1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Syagrus Mart.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Lesser Antilles to S. Tropical America.

    [PW]
    Distribution
    Thirty-one species recorded in South America from Venezuela southwards to Argentina, with the greatest number of species in Brazil; one species in the Lesser Antilles.
    General Description
    Small to tall, solitary or clustered, rarely forking below ground (Syagrus cearensis), unarmed or armed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem very short, subterranean to erect and tall, rarely stolon-like, sometimes swollen basally, distally obscured by leaf-base remains, becoming bare, sometimes striate, and marked with inconspicuous or raised or impressed, oblique or circular conspicuous leaf scars. Leaves reduplicately pinnate, spirally arranged or, in S. coronata, ± even, scars circular, arranged in 5 ranks, marcescent or neatly abscising; sheath disintegrating into an interwoven mass of fibres, the fibres slender to robust and flattened, rarely flattened and spine-like; petiole very short to long, adaxially channelled or flattened, abaxially rounded or angled, the margins smooth or bearing short caducous fibres, and rarely also bearing coarse spine-like fibres, surfaces variously glabrous, tomentose or scaly, sometimes waxy; rachis straight or curved, short to long, variously scaly, tomentose or glabrous; leaflets single-fold, few to very numerous, regularly or irregularly arranged, held in one or several planes, linear, moderately wide to very narrow, stiff or curved, the tips acute, acuminate or obtuse, symmetrical and shallowly bifid or asymmetrical; blade adaxially glabrous or with sparse scales or hairs, sometimes waxy, abaxially usually with conspicuous ramenta along the main vein, very rarely also with dense grey indumentum, transverse veinlets often conspicuous. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, rarely spicate, usually branching to 1 order, ?protandrous, much shorter than the leaves; peduncle ± elliptic in cross-section, short to long, glabrous or variously hairy or scaly; prophyll usually mostly concealed within the leaf sheaths, tubular, flattened, 2-keeled, splitting at the tip, becoming fibrous and disintegrating with age; peduncular bract persistent, much longer than the prophyll, usually inserted just above the prophyll, tubular, enclosing the inflorescence until shortly before anthesis, very rarely shorter than the expanded inflorescence, often ± spindle-shaped before splitting longitudinally along the abaxial face for most of its length, then expanding and becoming cowl-like, beaked, usually ± woody, rarely thinly coriaceous or papery, glabrous or glaucous or pubescent, longitudinally grooved; rachis usually shorter than the peduncle or nearly equal (S. coronata), glabrous or hairy, bearing spirally arranged rachillae, each subtended by a short, triangular, usually coriaceous bract; rachillae few to numerous, short or elongate, slender, straight or often twisted in bud, frequently zigzag, glabrous or sparsely tomentose, bearing spirally arranged triads proximally, paired or solitary staminate flowers distally, or rarely, the distal-most rachillae bearing only staminate flowers; flower groups usually sessile, subtended by usually inconspicuous bracts; floral bracteoles minute. Staminate flowers usually ± asymmetrical; sepals 3, ± triangular, distinct and imbricate or briefly connate, rarely connate in a stalk-like base; petals 3, distinct, valvate, ± thinly coriaceous or fleshy, much longer than the sepals, variously lanceolate, oblong, or ovate with acute tips, glabrous, tomentose, scaly or dotted; stamens 6, filaments distinct, or very briefly connate, relatively short, ±fleshy, anthers elongate, dorsifixed near the base or medifixed and ± versatile, introrse or latrorse; pistillode minute, trifid or absent. Pollen ellipsoidal, frequently elongate and/or pyriform, usually with either slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, perforate and micro-channelled, perforate-rugulate, rugulate-verrucate or reticulate, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 36–56 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral [11/31]. Pistillate flowers slightly smaller to very much larger than the staminate flowers; sepals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate, triangular to ovate, acute or obtuse, fleshy to coriaceous, sometimes tomentose or scaly; petals 3, distinct, slightly shorter to slightly longer the than the sepals, triangular or ovate, broadly imbricate at the base, with minute to moderately large and conspicuous valvate tips; staminodal ring membranous, low, ± 6-toothed, occasionally apparently absent; gynoecium columnar to conical or ovoid, trilocular, triovulate, glabrous or tomentose to scaly, the stigmas 3, reflexed, fleshy, ovules laterally attached to the central wall of the locules, ?anatropous. Fruit small to relatively large, 1–(rarely 2-)seeded, spherical, ovoid, or ellipsoidal, variously green, brown, yellow, or reddish, sometimes beaked, the perianth segments and staminodal ring persistent and sometimes enlarging as a cupule at the fruit base; epicarp smooth or longitudinally striate, glabrous or hairy, mesocarp fleshy or dry, with abundant longitudinal fibres, endocarp thick, woody, with 3(4) basal or subbasal pores, sometimes beaked, sometimes with 3 longitudinal ridges, rarely with 3 irregular vertical bands of minute pores, endocarp cavity irregular or more usually circular, rarely triangular in cross-section, with 3, conspicuous, vertical lines, very rarely with a curved lateral protrusion into the seed (S. romanzoffiana). Seed conforming to the shape of the endocarp cavity, subbasally attached, endosperm homogeneous or ruminate, sometimes with a central cavity; embryo basal or subbasal opposite one of the endocarp pores. Germination adjacent-ligular or remote tubular; eophyll entire. Cytology: 2n = 32.
    Vernacular
    Syagrus palms, licury palm (Syagrus coronata), Queen palm (S. romanzoffiana).
    Biology
    Most species are confined to dry or semi-arid areas; these include all of the acaulescent species. A few, usually tree-like species are restricted to mesic and tropical rain forest. The acaulescent species are conspicuous components of several Brazilian arid vegetation types such as ‘cerrado’ and ‘campo rupestre’.
    Morphology
