KAMAL A. MALIK
Solitary or clump forming dioecious feather palms. Trunk stout, uniformly thickened, covered with bases of petiole, erect, rarely branched. Leaves pinnate, pinnae numerous, unequal, elongate, coriaceous, ensiform, lanceolate, induplicate, longitudinally folded and attached with folded base to the petiole, lowest pinnae usually modified into strong sharp spines. Inflorescence simply branched, axillary, several glabrous buds covered with one big coriaceous prophyll. Flowers unisexual, small, sessile on erect or drooping peduncle. Male flowers: oblong or ovoid, calyx cup-shaped, 3-toothed, obliquely oblong or ovate. Petals much longer than the calyx, valvate, oblong. Stamens usually 6; filaments subulate, united at the base; anthers erect. Female flowers: petals 3, rounded, imbricate, usually less than two times longer than the calyx. Carpels 3, free, with sessile stigmas; staminodes 6 or joined into a 6-lobed cup; one ovule in each carpel, only one maturing. Fruit one seeded berry, ovoid or oblong, with a fleshy pericarp and a membranous endocarp. Seeds straight, ventrally grooved, endosperm homogeneous.
A genus of c. 17 species, distributed in the countries of the old world, from Canary Island in the southern part of Mediterranean region, all over Africa, S. Arabia, Middle East, Persia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Southern slopes of Himalayas, Assam, South to Malayan Penninsula, N. Samatra and China. Represented in Pakistan by 4 species.