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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 23 | Arecaceae

13. Caryota Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1189. 1753.

鱼尾葵属 yu wei kui shu

Thuessinkia Korthals.

Stems small to very large, solitary or clustered, columnar or swollen, usually ringed with conspicuous leaf scars. Leaves 4-20, spread out along stem, or borne in a compact crown at top of stem; leaf sheaths closed, not forming crownshafts; petioles short or elongate and then rounded in cross section, covered with whitish or brownish hairs, sometimes striped; leaves bipinnate, each primary pinna made up of several secondary pinnae borne on a secondary rachis terminated by a pinna; individual secondary pinnae triangular, with jagged outer margins, often spreading in different planes. Plants monoecious, semelparous, flowering proceeding from top of stem downward (basipetal). Inflorescences usually branched to 1 order, rarely spicate, borne either among or below leaves, covered with many persistent bracts; peduncle bearing a prophyll and several peduncular bracts; rachillae usually many, long and pendulous; flowers unisexual, borne in threes of 1 central female and 2 lateral male; male petals either yellow or purplish; stamens 6-150. Fruits orange, red, or purple, medium sized, usually ± globose, 1- or 2-seeded; mesocarp filled with irritant needle-shaped crystals; endosperm ruminate (homogeneous in one species); germination remote; eophylls bifid [pinnate in one species] with jagged margins.

Thirteen species: from India through SE Asia to the W Pacific; four species in China.

Records of Caryota no Beccari ex J. Dransfield from China are based on misidentifications.

1 Moderate-sized palms, with clustered stems; rachillae less than 80 per inflorescence; flowers purple to maroon; fruits purple, purple-black, or brownish purple   (2)
+ Massive, solitary palms; rachillae more than 80 per inflorescence; flowers yellowish, rarely reddish brown to purple; fruits reddish, orange, or rarely purple   (3)
2 (1) Inflorescences with to 60 rachillae.   1 C. mitis
+ Inflorescences with 1-3 rachillae.   2 C. monostachya
3 (1) Leaves borne along upper half of stem; primary pinnae pendulous; fruits strictly 1-seeded.   3 C. maxima
+ Leaves borne in a compact crown at top of stem; primary pinnae spreading; fruits often 2-seeded.   4 C. obtusa

Lower Taxa


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