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This genus is accepted, and its native range is S. Indo-China to W. Malesia.

All species are confined to primary tropical rain forest and are found from sea level to altitudes of about 1400 m. Nenga pumila var. pachystachya sometimes occurs in peat swamp forest.
General Description
Moderate, solitary or clustered, acaulescent or erect, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem slender, short, rarely exceeding 5 m in height with short or elongate internodes and conspicuous leaf scars, stilt roots frequent. Leaves pinnate; sheaths usually forming a well-defined crownshaft with leaves neatly abscising, or leaves marcescent and crownshaft poorly developed (Nenga gajah); petiole usually well developed, flattened or grooved adaxially, rounded or angled abaxially; leaflets with 1–several folds, linear to sigmoid, acute or acuminate, the terminal pair obscurely lobed, lobes corresponding to the folds, the adaxial ribs often bearing ramenta on the under surface, transverse veinlets obscure. Inflorescence infrafoliar or interfoliar (N. gajah), erect or pendulous, branching to 1 order, rarely to 2 orders or unbranched, protandrous; peduncle short in species with infrafoliar inflorescences, long where inflorescences interfoliar (N. gajah); prophyll thin, membranous, enclosing the inflorescence in bud, splitting and falling at anthesis or thick, almost woody, persistent, eventually rotting; peduncular bracts incomplete, small, triangular; rachillae bearing spirally arranged minute bracts subtending triads proximally, solitary or paired staminate flowers distally, or triads confined to central rachilla and lateral rachillae with staminate flowers only, flowers not or only slightly sunken in the rachillae; floral bracteoles minute. Staminate flowers fleshy, sessile; sepals 3, connate at the very base, shorter than, almost as long as, or far exceeding the corolla; corolla with slightly stalk-like base or not, with 3 long, valvate lobes; stamens 6, borne at the base of the corolla lobes, filaments short, anthers oblong to linear, latrorse; pistillode absent. Pollen grains ellipsoidal to spheroidal, bi-symmetric; aperture a distal sulcus, short or same length as long axis; ectexine semi-tectate, coarsely reticulate, muri of reticulum may be spinulose, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis ranging from 37–72 µm [4/5]. Pistillate flowers sessile, globular; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate; petals 3, distinct, imbricate; staminodes absent or minute; gynoecium globose or columnar, uniloculate, uniovulate, style lacking, stigmas 3, massive, fleshy, divergent, ovule laterally attached, form unknown. Fruiting rachillae usually not differing greatly in colour from flowering ones. Fruit ovoid to obpyriform, dull to brightly coloured, stigmatic remains apical; epicarp smooth, dull or shiny, mesocarp thin, fleshy, sweet, endocarp composed of longitudinal fibres adhering to the seed, becoming free at both ends (N. pumila) or at one end only, the fibres enclosing a solid parenchymatous mass of varying size distal to the seed. Seed with longitudinal hilum and raphe branches anastomosing, endosperm deeply ruminate; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied.
Root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b) and fruit (Essig and Young 1979).
Pinang palms.
Five species ranging from Vietnam and Burma to Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Java.
Acaulescent or erect palms of forest undergrowth in West Malesia, Thailand and Vietnam, almost always with crownshafts, with entire or lobed leaflet tips and a single large bract in the inflorescence, the pistillate flowers borne in the basal part of the rachilla and with lateral hilum on the seed.


Stems are sometimes used split, as laths.

Native to:

Borneo, Jawa, Malaya, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam

Nenga H.Wendl. & Drude appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Sumawong [WS 15497], Thailand 62920.000
Damahuri, S. [FRI 45322], Malaysia K000208204

First published in Linnaea 39: 182 (1875)

Accepted by

  • 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

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

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.

Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China
The Malesian Key Group (2010) Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China (Version 2.0, 28 Jul 2010) The Nationaal Herbarium Nederland Leiden and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. 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 2021. 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
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