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PALMAE

Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania

Jon C. Lovett, Chris K. Ruffo, Roy E. Gereau & James R.D. Taplin
Illustrations by Line Sørensen & Jilly Lovett

PALMAE (ARECACEAE)

Dypsis pembana (H.E. Moore) Beentje & J. Dransf.
Syn. FTEA: Chrysalidocarpus pembanus H. E. Moore
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mpapindi (Sw).
Bole: Green. Strongly winged with leaf scars. To 18 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Pinnate. Whorled. +/- 10 leaves in a crown. Lflt: 40 – 50. 4 – 5 cm apart.
Petiole: With rachis: to 240 cm.
Lamina: Large. Basal leaflets, 76 × 3.6 cm. Proximal leaflets 75 × 2.4 cm. Lanceolate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Waxy peltate scales on abaxial surface.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Interfoliar. Monoecious.
Fruit: Oblong-ovoid. Waxy red. 1.4 – 1.5 × 0.7 cm.
Ecology: Lowland forest.
Distr: C only (Pemba).
Notes: The genus Dypsis does not occur on mainland Africa. Other species are in Madagascar and islands.
Uses: The tree is used for ornamental planting and building construction.
Elaeis guineensis Jacq.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mchikichi, Mgazi (Sw).
Bole: Medium/small. To 15 m.
Bark: Brown. Covered by remains of leaf-bases.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Pinnate. Whorled. To 3 – 5 m long. 40 – 50 leaves in crown. Lflt: 100 – 150 on each side inserted in two planes.
Petiole: To 125 cm long, and to 20 cm wide at base.
Lamina: Large. 120 × 8 cm. Lanceolate. Cuneate. Acute. Entire/serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Absent.
Thorns & Spines: Bulbous-based spines to 4 cm long on petiole.
Flower: Monoecious.
Fruit: Bright orange/red/black. 3 – 5.5 × 2 – 3 cm.
Ecology: Lowland and riverine forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT. Tropical Africa and Madagascar.
Notes: Leaf segments reduplicate in bud (inverted V-shaped in cross-section). Much cultivated, but also occurring wild in Eastern and Western Tanzania. The wild and cultivated forms are said to be different (TTCL), the wild form being slender-stemmed and the cultivated form being thick-stemmed.
Uses: Used for shade and avenues. A palm wine and fibre can be obtained from the tree. Fruits produce a good oil for cooking and soap making. Leaves are used for thatching houses and making baskets.
Phoenix reclinata Jacq.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkindu (Sw), Msaa (B,S).
Bole: Small. To 10 m.
Bark: Pale brown.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Pinnate. Whorled. To 2.5 m long. +/- 25 leaves in a crown.
Petiole: To 15 cm long, but appearing 50 cm long due to reduced spinelike leaflets near base. Lflt: 120 on each side of rachis.
Lamina: Medium/large. 25 × 2 cm. Lanceolate. Cuneate. Acute. Entire. Glabrous/white indumentum beneath when young.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Absent.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Dioecious.
Fruit: Pale yellow/orange/dull red. 1.3 – 1.7 × 0.9 – 1.7 cm.
Ecology: Dry lowland, montane and riverine forest. Thicket.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa, Madagascar.
Notes: Leaf segments induplicate in bud (V-shaped in cross-section). Often grows in clusters. Leaflets sharply pointed.
Uses: The tree is used for shade and amenity. The stem is used for building houses and bridges. Leaves are used for roofing, and for weaving mats, hats and baskets. The fruits are sometimes eaten.
Raphia farinifera (Gaertn.) Hyl.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: R. monbuttorum Drude (this species does not occur in Tanzania), R. ruffia (Jacq.) Mart.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Muale, Mwale (Sw).
Bole: Medium. To 25 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Pinnate. Whorled. To 20 m long. Lflt: +/- 150 on each side.
Petiole: 1.5 m long. 20 cm in diameter. Round.
Lamina: Large. 100 × 8 cm. Lanceolate. Cuneate. Acute. Serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: On leaf margin and veins.
Flower: Axillary from reduced leaves at stem apex. 300 × 35 cm.
Fruit: Ovoid/ellipsoidal. Covered with orange brown scales 7.5 – 10 × 4 – 5.5 cm.
Ecology: Riverine and groundwater forest.
Distr: C, EA, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa, Madagascar.
Notes: Massive clustering palm. Leaves covered in white wax.
Uses: The tree is used for avenue and ornamental purposes. The leaves are used for thatching and weaving baskets, mats and hats. The fibre is used in grafting. The fruits are used for decoration.
Last Updated: 5 February 2019