Carpoxylon H.Wendl. & Drude
  • Linnaea 39: 177 (1875) 

Notes: Distribution: Vanuatu

General Description

Moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem erect, longitudinally fissured, swollen basally and with a boss of adventitious roots, distally prominently ringed with slightly sunken leaf scars, internodes short. Leaves regularly pinnate, spreading but arched towards the tips, neatly abscising; sheaths forming a crownshaft, sheaths glossy, glabrous to lightly scaly, splitting opposite the petiole; petiole short, tapering distally, ridged adaxially, rounded abaxially; rachis flexible, broadly ridged adaxially at base, narrowly ridged distally, rounded abaxially, extended beyond the apical leaflets in a flexible tip; leaflets regularly arranged, single-fold, erect, linear, tapering to an irregularly rounded, ± bifid tip, stiff, coriaceous, glabrous adaxially, midveins most prominent, marginal veins next largest, 2 other pairs of large veins conspicuous, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar branched to 3 orders basally, to 1 order distally, branches stiffly spreading; peduncle short, stout, elliptical in cross-section; prophyll completely encircling peduncle at the base, tubular, 2-keeled, tapering distally, splitting abaxially, tomentose; peduncular bracts 2, longer than the prophyll, the first inserted just above the prophyll, the second an equal distance above the first, both tubular, complete, tapering to rather short pointed tips, glabrous, caducous; scars of 2–3 incomplete bracts above inner peduncular bract; rachis about twice as a long as the peduncle, rachis bracts low, each in a slit-like cavity, subtending primary branches; primary branches ca. 10, dorsiventrally flattened, with a short bare basal portion and 2 large lateral pulvini at the base, and distally bearing low bracts each in a slit-like cavity and subtending rachillae; rachillae angled, basally devoid of flowers, distally tapering and bearing spirally arranged low bracts subtending triads in the basal 1/3 and distally subtending paired or solitary staminate flowers, within the triads one staminate flower often distal and one lateral to the pistillate flower, rachillae ending in a short bare portion; first bracteole large, rounded, coriaceous, the second smaller and shallower. Staminate flowers very asymmetrical in bud, rounded or pointed apically; sepals 3, distinct, irregular, imbricate basally, keeled, prominently ridged when dry; petals 3, distinct, valvate, tips thickened, ridged when dry; stamens 6, filaments slender, inflexed at tip, anthers ± sagittate basally, slightly bifid apically, dorsifixed just below the middle, versatile, latrorse, connective tanniniferous; pistillode columnar, as long as the stamens. Pollen ellipsoidal asymmetric or oblate triangular, occasionally elongate; aperture a distal sulcus or trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate and micro-channelled or finely perforate-rugulate, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis ranging from 48–58 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flower in young bud rounded; sepals 3, distinct, very broadly imbricate, extremely thick basally; petals 3, very broadly imbricate, thick basally, tips thick, valvate; staminodes joined in a ring with ca. 5 broad tooth-like tips; gynoecium irregularly obovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, stigmas 3, fleshy, ovule erect at stage studied, ?anatropous. Fruit large, obovoid to ellipsoid, somewhat asymmetrical, red at maturity single-seeded, with eccentrically apical, conical stigmatic remains; epicarp smooth, wrinkled basally at maturity, thin, mesocarp thick with close-packed longitudinal fibres, the innermost fibres adherent to the thick, whitish, bony, longitudinally ridged endocarp. Seed ± oblong-ovoid, flattened at the raphe, hilum impressed, ± subbasal, raphe branches numerous, radiating, diverging, many ascending, all anastomosing, endosperm homogeneous with a central hollow; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular, eophyll bifid. Cytology: not studied.

Diagnostic Description

Remarkable large pinnate-leaved palm recently rediscovered on Vanuatu after previously being known only from a fruit in the Natural History Museum in London; distinctive in the two large peduncular bracts and the large fruit with subapical stigmatic remains.


Not studied.


Occurring in rain forest at low elevation on Aneityum, Tanna and Futuna. It can also be found cultivated in villages throughout the islands of Vanuatu.


One species in Vanuatu, rediscovered in 1987.

Common Names

For common names, see Doweand Cabalion (1996).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific Vanuatu


  • 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. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. 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.