Palm (Roscheria melanochaetes)

loading
Roscheria melanochaetes
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Palm fact file

Palm description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderArecales
FamilyPalmae
GenusRoscheria (1)

This solitary palm tree is the smallest of the Seychelles palms (2). The slender stem may grow up to 8 metres high and is ringed with black spines near to the growing shoot (3). Young leaves are an arresting coral-red colour; they reach up to 2.5 metres long and are feather-like at maturity with leaflets on either side of the midrib (2). Both male and female flowers are found on the same tree; they are small and yellow, borne on solitary, metre-long inflorescences (2). Rounded fruits that may be up to 6 cm long develop; these ripen to a deep red colour at maturity (2).

Size
Height: up to 8 m (2)
Top

Palm biology

The species name of melanochaetes refers to the black spines covering the trunk of this palm; the spines are believed to have evolved as a defence against giant tortoises, the only natural large herbivores in the islands. R. melanochaetes normally grows at high altitudes, where tortoises rarely ventured and consequently this species has fewer spines than any other endemic palm (except for the giant coco-de-mer, Lodoicea maldivica) (4).

Top

Palm range

Endemic to the Seychelles, this palm is only known from the islands of Mahé, Silhouette and Praslin within the archipelago (3).

Top

Palm habitat

Found in moist forests, on steep hillsides (1), seldom below 500 metres above sea level (2).

Top

Palm status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

Top

Palm threats

This small palm species is under threat from habitat destruction in the form of infrastructure development, it is also at risk from the introduction of invasive species (1).

Top

Palm conservation

Much of the range of this species is within the Morne Seychellois National Park on the island of Mahé; the Silhouette population is the subject of conservation work by the Silhouette Conservation Project of the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (4) (5).

Top

Authentication

Authenticated (6/5/03) by Justin Gerlach. Scientific Co-ordinator, The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles.
http://islandbiodiversity.com

Top

Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Inflorescences
The reproductive shoots of the plant, which bear flowers.
Leaflets
The individual 'leaf-like' parts of a compound leaf.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2003)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Wise, R. (1998) A Fragile Eden. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  3. Robertson, S.A. (1989) Flowering Plants of the Seychelles. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  4. Gerlach, J. (2002) Pers. comm.
  5. Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (May, 2003)
    http://islandbiodiversity.com
X
Close

Image credit

Roscheria melanochaetes  
Roscheria melanochaetes

© John Dransfield / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 332 5000
Fax: +44 (0) 208 332 5197
info@kew.org
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Palm (Roscheria melanochaetes) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog