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  1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Licuala Wurmb

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Bhutan to Vanuatu.

    Very small to moderate, solitary or clustered, hermaphroditic or dioecious fan palms of Southeast Asia to the western Pacific and Australia, usually immediately recognisable by the leaf being divided along the abaxial folds all the way to the petiole into wedge-shaped segments; there are a few species with undivided leaves.
    About 134 species, ranging from India and southern China through Southeast Asia to Malesia, Queensland, the Solomon Islands and New Hebrides, the greatest diversity being in Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and New Guinea.
    General Description
    Very small to moderate, solitary or clustered, acaulescent to shrubby, rarely tree-like, armed or unarmed, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic (very rarely dioecious) palms. Stem very short and subterranean, creeping or erect, ringed with close leaf scars, partly obscured by remains of leaf sheaths, sometimes bearing short bulbil-like shoots at the nodes. Leaves palmate, marcescent; leaf sheath disintegrating into a weft of fibres, the margin sometimes remaining as a broad, ligule-like ribbon or tongue; petiole adaxially channelled near the base, rounded or channelled distally, abaxially rounded or angled, armed along margins with close sharp teeth or triangular spines, or unarmed, caducous indumentum often abundant; adaxial hastula well developed, usually triangular, abaxial hastula absent; blade entire or split variously along the abaxial ribs to the very base to produce single to multiple-fold, wedge-shaped reduplicate segments, these in turn with very short splits along the abaxial folds and slightly longer splits along adaxial folds, the central segment usually entire, sometimes bifid, sometimes borne on a stalk-like extension, the ribs often with caducous indumentum, transverse veinlets usually conspicuous. Inflorescences interfoliar, much shorter to much longer than the leaves, very varied in aspect and degree of branching, from spicate to branched to 3 orders; peduncle short to very long, bearing a basal, 2-keeled tubular prophyll, and 0–5 or more, similar, tubular, closely sheathing or inflated, glabrous or tomentose, peduncular bracts; rachis bracts subtending usually distant, first-order branches adnate to the inflorescence axis above the bract mouth; subsequent orders of bracts minute; first-order branches spicate or branched further; rachillae few to ca. 30 or more, crowded or spreading, glabrous to variously scaly or hairy, bearing spirally arranged, distant or very crowded flowers. Flowers solitary or in groups of 2–3, sessile or borne on short to long spurs, each subtended by a minute triangular bract; calyx sometimes stalk-like at the base, tubular, truncate, irregularly splitting, or with 3 neat triangular lobes, glabrous or variously hairy; corolla usually considerably exceeding the calyx, tubular at the base, divided into 3 rather thick, triangular, valvate lobes, glabrous to variously hairy, usually marked near the tip on the adaxial face with the impressions of the anthers; stamens 6, epipetalous, the filaments distinct, somewhat flattened, or united into a conspicuous tube tipped with 6 equal, short to moderate teeth bearing erect or pendulous anthers, or androecial ring 3-lobed, 3 anthers borne on short distinct filaments, 3 borne at the sinuses between the lobes, anthers rounded or oblong, very small to moderate, latrorse; gynoecium tricarpellate, glabrous or variously hairy, carpels wedge-shaped, distinct in the ovarian region, united distally in a long, slender columnar style tipped with a minute dot-like stigma, ovules basally attached, anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, usually bisymmetric; aperture an extended distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, psilate, scabrate, perforate, perforate-rugulate, foveolate or finely reticulate, aperture margin slightly finer or similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 28–50 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetragonal or decussate [32/134]. Fruit globose, ovoid, narrow, straight, spindle-shaped or curved, perianth whorls usually persistent, 1–3 discrete carpels developing, abortive carpels frequently carried with the stigmatic remains at the tip of the fertile carpel, otherwise remaining at the base; epicarp frequently brightly coloured, dull or shining, rarely corky-warted, mesocarp fleshy, somewhat fibrous, thin to thick, endocarp thin, crustaceous. Seed basally attached, endosperm homogeneous or rarely ruminate, penetrated by a smooth or greatly lobed intrusion of seed coat, in species with spindle-shaped fruit the intrusion running ± the length of the seed in the middle; embryo lateral. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll strap-shaped, plicate, ± truncate and minutely lobed at the apex. Cytology: 2n = 28.
    The species are mostly plants of the forest undergrowth; some are gregarious and lend a distinctive appearance to certain forest types, others are very local and occur as scattered individuals. A few species, e.g., L. calciphila, are strict calcicoles; L. spinosa, the most widespread species, occurs in forest on the landward fringe of mangrove and L. paludosa is common in peat swamp forest. A remarkable feature of some Bornean forest types is the abundance of Licuala spp. that grow sympatrically.
    Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), roots (Seubert 1997), floral (Morrow 1965).
    Licuala palms, palas.
    Leaves of some species are used for thatching and for making sleeping mats. The sword leaf of some may be used for wrapping food before or after cooking. Smaller stems are used for walking sticks and larger ones as palisades in building. Many species are highly decorative but appear generally to be slow growing. Pith and stem apices are edible.



