Cyphokentia Brongn.
  • Compt. Rend. Hebd. Séances Acad. Sci. 77: 397 (1873) 

Notes: Distribution: New Caledonia

General Description

Moderate, solitary (or exceptionally with 2–3 stems), unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, faintly to prominently ringed, enlarged at the base, yellow or whitish, brown-spotted. Leaves regularly pinnate, gracefully spreading; sheaths tubular, forming a prominent, white-waxy crownshaft; petiole short, concave adaxially, rounded abaxially, glabrous or brown scaly; rachis concave adaxially near base, becoming angled distally, rounded abaxially, often somewhat curved, glabrous or scaly as the petiole; leaflets regularly arranged, acute, slightly arched from rachis, single-fold, stiff, waxy on both surfaces but particularly so abaxially, midrib and a lateral vein on each side elevated and prominent adaxially, secondary veins numerous, large ribs clothed basally with ramenta, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, branched to 2–3 orders basally and fewer distally, branches pendulous, protandrous; peduncle very short, stout, ± recurved; prophyll wide, tubular, broadly 2-keeled laterally, completely encircling the peduncle and enclosing the peduncular bract; first peduncular bract similar, briefly beaked, both it and the prophyll caducous, a second peduncular bract usually present; rachis longer than the peduncle, bearing very low and rounded or acute to scarcely evident bracts subtending branches and rachillae; rachillae long, slender, variously compressed in bud, tapering, pendulous, distant, bearing low, rounded, lip-like bracts subtending flowers in triads nearly throughout the rachillae, and paired or solitary staminate flowers distally; bracteoles surrounding pistillate flowers sepal-like, imbricate, about as high as bracts of the triad. Staminate buds ± symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, slightly imbricate basally, small, rounded, gibbous at base and keeled dorsally; petals 3, distinct, valvate, broadly ovate in outline or subacute, not markedly fibrous, grooved on inner surface; stamens 6–12, filaments incurved, awl-shaped, briefly inflexed at the apex in bud, about as long as the anthers, anthers oblong in outline, dorsifixed, briefly bifid at base and apex, latrorse; pistillode as long as the anthers in bud, somewhat 3-angled and expanded into a 3-angled, flat apex. Pollen ellipsoidal asymmetric, occasionally lozenge-shaped; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate and micro-channelled or finely perforate-rugulate, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 37–56 µm [2/2]. Pistillate flowers not seen at anthesis; sepals 3, distinct, rounded, imbricate basally in fruit; petals 3, distinct, imbricate except briefly for the valvate tips, distinctly tanniniferous, nerved in fruit; staminodes 3–5, rarely 6, tooth-like; gynoecium ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, ovule pendulous, probably hemianatropous. Fruit depressed globose to ellipsoidal, dull orange to red at maturity, with stigmatic remains at or below the middle; epicarp smooth or minutely roughened, drying somewhat wrinkled but not regularly pebbled, thin, not tanniniferous, overlying a shell of very short sclereids external to a fleshy layer of mesocarp, mesocarp with longitudinal flat fibres, and a tanniniferous layer adjacent to the endocarp, endocarp vitreous, rather thick, with a round or spathulate, basal operculum and lateral beak. Seed subglobose to nearly ellipsoidal, hilum near the base, round, raphe branches ascending from the base, endosperm homogeneous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not known.

Diagnostic Description

Moderate solitary pinnate-leaved palms with striking white-waxy crownshafts, endemic to New Caledonia; the staminate flowers have elongate anthers.


Leaf (Uhl and Martens 1980), root (Seubert 1998a,1998b) and fruit (Essig et al. 1999).


Cyphokentia macrostachya is a somewhat variable species that occurs over a wide range on soil derived from both serpentines and schists, while C. cerifera is restricted to schistose soils.


Two species in New Caledonia.


Not recorded.

Common Names

Not recorded.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific New Caledonia


  • 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
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Global Biodiversity Information Facility
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eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • D 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
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