Manicaria Gaertn.
  • Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 468 (1791) 

Notes: Distribution: Trinidad, C. & S. Trop. America

General Description

Robust, solitary or clustered, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem rather short, erect or leaning, sometimes dichotomously branched, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars, enlarged and with a mass of roots evident basally. Leaves very large, marcescent, pinnate, undivided or variously divided to or part way to the rachis, sometimes with separated leaflets; sheath splitting opposite the petiole, becoming narrow and deeply channelled distally, margins with many fibres; petiole long, deeply channelled adaxially, keeled abaxially, covered with small, rough scales abaxially; leaflets where blade divided single-fold, narrow, elongate, tips pointed, shortly bifid, midribs very prominent adaxially, intercostal ribs also prominent, hairs present or absent, scales usually present along ribsAdam et al. 2007, Jouannic et al. 2005) abaxially, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, Additional figures: Glossary figs 7, 20. protandrous, branched to 1–4 orders; peduncle short, rounded in section, rather slender, covered in dense dark red tomentum; prophyll long, tubular, somewhat bulbous basally, tapering to a solid tip, completely enclosing the inflorescence, flexible, net-like, composed of thin, interwoven fibres; peduncular bract (?always present) like the prophyll but inserted near the middle of the peduncle, a few long, fibrous, incomplete peduncular bracts present above the first; rachis longer than the peduncle bearing spirally arranged, rather long, narrow, pointed bracts each subtending a rachilla; rachillae short to moderate, rather crowded, glabrous or with deciduous, dark red tomentum; rachilla bracts stiff, pointed, subtending basally a few (1–3) triads followed by closely appressed staminate flowers, each with a prominent stiff, pointed bracteole, flowers somewhat sunken, rachilla bracts and floral bracteoles persistent, surrounding rounded, shallow floral insertions giving a characteristic pattern to the rachillae after flowers are shed. Staminate flowers slightly asymmetrical, obovoid in bud; sepals 3, broadly rounded, united basally for nearly 1/3 their length, imbricate where distinct, thick basally, margins thin and variously notched; petals 3, more than twice as long as the sepals, united with the receptacle to form a solid base, adnate to stamen filaments basally, lobes distinct, thick, valvate, grooved adaxially; stamens 30–35, filaments terete, moderate in length, variously coiled in bud, anthers elongate, dorsifixed above the base, introrse, connective tanniniferous; pistillode lacking. Pollen ellipsoidal or oblate triangular, with slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus or trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, or perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate-rugulate, aperture margin broad, psilate-perforate; infratectum columellate; longest axis 32–40 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers shortly ovoid in bud; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, truncate, margins variously notched; petals 3, unequal, thick, valvate; staminodes ca. 15, linear, flat, thin; gynoecium triangular in cross-section, obovoid, truncate, trilocular, triovulate, bearing 3 central, linear, connate styles ending in 3 linear stigmas, ovules laterally attached, anatropous. Fruit large, rounded, 1–3-lobed, 1–3-seeded, stigmatic remains subbasal; epicarp obsolescent at maturity, outer mesocarp woody, covered in wart-like projections, inner mesocarp spongy, tanniniferous, endocarp thin, smooth. Seed rounded, basally attached, raphe branches sunken, parallel, sparsely branched, endosperm homogeneous, hollow; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied.

Diagnostic Description

Acaulescent palm of Central and South America with large mostly undivided leaf, held erect and instantly recognisable by the net-like prophyll and peduncular bract that cover the entire inflorescence; fruit corky-warted.


Leaf (Tomlinson 196l).


Occurring in freshwater swamps near the coast, sometimes occurring as large dense stands.


A single variable species occurring from Central America, across Trinidad, the Orinoco Delta, and the Guianas to the lower Amazon River.


Makes excellent thatch. Intensively used as food, raw material, and medicine by South American Indians (Plotkin and Balick 1984). The inflorescence bracts have been used as caps (Wilbert 1980a) and the leaves as sails (Wilbert 1980b).

Common Names

Sleeve palm, monkey cap palm, tenudie.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Caribbean Trinidad-Tobago
  • Central America Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Western South America Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
Introduced into
  • Southern America Caribbean Dominican Republic


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 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 Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • 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; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See 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.