1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Rhapis L.f. ex Aiton

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is S. China to Indo-China.

    Slender clustering dioecious or polygamous fan palms with reed-like stems, from Southern China to Thailand and North Sumatra, often on limestone; instantly recognizable from the leaves divided between the folds into segments.
    Lady palms.
    Leaf (Tomlinson 1961); plication development in the leaf (Kaplan et al. 1982b); stem vasculature (Zimmermann and Tomlinson 1965), roots (Seubert 1997), floral (Uhl et al. 1969).
    About eight species in southern China, southwards through Indochina to peninsular Thailand, one species in northernmost Sumatra.
    General Description
    Small, clustering, unarmed, pleonanthic, dioecious or polygamous palms. Stems slender, reed-like, erect, covered with persistent leaf sheaths, eventually becoming bare, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars. Leaves induplicate, palmate, marcescent, divided to the base or to ca. 3/4 the radius between the folds into several-ribbed segments, apices divided along and between the folds to form shallow teeth; sheath composed of numerous, interwoven, black or grey-brown fibres, when young bearing sparse, caducous brown indumentum; petiole elongate, slender, ± elliptic in cross-section, margins smooth; adaxial hastula small, ± triangular, sometimes tomentose, abaxial hastula absent; blade palmate to deeply bifid, segments usually variable in number of ribs, position of splits precise, usually at a position about 2/3 the width of the interfold nearer the abaxial fold, the segment margins minutely toothed, blade glabrous, transverse veinlets conspicuous. Inflorescences interfoliar, usually very short, branching to 1–2 orders in pistillate, up to 3 orders in staminate; peduncle short, frequently entirely enclosed by the leaf sheaths; prophyll tubular, 2-keeled, splitting along the abaxial midline; peduncular bracts absent; rachis longer than the peduncle, bearing 1–2 large, tubular, single-keeled bracts, distal rachis bracts much smaller; rachis bracts each subtending a first-order branch adnate to the axis above the bract node and bearing very inconspicuous, narrow triangular bracts subtending second-order branches; second-order branches adnate to the first-order branches; rachillae glabrous or hairy, lax, spreading in pistillate and polygamous inflorescences, more crowded in staminate, rachillae bearing spirally arranged, solitary or rarely paired flowers in the axils of minute apiculate bracts. Staminate flowers symmetrical; calyx cup-shaped, thick, shallowly 3-lobed distally, the lobes somewhat irregular, triangular, glabrous or hairy; corolla fleshy, tubular, inserted above calyx and appearing ± stalked basally, the 3 lobes ± triangular, valvate, usually very short, sometimes ciliate at the margins; stamens 6, filaments elongate, but adnate along ± the entire length of the corolla tube, free at their very tip, anthers short, rounded, latrorse; pistillode minute, 3-lobed. Pistillate and distinct, wedge-shaped, each with a short apical style, distally expanded into a conduplicate, fimbriate, tube-shaped stigma, ovules basally attached, 1 in each carpel, hemianatropous, with a basal fleshy aril. Pollen ellipsoidal, usually with slight to obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, coarsely perforate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 21–40 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral [2/8]. Fruit usually developing from 1 carpel with apical stigmatic remains, more rarely 2 or 3 carpels developing, sometimes the stalk-like corolla base persisting and becoming a sub-woody fruit stalk; epicarp becoming purplish-brown or white, mesocarp fleshy, somewhat fibrous, endocarp thin, brittle. Seed with short lateral raphe, endosperm homogeneous, laterally penetrated by the seed coat; embryo subbasal or lateral. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll entire, slender, strap-shaped, plicate. Cytology: 2n = 36, 4n = 72.
    Undergrowth palms of dry evergreen forest; Rhapis subtilis and some other species seem to be confined to forest on limestone hills.
    Widely grown as ornamentals; many dwarf varieties have been developed in Japan. See also McKamey (1983). Stems are used as sticks and canes.



    Native to:

    Cambodia, China South-Central, China Southeast, Hainan, Laos, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam

    Introduced into:

    Japan, Jawa, Nansei-shoto, Trinidad-Tobago

    Rhapis L.f. ex Aiton appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Dec 29, 2006 Hiep, N.T. [CBL1238], Vietnam K000462529
    Jan 1, 2006 Takhtajan, A. [211], Vietnam K000462464
    Jan 1, 2006 Takhtajan, A. [54], Vietnam K000462465
    Jan 1, 2006 Averyanov, L. [VH4654], Vietnam K000462485
    Jan 1, 2006 Averyanov, L. [VH4851], Vietnam K000462508
    WS [15197-2], Thailand 62011.000
    Evans, T. [TDE38], Laos K000208591
    Evans, T. [TDE61], Laos K000462530
    Evans, T. [TDE56], Laos K000462531
    Evans, T. [TDE35], Laos K000462532
    Hiep, N.T. [VA2], Vietnam K000208589
    Nguyen V.D. [2006], Vietnam 65255.000

    First published in Hort. Kew. 3: 473 (1789)

    Accepted by

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


    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    • J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008


    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