Phoenicophorium H.Wendl.
  • Ill. Hort. 12(Misc.): 5 (1865) 

Notes: Distribution: Seychelles

General Description

Moderate, solitary, spiny when young, sparsely armed or ± unarmed at maturity, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem erect, becoming bare, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars, the juvenile bearing abundant black spines, usually ± unarmed at maturity. Leaves large, bifid, lobed and pinnately ribbed but not pinnatifid, neatly abscising; sheaths becoming open, not forming a well-defined crownshaft, covered in abundant tomentum, easily detached spicules, and scattered, large black spines when young, becoming markedly less spiny as maturity is reached, sheath margin irregularly ligule-like, tattering; petiole well developed, adaxially channelled, abaxially rounded, sparsely scaly, in juveniles bearing abundant, large, black spines abaxially; rachis bearing black spines in the proximal region in juveniles; blade bifid, with very conspicuous, pinnate ribs, splitting along abaxial ribs to 1/8 to 1/3 the rib length into briefly bifid lobes, sometimes split further by wind, blade bright green, often reddish-tinged, adaxially glabrous, abaxially with abundant dot-like scales and large ramenta along the adaxial folds near the rachis, transverse veinlets obscure. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, branching to 1–2 orders proximally, to 1 order distally, protandrous; peduncle elongate, winged at the base, oval in cross-section, unarmed, glabrous; prophyll inserted some distance from the base of the peduncle, persistent, very coriaceous, tubular, 2-keeled, the keels tending to be irregularly split or toothed, splitting apically for a short distance, scaly or sparsely tomentose, unarmed or armed with sparse to abundant, short, black spines; peduncular bract 1, inserted some distance above the prophyll but included within it, ± woody, conspicuously beaked, deciduous, unarmed, minutely scaly, tubular at first then splitting along ± its entire length; rachis much shorter than the peduncle; rachis bracts minute, triangular, inconspicuous; first-order branches spirally arranged, crowded, ± pendulous, their bases somewhat swollen; rachillae glabrous, slender, elongate, flexuous, with a very short, bare area at the base, above this bearing spirally arranged, superficial triads, except near the tip where bearing solitary or paired staminate flowers; bracteoles minute, rounded. Staminate flowers slightly asymmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, low, ± rounded, keeled; petals about 4–5 times as long as the sepals, 3, distinct, valvate; stamens 15–18, filaments short in bud, at anthesis becoming elongate, slender, anthers elongate, medifixed, basally sagittate, latrorse; pistillode absent. Pollen ellipsoidal bi-symmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, coarsely perforate with broad-based supratectal spines, often basally branched, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 23–30 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers ± globular, about the same size as the staminate; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, rounded, ± keeled; petals 3, distinct, rounded, imbricate, with short, triangular, valvate tips; staminodes 6, tooth-like; gynoecium asymmetrically ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, stigmas 3, apical, very low, ovule laterally attached, ?campylotropous. Fruit 1-seeded, relatively small, ovoid to ellipsoidal, red, with persistent perianth whorls, and subbasal stigmatic remains; epicarp shiny, mesocarp thinly fleshy with a thick layer of tannin cells external to the endocarp, endocarp thin, cartilaginous, with basal round operculum. Seed ovoid, basally attached, with rounded hilum and sparse, anastomosing raphe branches, endosperm deeply ruminate; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll lanceolate, entire. Cytology: 2n = 32.

Diagnostic Description

Moderate solitary spiny palm endemic to Seychelles, lacking a crownshaft and with ± undivided leaves; inflorescences have long peduncles.


Leaf (Tomlinson 1961 as Stevensonia), root(Seubert 1998a, 1998b) and fruit (Essig et al. 2001).


Phoenicophorium borsigianum occurs abundantly from sea level to altitudes of about 300 m, above which it becomes much rarer. It occasionally occurs in pure stands, and seems to be relatively tolerant of disturbance. It is frequently planted as an ornamental.


One species, widespread in the Seychelles Islands.


A much-prized ornamental, used in the Seychelles for thatch.

Common Names

Latanier feuille.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa Western Indian Ocean Seychelles


  • 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.