Lepidorrhachis (H.Wendl. & Drude) O.F.Cook
  • J. Heredity 18: 408 (1927) 

Notes: Distribution: Lord Howe I.

General Description

Small to moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem thick, short, green, prominently ringed with close leaf scars. Leaves pinnate, ascending; sheath inflated at the base, deeply split opposite the petiole, not forming a distinct crownshaft, densely brown-scurfy toward the apex and petiole; petiole short, shallowly channelled adaxially, rounded abaxially, densely brown-scurfy; rachis adaxially channelled to ridged, abaxially rounded, densely tomentose; leaflets regularly arranged, alternate, single-fold, acute, stiff, ascending from the rachis, the midrib and 2–3 secondary nerves on each side prominent adaxially, margins thickened, bearing scales along ribs on both surfaces, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences apparently unisexual, interfoliar in bud, becoming infrafoliar at anthesis, branched to 3 orders basally, fewer distally, densely covered with basifixed, twisted, simple to forked or tattered, brown, membranous scales; peduncle very short; prophyll usually incompletely sheathing, 2-keeled, open apically, apparently completely encircling at the base; peduncular bract tubular, beaked, exserted from the prophyll; rachis longer than the peduncle, bearing short, wide, acute bracts subtending rather distant, spirally arranged branches and rachillae; rachillae short, bearing paired or solitary staminate flowers or solitary pistillate flowers, the flowers superficial, each subtended by an acute bract. Staminate flowers slightly asymmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate basally, keeled, ± rounded apically; petals 3, distinct, slightly asymmetrical, about twice as long as the sepals, strongly nerved when dry; stamens 6, filaments distinct, inflexed in bud, anthers oblong in outline, latrorse; pistillode narrowly cylindrical, expanded apically, slightly longer than the stamens in bud. Pollen grains ellipsoidal asymmetric, occasionally lozenge-shaped; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate and micro-channelled, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 32–44 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, broadly rounded and imbricate; petals 3, distinct, imbricate with briefly valvate apices, strongly nerved when dry; staminodes 3, on one side of the gynoecium; gynoecium unilocular, uniovulate, subglobose, stigmas recurved, ovule pendulous, probably hemianatropous. Fruit globose or nearly so, red at maturity, stigmatic remains lateral in the upper 1/3–1/4; epicarp smooth, drying granular over included sclerosomes, mesocarp fleshy, thin, with included longitudinal fibres except along the rapheal region, endocarp thin, fragile, operculate. Seed globose, with elongate raphe, hilum apical, short, elliptic, vasculature prominent, branched, the branches anastomosing abaxially, endosperm homogeneous; embryo subbasal. Germination and eophyll unrecorded. Cytology not studied.

Diagnostic Description

Small to moderate pinnate-leaved palm known only from mountain forest on Lord Howe Island; leaf sheaths not forming a crownshaft, the inflorescences interfoliar, apparently unisexual, but both sexes borne on the same plant.


Gynoecium with many bundles of sclereids peripherally (Uhl unpublished); leaf anatomy not studied, and fruit (Essig et al. 1999).


Found only in low mossy forest at high elevations.


One species on Lord Howe Island.


A handsome ornamental. The fruit is favoured by invasive rats and must be protected.

Common Names

Little mountain palm.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Australasia Australia Norfolk Is.


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Pintaud, J.-C. & Baker, W.J. (2008). A revision of the palm genera (Arecaceae) of New Caledonia. Kew Bulletin 63: 61-73.
  • 3 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.