Veitchia H.Wendl.
  • B.Seemann, Fl. Vit.: 270 (1868) 

Notes: , nom. cons. Distribution: Solomon Is. to SW. Pacific

General Description

Moderate to tall, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem moderate, sometimes wide at the base, ringed with close leaf scars, becoming longitudinally striate, covered in grey scales or smooth, grey to brown. Leaves pinnate, spreading or partially erect; sheaths forming a prominent crownshaft, covered with deciduous grey to brown tomentum; petiole short, adaxially channelled, abaxially rounded, densely covered with decidous tomentum at least basally, often bearing dark brown to black, tattered scales in various, sometimes diagnostic patterns at the apex; rachis elongate, flat to ridged adaxially, rounded abaxially, tomentose; leaflets regularly or irregularly arranged, single-fold, tapered from middle to base and usually to the apex, apically oblique, truncate, acute, or acuminate and variously toothed, the upper margin usually longest, midrib and marginal veins prominent, midrib bearing ramenta abaxially, otherwise abaxial surface covered in pale scales with brown centres, shining red scales, or glabrous, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, branched to 3 or 4 orders basally, fewer orders distally, branches variously tomentose; peduncle short, stout, dorsiventrally compressed; prophyll and peduncular bract caducous, prophyll tubular, rather thin, 2-keeled laterally; peduncular bract like the prophyll but lacking keels, briefly beaked, scar of an incomplete peduncular bract usually present; rachis longer than the peduncle, tapering, stiff, bearing very short bracts subtending branches and rachillae; rachillae medium to long, slightly to markedly flexuous, bearing spirally, or distally subdistichous triads nearly throughout, or triads only near the base of the rachillae and distally flower clusters of paired or solitary staminate flowers; floral bracteoles very small or conspicuous, short, rounded, margins notched. Staminate flowers bullet-shaped; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, rounded, ± hooded; petals 3, slightly asymmetrical to symmetrical, valvate, more than twice as long as the sepals; stamens numerous, to over 100, filaments awl-shaped, long, slender, united at the base, not inflexed apically, anthers linear, basifixed or dorsifixed and then bases deeply sagittate, acute, emarginate, or bifid apically, latrorse; pistillode attenuate from a bulbous base, as long as the stamens, usually bifid or trifid apically. Pollen ellipsoidal asymmetric, often elongate; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate, or perforate-finely rugulate, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 40–73 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral, rarely tetragonal or rhomboidal [6/8]. Pistillate flowers ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, thick, imbricate, margins notched; petals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate, only slightly longer than the sepals, apices shortly valvate, margins notched; staminodes 3–6, tooth-like, usually variously connate; gynoecium irregularly ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, style thick, stigmas 3, sessile, recurved at anthesis, ovule large, laterally attached, form unknown. Fruit ovoid, beaked, small to moderately large, red or orange-red at maturity, perianth whorls enlarged, persistent, stigmatic remains apical; epicarp thin, sometimes appearing lined or pebbled when dry, mesocarp yellowish, thin-fleshy, with 3–5 layers of slender to large fibres and ground tissue sclerified near the endocarp, endocarp thin, chartaceous, cartilaginous or nearly glass-like, fragile, in some species fracturing transversely. Seed ovoid to ellipsoidal, truncate basally, rounded to pointed apically, attached laterally, hilum elongate, raphe branches descending from the apex and sides, simple, forked, or branched and much anastomosed, endosperm homogenous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology: 2n = 32.

Diagnostic Description

Elegant, moderate to tall, solitary pinnate-leaved palms, native to Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, all with crownshafts and almost always praemorse leaflets, the fruit with smooth thin endocarp and rounded seed with homogeneous endosperm.


Leaf (Tomlinson 196l), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b) and fruit (Essig 1977).


Found from near sea level to cloud forests at 1000 m in dense or light forest.


Eight species in Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga.


Several species are elegant ornamentals. The leaves have been used for thatch and the trunks as wood for rafters, spears, and canoes. The heart is edible as a salad and the inflorescence and seed are also said to be edible in Veitchia vitiensis.

Common Names

Niuniu, niusawa (Fiji).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Tropical Papuasia Solomon Is.
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific Fiji
  • Vanuatu
Introduced into
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific Tonga


  • 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.