    Native to:

    Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Hainan, India, Jawa, Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Philippines, Queensland, Santa Cruz Is., Solomon Is., Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam

    Introduced into:

    Hawaii, Society Is., Trinidad-Tobago

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Licuala Wurmb appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Oct 8, 2010 Heatubun, C. [1104], Indonesia 78002.000
    Jul 17, 2010 Heatubun, C. [1038], Indonesia 78001.000
    Jan 5, 2007 Argent, G. [281987], Malaysia K000462535
    Dec 29, 2006 Kudrjavceva, E. [634], Vietnam K000462520
    Feb 20, 2005 Heatubun, C.D. [541], New Guinea 74396.000
    Feb 20, 2005 Heatubun, C.D. [543], New Guinea 74400.000
    Feb 19, 2005 Heatubun, C.D. [538], New Guinea 74387.000
    Feb 21, 2003 Heatubun, C. [CH410], New Guinea K000208603
    Feb 21, 2003 Heatubun, C. [CH418], New Guinea K000208975
    Dec 14, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1139], Papua New Guinea 62127.000
    Dec 14, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1136], Papua New Guinea K000114200
    Nov 21, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1102], Papua New Guinea 62126.000
    Nov 21, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1102], Papua New Guinea K000114181
    Feb 26, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1062], Indonesia 70036.000
    Feb 26, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1062], Indonesia K000112779
    Feb 16, 2000 Baker, W.J. [1041], Indonesia K000112764
    Jun 30, 1997 Heatubun, C. [148], Indonesia K000525641
    Jan 29, 1975 Schodde, R. [2542], Papua New Guinea K000525637
    Jan 29, 1975 Main [375], Indonesia K000525638
    Waterhouse, J.H.L. [159], Solomon Is. 6049.246
    Whitmore, T. [BSIP3865], Solomon Is. K000208759
    Whitmore, T. [BSIP2874], Solomon Is. K000208750
    Whitmore, T. [BSIP6152], Solomon Is. K000208752
    Whitmore, T. [BSIP5445], Solomon Is. K000208753
    Whitmore, T. [BSIP2733], Solomon Is. K000208758
    Whitmore, T. [BSIP2874], Solomon Is. K000208751
    unknown [s.n.], Solomon Is. K000208748
    unknown [s.n.], Solomon Is. K000208749
    Dransfield, J. [6507], Malaysia 54870.000
    Johns, R.J. [8737], New Guinea 70227.000
    Sumawong [WS15938-570], Thailand 63000.000
    Sumawong [WS 15146.1-3], Thailand 63010.000
    Boyce, P.C. [1258 B], Vietnam 63624.000
    Boyce, P.C. [1258 A], Vietnam 63625.000
    Heatubun, C. [174], Indonesia 63883.000
    Heatubun, C. [172], Indonesia K000525640
    Heatubun, C. [326], Indonesia K000114414
    Heatubun, C. [335], Indonesia K000114374
    Heatubun, C. [362], Indonesia K000030740
    Heatubun, C. [368], Indonesia K000030743
    Heatubun, C. [366], Indonesia K000030744
    Heatubun, C. [365], Indonesia K000030745
    Heatubun, C. [359], Indonesia K000030746
