Bentinckia Berry ex Roxb.
  • Fl. Ind. ed. 1832, 3: 621 (1832) 

Notes: Distribution: Nicobar Is., India

General Description

Moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, moderately robust, brown, leaf scars clearly defined, close. Leaves pinnate, somewhat arching to spreading, becoming pendulous, neatly abscising; sheaths thick, striate, ± glabrous, tubular, forming a conspicuous crownshaft; petiole very short, stout, adaxially channelled, abaxially rounded; rachis elongate, angled adaxially, rounded abaxially; leaflets single-fold (basal leaflets sometimes united), lanceolate, acute or acuminate, tips bifid, both surfaces with small brown scales, long, pale ramenta near the base adaxially, along ribs abaxially, midrib raised adaxially, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, branched to 3 orders basally,fewer distally, branches somewhat pendulous at anthesis; peduncle veryshort, dorsiventrally flattened; prophyll inserted close to base of peduncle,tubular, splitting abaxially, caducous, chartaceous, tomentose, rather wide,2-keeled laterally, tapering slightly to a blunt tip; peduncular bract insertedclose to prophyll, similar but beaked and lacking keels, also caducous;rachis longer than the peduncle, bearing rather distant, spirally arranged,short, sometimes pointed bracts subtending branches and rachillae,glabrous except for a dense tuft of short hairs in bract axils; rachillae ratherstiff, moderate, tapering, bearing spirally arranged, low, rounded bractssubtending triads of flowers nearly throughout, a few paired or solitarystaminate flowers distally; flowers borne in vertical, laterally compressedpits, inner surfaces of pits densely hairy; floral bracteoles about equal,shallow, rounded. Staminate flowers slightly asymmetrical, borne on hairypedicels; sepals 3, distinct, scarcely imbricate, narrow, ± acute,membranous; petals 3, asymmetrical and angled, ± strongly nerved;stamens 6, those opposite the sepals usually shorter than those opposite thepetals, filaments awl-shaped, inflexed at the apex in bud, inflexed portionvery slender, anthers elliptic to oblong or nearly quadrate, basifixed,latrorse, the connective very short; pistillode, in bud as long as the stamens,ovoid with expanded capitate tip when fresh. Pollen ellipsoidal asymmetric, imbricate, ± rounded apically, nearly as long as the petals in bud,occasionally lozenge-shaped or pyriform; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine glumaceous; petals 3, broadly imbricate with very briefly valvate tips;tectate, perforate and micro-channelled or finely perforate-rugulate, staminodes 3–6, awl-shaped or narrowly deltoid; gynoecium ellipsoid,aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest asymmetrical, unilocular but vestigial locules evident, uniovulate, stigmasaxis 23–44 µm [2/2]. Pistillate flowers ± symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, 3, recurved, papillose, ovule probably hemianatropous, pendulous. Fruit globose-obovoid, black or purplish at maturity, stigmatic remains near the base in lower 1/4; epicarp smooth but drying dimpled, mesocarp fleshy with sclerosomes, the principal fibres 4, 1 short from base to stigmatic remains, 1 looped over the endocarp and 2 laterally branched and anastomosing toward the apex, endocarp operculate, rather thick, less fragile than in most genera, grooved abaxially from operculum to apex and laterally, attached directly to the operculum. Seed shining brown, conspicuously grooved abaxially and laterally, raphe branches ascending adaxially, arched over the seed and laterally, anastomosing adaxially, hilum rounded; endosperm homogeneous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology: 2n = 32.

Diagnostic Description

Moderate solitary pinnate-leaved palms endemic to the Western Ghats in India and the Nicobar Islands, distinctive in conspicuous crownshafts and highly branched inflorescences with rachillae bearing flowers in laterally compressed pits.


Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b) and fruit (Essig et al. 1999).


Bentinckia condapanna grows at 1000–1400 m at the edge of high peaks in the Travancore hills, where it is threatened by forest clearance and the grazing of young foliage by elephants. Bentinckia nicobarica apparently grows at somewhat lower elevations along with Areca catechu, Pinanga manii and Rhopaloblaste augusta.


Two species, one in Tranvancore, India, and one on the Nicobar Islands.


The inflorescence of Bentinckia condapanna has been used in religious ceremonies.

Common Names

Bentinckia palm.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent India
  • Indo-China Nicobar 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 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 3 Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. Continental Publishing, Deurne.

 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.