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  1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Genus: Desmoncus Mart.
      1. Desmoncus polyacanthos Mart.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Caribbean to S. Tropical America.

    General Description
    Subcanopy reaching liana. Stems solitary or clustered, to 10 m long, 1-2 cm in diameter. Leaves 1-2 m long; rachis with numerous short, recurved spines; pinnae 8-13 on each side, more or less evenly spaced, ovate-elliptic, 15-35 cm long and 3-6 cm wide; the distal half of the rachis with 4-7 pairs of pinnae transformed into climbing hooks, each hook 3-7 cm long. Inflorescence 70-80 cm long, with ca. 15, short branches. Fruit red, obovate, flat at apex, 15-20 mm long. Plants 7.2(1.0-37.0) m tall; stems 1.4(0.5-2.9) cm diameter, clustered. Leaf petioles 3.2(0.5-13.5) cm long; rachises 63.8(25.0-173.0) cm long, 5.2(1.8-12.9) mm wide, the spines usually <1 cm long, mostly abaxial, recurved with markedly swollen bases; pinnae 8(4-15) per side of rachis, without long, filiform apices, without a beard of spines at the bases, without spinules or dense tomentum at the bases adaxially; basal pinna 15.8(3.3-40.0) cm long, 2.7(0.3-5.8) cm wide; cirri well-developed, with acanthophylls, cirri with spines abaxially mostly on proximal part only, without intermediate acanthophylls present, with a wide gap between pinnae and acanthophylls. Inflorescences with the rachis thicker than the few, closely spaced and spirally arranged rachillae, each rachilla subtended by an acute bracteole and with an axillary pulvinus; peduncles 3.5(1.6-12.4) mm wide; peduncular bracts 26.3(16.5-34.0) cm long, broad, sparsely to densely covered with short, markedly swollen-based, diagonally oriented spines, these triangular in cross-section, whitish-brown proximally, brown distally, with tomentose margins, rarely spines few or absent; rachillae 15(5-37), glabrous or scarcely tomentose initially; proximal rachillae 7.4(3.3-13.0) cm long, 1.1(0.6-2.0) mm wide; stamens 5 6; fruits 16.4(11.2-23.5) mm long, 11.9(7.9-17.9) mm wide, the surfaces smooth, without any apparen subepidermal fibers; fruiting corollas less than one quarter as long as fruits, splitting irregularly into 3 lobes the lobes often splitting again; endocarps globose to obovoid with rounded apices, the pores lateral, not equidistant, the sterile pores closer latitudinally
    From 10°37'N-21°31'S and 35°09'-78°38'W in Trinidad, Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil (including the Atlantic Coastal Forest), Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia at 205(0-1000) m elevation in a variety of habitats including lowland rainforest on terra firme, flooded forest, campina, restinga, or scrub forest near the sea. Read (1979) also included the Lesser Antillean island of St. Vincent in the distribution of this species, but only one, sterile specimen from there has been seen. There is another specimen at P labelled Martinique but without more precise locality. Widespread in W South America, from Venezuela to Bolivia, at low elevations.

    Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

    Nativa en Colombia; Alt. 80 - 300 m.; Amazonia, Guayana y Serranía de La Macarena, Orinoquia.
    Preocupación Menor



    Native to:

    Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil Southeast, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Windward Is.


    Other Data

    Desmoncus polyacanthos Mart. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Trail, J.W.H. [1088], Brazil K000632597 holotype
    Trail, J.W.H. [1088], Brazil K000632598 holotype
    Trail, J.W.H. [1088], Brazil K000632599 holotype
    Ule, E. [5515], Brazil Desmoncus nemorosus K000526427 isotype
    May 1, 1950 Spruce, R. [46], Brazil Desmoncus riparius K000526425 holotype
    May 1, 1950 Spruce, R. [46], Brazil Desmoncus riparius K000526426 holotype
    s.coll. [14366], Brazil Desmoncus campylacanthus K000632603 isotype
    Maguire, B. [23093], Guyana Desmoncus macroacanthos K000526428 isotype


    First published in Hist. Nat. Palm. 2: 85 (1824)

    Accepted by

    • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
    • Lorenzi, H., Noblick, L.R., Kahn, F. & Ferreira, E. (2010). Brazilian Flora Arecaceae (Palms): 1-268. Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora LTDA, São Paulo, Brazil.
    • Araújo, D. & Alves, M. (2010). Climbing plants of a fragmented area of lowland Atlantic forest, Igarassu, Pernambuco (northeastern Brazil) Phytotaxa 8: 1-24.
    • Gauto, M.I. (2009). Conservation status assessment of Paraguayan Palms (Arecaceae): 1-132. Universitéde Genève, Faculté des sciences. Masters in Biology.
    • Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
    • Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
    • 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

    • Henderson, A., A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae) in Phytotaxa 35. 2011
    • Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 1998. Manual to the Palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador

    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Henderson, A. (2011). A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae) Phytotaxa 35: 1-88.


    Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
    Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License