    Leaf (Tomlinson 1961, Glassman 1987, Roth 1990), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b), fruit (Reddy and Kulkarni 1985).
    Diagnostic
    Extremely variable genus native to the Caribbean (one species) and South America, where it is particularly abundant in drier areas; leaflets are concolourous and the mesocarp does not split.
    [PW]
    Vernacular
    Common names not recorded.
    Morphology
    Root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b).
    Diagnostic
    Graceful undergrowth palms from eastern Brazil with distinctive slender discolorous leaflets and fruit in which the pericarp splits longitudinally when ripe, exposing the endocarp.
    General Description
    Slender, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, short, rarely exceeding 3 m, at first obscured by leaf sheath remains, later bare, closely ringed with leaf scars. Leaves pinnate, marcescent, graceful; leaf sheaths densely light or dark brown-hairy, with a triangular ligule-like projection opposite the petiole, later disintegrating into a fibrous network and splitting; petiole very short to elongate, adaxially flat to rounded, abaxially rounded or angled, fibrous along the margins, also with scattered thin indumentum and some coarse dark hairs; rachis neatly curved, usually bearing conspicuous, dark, coarse hairs adaxially; leaflets single-fold, numerous, slender, often extremely so, linear, close and regularly arranged, the tips asymmetrical, soft in texture, the adaxial surface dark green, abaxial surface covered with grey or pale brownish indumentum, with few to numerous ramenta along the midrib, transverse veinlets obscure. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, branching to 1 order, protandrous; peduncle short to elongate, elliptic in cross-section, sparsely to densely tomentose; prophyll tubular, flattened, 2-keeled, usually mostly concealed by the leaf sheaths, opening distally, becoming fibrous in age, light or dark brown tomentose; peduncular bract elongate, inserted just above and much longer than the prophyll, coriaceous to ± woody, entirely enclosing the inflorescence until shortly before anthesis, splitting longitudinally along the abaxial face and expanding, adaxial surface glabrous, smooth or tomentose, ± grooved, abaxial surface deeply grooved, densely light or dark brown-tomentose; rachis usually shorter than the peduncle, sparsely to densely tomentose like the peduncle, bearing numerous, spirally arranged rachillae, each subtended by a minute triangular bract; rachillae eventually widely spreading, slender, sparsely tomentose, somewhat zigzag, with a short to long basal bare portion, above which bearing few triads proximally and paired or solitary staminate flowers distally, the distal-most rachillae shorter and sometimes entirely staminate; rachilla bracts and floral bracteoles inconspicuous. Staminate flowers small, ± symmetrical, sessile or borne on brief, slender pedicels; calyx with or without a solid, short to long stalk-like base, and 3, membranous, keeled, narrow triangular, acute lobes; petals 3, distinct, valvate, ovate-triangular, acute, thinly coriaceous with scattered, caducous, dot-like scales; stamens 6, filaments slender or basally thickened, very briefly epipetalous, elongate, ± inflexed, anthers slender, ± oblong, basally sagittate, apically sometimes pointed, medifixed, versatile, latrorse; pistillode conspicuous, about 1/2 the height of the filaments, trifid or minute. Pollen ellipsoidal, frequently elongate, usually with either slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, finely or coarsely perforate, perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate-rugulate, aperture margin may be slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 34–54 µm [2/2]. Pistillate flower larger than the staminate, ± pyramidal; sepals 3, distinct, triangular, broadly imbricate, coriaceous, keeled, the tips ± hooded or not; petals ± equalling the sepals, 3, distinct, broadly imbricate at the base, abruptly narrowed at ± the midpoint to broad or narrow, tapering, valvate tips; staminodal ring thinly fleshy, irregularly 6-toothed or truncate; gynoecium ± pyramidal, trilocular, triovulate, brown-hairy, with a very short to long style and 3 stigmas appressed in bud, ovules laterally attached to the central axis, form unknown. Fruit globose to ovoid, 1-seeded, tinged pink or reddish, with a short beak and apical stigmatic remains; epicarp ± smooth, mesocarp thin, ± fibrous, it and the epicarp dehiscing along 3 vertical sutures to expose the endocarp, endocarp thin, rather fragile, marked with 3 vertical lines externally, internally with 3 shining broad bands, endocarp pores lateral near the base. Seed laterally attached with broad lateral hilum, endosperm homogeneous (Lytocaryum weddellianum) or deeply ruminate (L. hoehnei), with or without a central hollow; embryo basal opposite an endocarp pore. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll pinnate. Cytology: 2n = 32.
    Distribution
    Two closely related species restricted to south-east Brazil.
    Biology
    Found in shady forest at altitudes of 800–1800 m.
    [PW]
    Use
    Leaves of many species are used as thatch, those of S. coronata also yield wax. The mesocarp of S. oleracea and S. coronata is edible, and the endosperm of S. cocoides and S. coronata can be used as a source of palm oil. The wood is also useful. For medicinal uses, see Plotkin and Balick (1984). Many species are cultivated as ornamentals.
    [PW]
    Use
    Lytocaryum weddellianum is an important pot palm, sold in large quantities in Europe.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Argentina Northeast, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Leeward Is., Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, Windward Is.

    Introduced into:

    Florida, Honduras, Mauritius, New South Wales, Queensland, Trinidad-Tobago

    Syagrus Mart. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jan 25, 2007 Chapin, M.H. [66] K000462569
    Philcox, D. [4217], Brazil 7561.000
    Philcox, D. [4215], Brazil 7566.000

    First published in Palm. Fam.: 18 (1824)

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

    Sources

    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

    Kew Science Photographs
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew 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