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This species is accepted, and its native range is New Guinea to Caroline Islands.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

Palau, Indonesian Papua, Papua New Guinea (including Woodlark (Muyua) Island), Federated States of Micronesia (Yap).
Lowland to lower montane primary to disturbed secondary forest on a variety of substrates including granite, coralline limestone, volcanically-derived soils.
General Description
Moderately robust, medium-sized pachycaul, homeophyllous liane to 15 m; seedling stage not observed; pre-adult plants forming scattered terrestrial colonies; adult shoot architecture comprised of clinging, physiognomically unbranched, LEAVES: densely leafy flowering stems; stems smooth, mid-green, with cataphylls and prophylls persistent and drying dark yellow, then degrading into fibres and parchment-like remains, internodes 1-6 x 0.4-1.5 cm, separated by prominent slightly oblique leaf scars; flagellate foraging stem absent; clasping roots densely arising from the nodes and internodes, smooth and drying with parchment-like epidermis; feeding roots not observed; leaves spiro-distichous to distichous; cataphylls and prophylls chartaceous, later degrading into strips of tissue and fibres, especially at tips of flowering shoots; petiole deeply canaliculate, 8-53 x 0.4-0.8 cm, smooth with faint to rather prominent dark dense speckling, apical geniculum prominent, basal geniculum slightly less so; petiolar sheath extending to apical geniculum, broad, chartaceous, short-persistent, degrading to sparse fibres and papery strips, then falling; lamina entire, ovate-elliptic to oblong-lanceolate or oblong-elliptic, slightly oblique, 11-35 x 2.5-18 cm, chartaceous to coriaceous, base rounded to acute, apex acute to acuminate; midrib prominently raised abaxially, ± flush adaxially; primary venation pinnate, raised abaxially, less so adaxially; interprimaries sub-parallel to primaries, slightly to much less prominent than the primaries, slightly raised abaxially, barely visible adaxially; secondary venation reticulate, raised, especially conspicuous in dry material; tertiary venation minutely reticulate, hardly visible; INFLORESCENCE two, three or more together, each subtended by a prominent chartaceous prophyll and one or more chartaceous cataphylls, the entire synflorescence emerging from a mass of dried, chartaceous cataphyll remains; peduncle slender to stout, terete, partially to completely obscured by cataphylls, 4-12 x 0.2-0.8 cm; spathe slender canoe-shaped, hardly to stoutly beaked, 5-13.5 x 2-2.5 cm, stiff-fleshy, lower 0.7-1 cm with connate margins (fide Nicolson 1580, but not observed elsewhere), yellow to yellow green, marcescent to early fruiting, eventually falling leaving a prominent scar; spadix stoutly cylindrical, sessile, inserted almost level on peduncle, 3-16.5 x 1-1.5 cm, white at male anthesis; stylar region conical, mostly hexagonal in top view, 0.9-1.2 x 1-1.1 mm; stigma punctiform, very prominently raised, those at the tip of the spadix even more raised, 0.1-0.2 x c. 0.3 mm, glossy and almost black in dried material; anthers exserted at male anthesis; INFRUCTESCENCE stoutly oblong-cylindrical, 6-9 x 1.4-2 cm.
Most similar to Rhaphidophora versteegii but readily separated by the non-shingling juvenile phase and on drying the strongly discolorous leaf laminas of which the abaxial surface is bright orange-brown with copious, minute tannin cells. Further, R. spathacea never has perforated leaf laminas.

Native to:

Caroline Is., New Guinea

Rhaphidophora spathacea Schott appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jul 7, 2000 Johns, R.J. [10431], Indonesia 70089.000
Jul 7, 2000 Johns, R.J. [10431], Indonesia 70000.069
Jun 20, 2000 Johns, R.J. [9967], Indonesia 70000.051
Jun 20, 2000 Johns, R.J. [10393], Indonesia 64519.000

First published in Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugduno-Batavi 1: 129 (1863)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


CATE Araceae

  • P.C. Boyce 2001. The Genus Rhaphidophora Hassk. (Araceae-Monsteroideae-Monstereae) in New Guinea, Australia and the Tropical Western Pacific Gardens Bulletin Singapore. 53: 75-183

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

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.