Apoballis Schott
  • Oesterr. Bot. Z. 8: 318 (1858) 

Notes: Distribution: Indo-China to W. Malesia

General Description

Small to moderate herbs. Stem pleionanthic, epigeal, erect to decumbent. Leaves few to many, often clustering terminally on the shoot, innovations generally pink; petiole usually glabrous, sometimes minutely puberulent, leaf sheath fully attached, tapering, persistent to slowly degrading in the marginal distal part; leaf blade oblanceolate to ovate-sagittate, sometimes variegated, glabrous adaxially and abaxially, basally cuneate to sagittate, apex acute to long acuminate; primary and secondary venation bipinnate, tertiary venation obscure. Inflorescence solitary or to 5 in a synflorescence; spathe long, to 20 cm; lower spathe, ovoid, differentiated from the spathe limb with a gradual or abrupt constriction; spathe limb oblong-lanceolate, upper spathe persistent until well after anthesis, then deliquescing, opening only slightly, the distal portion remaining convolute, with only the ventral part of the staminate flower zone exposed; spadix equalling or shorter than spathe; pistillate flower zone more or less cylindrical, obliquely inserted to adnate for up to ½ of its length; pistils globose, sessile; interpistillar staminodes present or absent; interstice prominent, mostly naked with a few groups of small, more or less sessile staminodes; staminate flower zone cylindrical to slightly tapering, the lower part corresponding with the spathe constriction; stamens crowded, dumbbell-shaped to irregular; appendix present; fruiting spathe urceolate, declinate. Fruits and seeds not seen.

Diagnostic Description

Apoballis is defined by the deciduous leaf sheath, pistillate and staminate flower zones separated by a prominent naked interstice interspersed sparsely with staminodes, and a spathe that hardly opens, and is semipersistent into fruiting. Further, all species so far investigated have spiny pollen (smooth in Schismatoglottis and all other Schismatoglottideae). Apoballis produces a floral odour reminiscent of benzaldehyde (almond oil), contrasting to Schismatoglottis (methyl esterase). This, together with the differences in spadix arrangement and spathe mechanics, suggests pollinator differences.


About 13 species from S. Myanmar to S. Thailand, Sumatra (the majority), and Peninsular Malaysia. Two species in Thailand.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Tropical Indo-China Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Malesia Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Malaya
  • Sumatera


  • 1 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
  • 3 Boyce, P.Charles et al. Araceae. Flora of Thailand 11, (2012).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
  • B 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
  • C 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.