Palmiste marron (Hyophorbe verschaffeltii)

loading
Palmiste marron in cultivated garden
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Palmiste marron fact file

Palmiste marron description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderArecales
FamilyPalmae
GenusHyophorbe (1)

The palmiste marron is a solitary palm with a distinctive grey, spindle-shaped trunk that bulges in the middle (2) (3) (4) (5) and has ring-like markings (6). A smooth, waxy, bluish-grey crownshaft, up to 90 centimetres tall and swollen at the base, emerges from the top of the trunk (2) (4). The leaves of the palmiste marron are large, at 1.8 to 3 metres in length, and pinnate, with 30 to 50 pairs of rigid, dark green leaflets which measure around 60 to 80 centimetres in length (2) (3). The leaf stalk is yellow (3).

Also known as
Rodrigues bottle palm, spindle palm.
French
Palmiste Marron.
Size
Height: up to 12 m (2)
Trunk height: 6 - 9 m (2)
Trunk diameter: 25 - 45 cm (2)
Top

Palmiste marron biology

The palmiste marron is monoecious, bearing both male and female flowers on the same plant (2) (3) (4) (8). The yellow flowers are unisexual (each flower possessing either male or female reproductive organs) and arranged in inflorescences that emerge from long, upward-pointing, horn-like bracts on the upper part of the trunk (2) (3). The flowers are said to have a sweet, delicate fragrance (6). The fruit of the palmiste marron is a rounded drupe, 2.5 centimetres wide, and is black when ripe (2) (3) (5).

Top

Palmiste marron range

The palmiste marron is endemic to the island of Rodrigues, in the Indian Ocean, where it occurs in only 17 locations, including Grand Montagne, Anse Quitor and Ravine de la Cascade, St Louis (1) (5) (7) (8).

Top

Palmiste marron habitat

This palm is reported to occur in scrub forests and savannas, and to grow in limestone areas (1) (2).

Top

Palmiste marron status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

Top

Palmiste marron threats

Although widely cultivated as an ornamental palm (1) (5) (7), the palmiste marron is the second rarest palm on Rodrigues, with fewer than 60 individuals left in the wild, and little if any natural regeneration occurring on the island (1) (7) (8). The main threats to the species are overgrazing by cows, sheep and goats, as well as invasion by non-native plants, high levels of seed predation by rats, and severe fragmentation of the population (1) (7) (8). With such a tiny population, events such as cyclones can also have catastrophic effects on this palm (8). Although the palmiste marron is being increasingly cultivated on Rodrigues, to be planted as part of a habitat restoration project, there is a threat of hybridisation with Hyophorbe lagenicaulis, which has been introduced from Round Island (1) (7) (8).

Top

Palmiste marron conservation

Conservation measures recommended for the palmiste marron and other endemic palms of the Mascarene Islands include fencing and weeding of areas of native forest to protect the remaining wild palms, as well as propagating species and re-introducing them into the wild, and undertaking further biological research (7) (8). It will also be important to involve local communities, with education programmes, incentives from tourism and palm plantations, and stricter laws for cutting down palms (7). The palmiste marron needs to be protected from hybridisation with closely-related palm species, and legislation is needed to ban the introduction of non-native palms to Rodrigues. Palms that have already been introduced will also need to be removed, although this has proved difficult to date because most are being grown in private gardens (7). Without a long-term conservation programme, this unique and Critically Endangered palm is in great danger of becoming extinct in the wild (8).

Top

Find out more

Top

Authentication

Authenticated (24/03/10) by Dr Bill Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
http://www.palmweb.org/,
http://www.eunops.org/

Top

Glossary

Bract
Modified leaf at the base of a flower.
Crownshaft
A sheath at the top of the trunk of some pinnate-leaved palm species, formed by the leaf bases, and taking the form of a column above the main trunk and beneath the main crown of leaves. The crownshaft surrounds the bud where all the subsequent leaves are formed.
Drupe
Fleshy fruit with single seed enclosed in a woody covering. Cherries, peaches and plums are all drupes.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Hybridisation
Cross-breeding between two different species or subspecies.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
Leaflets
The individual ‘leaf-like’ parts of a compound leaf.
Monoecious
An organism in which separate male and female organs occur on the same individual.
Pinnate
In plants, a compound leaf where the leaflets (individual ‘leaves’) are found on either side of the central stalk.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Riffle, R.L. (2008) Timber Press Pocket Guide to Palms. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  3. Baker, J.G. (1877) Flora of Mauritius and the Seychelles. L. Reeve, London.
  4. Llamas, K.A. (2003) Tropical Flowering Plants: A Guide to Identification and Cultivation. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  5. Ellison, D. and and Ellison, A. (2001) Cultivated Palms of the World. UNSW Press, Sydney.
  6. Royal Horticultural Society: Tropical palm flowers for first time (May, 2009)
    http://www.rhs.org.uk/News/
  7. Johnson, D. (1996) Palms: Their Conservation and Sustained Utilisation. IUCN/SSC Palm Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland.
  8. Maunder, M., Page, W., Mauremootoo, J., Payendee, R., Mungroo, Y., Maljkovic, A., Vericel, C. and Lyte, B. (2002) The decline and conservation management of the threatened endemic palms of the Mascarene Islands. Oryx, 36: 56 - 65.
X
Close

Image credit

Palmiste marron in cultivated garden  
Palmiste marron in cultivated garden

© Tony Rodd

Tony Rodd
tonyrodd@tpg.com.au

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Palmiste marron (Hyophorbe verschaffeltii) 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 »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in ARKive’s Indian Ocean island profile.

This species is featured in:

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

Blog