    Heatubun, C. [387], Indonesia K000030752
    Heatubun, C. [378], Indonesia K000030754
    Heatubun, C. [386], Indonesia K000030755
    Sumawong, W. [WS 12124], Thailand 60568.000
    Craven, L.A. [436], Papua New Guinea K000208754
    Craven, L.A. [436], Papua New Guinea K000208755
    Craven, L.A. [436], Papua New Guinea K000208756
    Craven, L.A. [436], Papua New Guinea K000208757
    Smith, G. [GC124], Thailand 53704.000
    Smith, G. [GC28], Thailand 53705.000
    Smith, G. [GC53], Thailand 53706.000
    Smith, G. [GC54], Thailand 53709.000
    Smith, G. [GC64], Thailand 53711.000
    Smith, G. [GC35], Thailand 53714.000
    Smith, G. [GC67], Thailand 53715.000
    Smith, G. [GC120], Thailand 53729.000
    Smith, G. [GC100], Thailand 53737.000
    Smith, G. [GC148], Thailand 53738.000
    Smith, G. [GC81], Thailand 53739.000
    Smith, G. [GC130], Thailand 54569.000
    De Armand, Hull [84-DH-537], Papua New Guinea 48227.000
    Mogea, J.P. [6250], Indonesia K000112676
    Kiew, R. [RK4849], Malaysia K000525991
    Baker, W.J. [WJB 608], Papua New Guinea 59959.000
    Baker, W.J. [WJB 626], Papua New Guinea 59960.000
    Baker, W.J. [883], Indonesia 63978.000
    Yii, P.C. [58681], Malaysia K000030656
    Zona, S. [870] K000209799
    Ambriansyah [AA2611], India K000209669
    Takeuchi, W. [11544], Papua New Guinea K000207911
    Lai, S.T. [75323], Malaysia K000030629
    Widjaja, E.A. [6144], Indonesia K000525639
    Gideon, O.G. [LAE78494], Solomon Is. K000525642
    Barfod, A. [469], Papua New Guinea K000114298
    Maturbongs, R.A. [RAM677], Indonesia K000114404
    Maturbongs, R.A. [RAM682], Indonesia K000114361
    Maturbongs, R.A. [723], Indonesia K000030668
    Rantai [72992], Malaysia K000030663
    Jamree [73775], Malaysia K000030652
    Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 8619], Myanmar K001125979
    Lim, S.P. [SAN145401], Malaysia K000208186
    Jones, B.L. [481], Malaysia K000462785
    Damahuri, S. [FRI 45302], Malaysia K000208203
    Guppy [63], Solomon Is. K000208747
    Desianto, B. [DB13], Indonesia K000114425
    Desianto, B. [BD22], Indonesia K000114407
    Beers, W. [BSIP7311], Solomon Is. K000208760
    Averyanov, L. [VH1518], Vietnam K000462473
    Nguyen, V.D. [1854], Vietnam 66216.000
    Nguyen, V.D. [1372], Vietnam 66215.000
    Nguyen V.D. [1620], Vietnam 65207.000
    Nguyen V.D. [1624], Vietnam 65211.000
    Nguyen V.D. [1309], Vietnam 76261.000


    First published in Verh. Batav. Genootsch. Kunsten 2: 469 (1780)

    Accepted by

    • Saw, L.G. (2012). A revision of Licuala (Arecaceae, Coryphoideae) in Borneo Kew Bulletin 67: 577-654.
    • 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.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    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 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
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