Joey on a stick (Johannesteijsmannia perakensis)

Joey on a stick
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Joey on a stick fact file

Joey on a stick description

GenusJohannesteijsmannia (1)

Few groups of plants can match the splendour of palms, which are renowned for their exotic appeal (3). This unusual species of umbrella palm bears the distinctive crown of leaves typical of palms (1), but it is the only Joey palm (Johannesteijsmannia) species with a trunk (4). The extremely large, leathery, diamond-shaped leaves are pleated along their length and have serrated edges (2). Cream-coloured, scented flowers arise among the leaves and are either solitary or arranged in groups of two or four (5).

Also known as
Joey palm, umbrella palm.
Height: c. 4 m (2)

Joey on a stick biology

Palms are characteristically long-lived monocotyledons (1). This plant is monoecious, meaning that each plant has both male and female flowers, with flowering and fruiting in all Johannesteijsmannia species reportedly being irregular and sporadic. Seeds germinate readily and seedling growth is relatively fast if the climate and the soil are favourable (5).


Joey on a stick range

This Joey palm is restricted to the Kledang Saiong and Gunung Bubu Forest Reserves in Perak, Central Malaysia (6).


Joey on a stick habitat

An understorey palm best suited to frost-free, humid tropical rainforests, where there is well-drained soil and plenty of shade (2) (5).


Joey on a stick status

As yet unclassified by the IUCN.


Joey on a stick threats

All four species of Johannesteijsmannia are currently endangered by loss of habitat, deforestation, over-collection of seeds for export, and harvesting of leaves by indigenous communities for making house and roof thatches (6). There is considerable concern, since all four species are particularly sensitive to forest disturbance, performing rather poorly when grown in too exposed conditions (3). In the past, large areas of the Malaysian forest were cleared for tin-mining and agriculture (3) and, today, logging activities continue to destroy habitat (6). The Joey on a stick is in a particularly vulnerable position, since the species is restricted to only a small area in the state of Perak, Malaysia (6).


Joey on a stick conservation

In 2002, a project by the Department of Biological Sciences, The National University of Singapore, was begun to study the biology of Johannesteijsmannia species (6) (7). It is hoped that this will provide information necessary to effectively manage the conservation and sustainable exploitation of the species (7). Additionally, the project aims to reintroduce nursery propagated material to populations in the wild, to distribute seed or plant stock to local botanical institutions, and to conduct training for the local communities to help conserve the endangered plants (7). A certain degree of protection is also already afforded the Joey on a stick by its presence in Kledang Saiong and Gunung Bubu Forest Reserves (6). Malaysia has about 15% of the world’s total palm species and possibly the highest diversity per area in the world (3), but is suffering rapid forest clearance. With many species being endemic, including this Joey palm, it is crucial that intensive conservation efforts are made to preserve Malaysia’s rich diversity of plant life and save such species from disappearing forever.


Find out more

For more information on the Joey on a stick see:

Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia (PACSOA):

The Virtual Palm Encyclopedia:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


One of the two divisions of flowering plants in which the embryo within the seed has a single leaf.


  1. The Virtual Palm Encyclopedia (February, 2006)
  2. Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia (PACSOA) (February, 2006)
  3. Lankawi online magazine: Nature Section (February, 2006)
  4. National University of Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences, Plant Systematics Lab (February, 2006)
  5. The Palm Doctor (February, 2006)
  6. Asean Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) – Country Research Profiles, Singapore (February, 2006)
  7. Asean Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) – Research Project, Singapore (February, 2006)

Image credit

Joey on a stick  
Joey on a stick

© Fletcher & Baylis

Wildside Photography


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