fragrant; calyx thick, coriaceous, very shallowly 3-lobed distally, obscurely veined, minutely papillose, corolla very thick, coriaceous, divided at the apex to ¼ to 1/3 its length into 3 short, triangular valvate lobes, remaining approximate, even at anthesis, the lobes then separating slightly to reveal a discrete trilete opening; stamens 6, united into a fleshy epipetalous ring, clasping the gynoecium and occluding the mouth of the flower, free filaments angled, very short, anthers enclosed within the flower, ± medifixed, very short, somewhat sagittate, latrorse; pollen elliptic, monosulcate, the sulcus extended, exine foveolate, tectate; gynoecium tricarpellate, triovulate, rounded, covered in reflexed scales, tipped by a columnar or tapered, 3-angled style, apically with 3 stigmatic angles, ovule basally attached, anatropous. Fruit 1-3 seeded, stigmatic remains minute, apical, perianth whorls persistent; epicarp covered in vertical rows of reddish-brown reflexed scales with fringed margins, mesocarp fleshy at maturity, endocarp not differentiated, sarcotesta, when present, very thin. Seed sub-basally attached, from the shape of 1/3 of a sphere to hemispherical or ellipsoid (depending on the number of seeds developing), sometimes slightly lobed or grooved, with a conspicuous abaxial ridge opposite the embryo, seed coat thin, rarely fleshy, endosperm homogenous; embryo lateral. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid.
    Distribution
    Ten species confined to humid rain forest of West Africa, the Congo Basin, and eastward to Tanzania. Eremospatha is represented by eleven species confined to the lowland (<1,000m) forest areas of West Africa and the Congo basin with outliers in Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
    Diagnostic
    Clustering, high-climbing, pinnate-leaved rattan palms of humid Equatorial West and Central Africa; sheaths are always unarmed; pleonanthic and hermaphroditic, the flowers are borne in pairs and are distinctive in the almost inflated fleshy to leathery tubular calyx and corolla.
    Vernacular
    Common names numerous (Sunderland 2001, 2007).
    Morphology
    Leaf, stem (Tomlinson 1961), root (Seubert 1996a), floral (Uhl and Moore 1973).
    Biology
    Apparently most abundant in rain forest on swampy soils.
    [PW]
    Use
    Stems are used as a source of cane.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cabinda, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre

    Eremospatha (G.Mann & H.Wendl.) Schaedtler appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Dec 1, 2000 Webb [311], Cameroon K000520247
    Dec 1, 2000 Hens [170], Congo K000520241
    Dec 1, 2000 Ayewoh [s.n.], Nigeria K000520153
    Jan 31, 1975 Green [s.n.] K000462296
    Gossweiler [8705], Angola K000520257
    Moore, H.E. [2123], Ghana K000462309
    Harris, D.J. [2652], Central African Republic 60027.000
    Harris, D.J. [4966], Central African Republic 60034.000
    Dransfield, J. [7002], Cameroon K000520246
    Fay [4036], Central African Republic K000520245
    Talbot [224], Nigeria K000462308
    Sunderland, T.C.H. [2054], Cameroon K000520229
    Sunderland, T.C.H. [1933], Cameroon K000520242
    Sunderland, T.C.H. [1738], Cameroon K000520243
    Bruneau, A. [1071], Cameroon K000025707

    First published in Hamburger Garten- Blumenzeitung 31: 163 (1875)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Literature

    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    • T.C.H Sunderland, A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae) in Phytotaxa 51. 2012
    • J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • F.T.A. 8: 111.
    • in Kerch., Palm. 244 (1878)
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Becc. in Webbia 3: 270 (1910)
    • in Kerch., Palm.: 244 (1878)

    Sources

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
    Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0