Manicaria Gaertn.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Trinidad, Central & S. Tropical America.

Sleeve palm, monkey cap palm, tenudie.
Acaulescent palm of Central and South America with large mostly undivided leaf, held erect and instantly recognisable by the net-like prophyll and peduncular bract that cover the entire inflorescence; fruit corky-warted.
A single variable species occurring from Central America, across Trinidad, the Orinoco Delta, and the Guianas to the lower Amazon River.
Leaf (Tomlinson 196l).
Occurring in freshwater swamps near the coast, sometimes occurring as large dense stands.
General Description
Robust, solitary or clustered, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem rather short, erect or leaning, sometimes dichotomously branched, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars, enlarged and with a mass of roots evident basally. Leaves very large, marcescent, pinnate, undivided or variously divided to or part way to the rachis, sometimes with separated leaflets; sheath splitting opposite the petiole, becoming narrow and deeply channelled distally, margins with many fibres; petiole long, deeply channelled adaxially, keeled abaxially, covered with small, rough scales abaxially; leaflets where blade divided single-fold, narrow, elongate, tips pointed, shortly bifid, midribs very prominent adaxially, intercostal ribs also prominent, hairs present or absent, scales usually present along ribsAdam et al. 2007, Jouannic et al. 2005) abaxially, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, Additional figures: Glossary figs 7, 20. protandrous, branched to 1–4 orders; peduncle short, rounded in section, rather slender, covered in dense dark red tomentum; prophyll long, tubular, somewhat bulbous basally, tapering to a solid tip, completely enclosing the inflorescence, flexible, net-like, composed of thin, interwoven fibres; peduncular bract (?always present) like the prophyll but inserted near the middle of the peduncle, a few long, fibrous, incomplete peduncular bracts present above the first; rachis longer than the peduncle bearing spirally arranged, rather long, narrow, pointed bracts each subtending a rachilla; rachillae short to moderate, rather crowded, glabrous or with deciduous, dark red tomentum; rachilla bracts stiff, pointed, subtending basally a few (1–3) triads followed by closely appressed staminate flowers, each with a prominent stiff, pointed bracteole, flowers somewhat sunken, rachilla bracts and floral bracteoles persistent, surrounding rounded, shallow floral insertions giving a characteristic pattern to the rachillae after flowers are shed. Staminate flowers slightly asymmetrical, obovoid in bud; sepals 3, broadly rounded, united basally for nearly 1/3 their length, imbricate where distinct, thick basally, margins thin and variously notched; petals 3, more than twice as long as the sepals, united with the receptacle to form a solid base, adnate to stamen filaments basally, lobes distinct, thick, valvate, grooved adaxially; stamens 30–35, filaments terete, moderate in length, variously coiled in bud, anthers elongate, dorsifixed above the base, introrse, connective tanniniferous; pistillode lacking. Pollen ellipsoidal or oblate triangular, with slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus or trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, or perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate-rugulate, aperture margin broad, psilate-perforate; infratectum columellate; longest axis 32–40 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers shortly ovoid in bud; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, truncate, margins variously notched; petals 3, unequal, thick, valvate; staminodes ca. 15, linear, flat, thin; gynoecium triangular in cross-section, obovoid, truncate, trilocular, triovulate, bearing 3 central, linear, connate styles ending in 3 linear stigmas, ovules laterally attached, anatropous. Fruit large, rounded, 1–3-lobed, 1–3-seeded, stigmatic remains subbasal; epicarp obsolescent at maturity, outer mesocarp woody, covered in wart-like projections, inner mesocarp spongy, tanniniferous, endocarp thin, smooth. Seed rounded, basally attached, raphe branches sunken, parallel, sparsely branched, endosperm homogeneous, hollow; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied.

Makes excellent thatch. Intensively used as food, raw material, and medicine by South American Indians (Plotkin and Balick 1984). The inflorescence bracts have been used as caps (Wilbert 1980a) and the leaves as sails (Wilbert 1980b).

Native to:

Belize, Brazil North, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela

Introduced into:

Dominican Republic

Manicaria Gaertn. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 468 (1791)

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

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. 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 2022. 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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