Borassus aethiopum Mart.
  • Hist. Nat. Palm.


Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2021): Borassus aethiopum Mart. Published on the Internet;http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0000350303. Accessed on: 26 Oct 2021'

Morphology

The palm is dioecious, the female conspicuous by its large orange fruits.

  • Provided by: [B].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FWTA
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    Trunk swollen above the middle

  • Provided by: [B].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FWTA
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    The tallest of African palms, often 70 ft. high and sometimes as much as 100 ft.

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    Female inflorescence ± 1–1.5 m. long, bearing 2–3 empty bracts to 50 cm. long by 7 cm. wide, occasionally branched once or twice; flower bearing portion of axis ± 50–75 cm. long, ± 4–5 cm. in diameter; bracts densely crowded, 3 cm. high by 12 cm. wide, connate laterally and forming pits.

  • Provided by: [C].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FTEA
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    Female flowers solitary, borne with 2 bracteoles, each 2 cm. high by 3 cm. wide; sepals 3, imbricate, ± 1.5 × 2 cm.; petals 3, imbricate, ± 1 × 1.5 cm.; staminodal ring with 6 teeth to 4 mm. high; ovary ± 1 cm. in diameter, tipped with 3 stigmatic areas.

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    Male inflorescence to ± 1.5 m. long with 3–6 partial inflorescences; peduncle ± 50 cm. long, ± 3 cm. in diameter at base; bracts tubular, to 45 cm. long by 7 cm. wide, coriaceous, finely striate, split to ± 17 cm., distally the first few bracts empty, the upper subtending branches terminating in (1–)3 rachillae; rachillae up to 35 cm. long by 3 cm. in diameter, brownish green, densely covered in ± 8 spirals of imbricate bracts, free portion of bracts about 10 mm. wide by 5 mm. high; cincinni bearing ± 9 flowers, emerging from the pit one at a time.

  • Provided by: [C].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FTEA
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    Male flowers subtended by 2 small bracteoles ± 3 mm. × 1 mm.; calyx to 7mm. long, tubular, with 3 very shallow to deep lobes; receptacle to 7.5 × 1 mm., bearing 3 small rounded somewhat cucullate corolla-lobes ± 2 mm. long; stamens 6; filaments very short bearing anthers ± 2 mm. × 0.5 mm.; pollen yellow.

  • Provided by: [C].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FTEA
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    Trunk ultimately reaching 20–30 m. tall, swollen at very base (85 cm. diameter), ± 40–50 cm. diameter at breast height, often with pronounced swelling to 80 cm. diameter about 10 m. above the base, at first covered with persistent leaf-bases, these eventually falling to leave a grey surface, marked with annular leaf scars.

  • Provided by: [C].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FTEA
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    Leaves ± 40 in the crown at maturity; leaf base ± 90 cm. long, split longitudinally down the mid-line, eventually also splitting opposite the petiole; petiole to 3.25 m. long by 15 cm. wide above the base, and 3 cm. thick, tapering to 7.5 cm. wide and 3 cm. thick near the lamina insertion, rounded abaxially, flattened or concave adaxially, edged with shiny, black, irregularly erose, sharp protuberances to 1–2 cm. high; adaxial hastula only slightly asymmetrical, ± 1 cm. high; abaxial hastula inconspicuous, ± 3 mm. high; costa short, ± 10 cm. long, the blade hence slightly costapalmate; blade radius ± 180 cm. from hastula to apex, shorter in outer regions; segments 60–80 or more, not all held in the same plane, stiff and only drooping at the tips in age, in length equalling ± half the radius, 5 cm. or more wide, bifid apically for up to 15 cm., with numerous very fine longitudinal veins, distinct lateral veins, and minute distant pale brown scales.

  • Provided by: [C].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FTEA
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    Ripe fruit usually dull orangey brown, somewhat shiny, borne with the much enlarged calyx and corolla; sepals in fruit 6 cm. high by 10 cm. wide; petals in fruit 7–8 cm. high by 12 cm. wide, erose-margined; fruit broadly ovoid, usually flat-topped, shape depending on number of seeds developing and on close-packing in the infructescence, up to 12 cm. high by 14 cm. in diameter or more, obscurely 3-angled; mesocarp up to 1 cm. thick, yellow and fragrant when ripe, with numerous longitudinal fibres embedded in soft pulp; pyrenes up to 3, 10 × 10 × 5 cm., with endocarp ± 7 mm. thick with 2 radially aligned internal longitudinal flanges, the outer to 1 cm. high the inner to 5 mm., penetrating the seed.

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    Seeds 1 in each pyrene, with hard bony white homogeneous endosperm, almost completely filling the pyrene-cavity except for a small central space; embryo apical, top-shaped, ± 5 mm. long by 4 mm. wide.

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    Fig.2.

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    Tree, up to 20 m high. Bole straight with a swelling ± halfway up. Leaves fan-shaped, 3-4 m long. Fruits 120-180 mm in diameter, orange-brown when mature.

  • Provided by: [D].e-Flora of South Africa
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    Ecology

    In dry savanna.

  • Provided by: [B].Plants Of the World Online Portal - FWTA
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    Habitat

    Riverbanks.

  • Provided by: [D].e-Flora of South Africa
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      Bibliography

     Information From

    Arecaceae
    World Flora Online Data. 2017.
    • A CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    Plants Of the World Online Portal - FWTA
    https://www.kew.org/science/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/strategic-outputs-2020/plants-of-the-world-online
    http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/terms-and-conditions
    • B The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    Plants Of the World Online Portal - FTEA
    https://www.kew.org/science/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/strategic-outputs-2020/plants-of-the-world-online
    http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/terms-and-conditions
    • C
    e-Flora of South Africa
    e-Flora of South Africa. v1.21. 2018. South African National Biodiversity Institute. http://ipt.sanbi.org.za/iptsanbi/resource?r=flora_descriptions&v=1.21
    • D All Rights Reserved
    World Flora Online consortium
    http://www.worldfloraonline.org/organisation/WFO
    World Flora Online Data. 2018.
    • E CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    Global Tree Search
    https://tools.bgci.org/global_tree_search.php
    BGCI. 2018. GlobalTreeSearch online database. Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Richmond, U.K. Available at www.bgci.org. Accessed on 30/11/2018.
    • F Botanic Gardens Conservation International