Drymophloeus Zipp.
  • Alg. Konst- Lett.-Bode 1: 297 (1829) 

Notes: Distribution: Maluku to SW. Pacific

General Description

Small to moderate, solitary or rarely weakly clustering, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, slender, ringed with rather widely spaced leaf scars, sometimes short stilt roots present basally. Leaves pinnate, arching slightly, few in crown; sheath rather thick, forming a slender crownshaft, glabrous adaxially, abaxially densely covered with whitish tomentum and small red-brown scales, becoming minutely brown-dotted; petiole absent or short, slender, adaxially deeply channelled, abaxially rounded, covered with deciduous tomentum and pale or dark scales; rachis long, slender, adaxially often sharply pointed or ridged and rounded, abaxially rounded, densely covered with brown tattered scales or tomentum; leaflets subopposite to alternate, in one plane, single-fold, broadly or narrowly wedge-shaped, or broadly lanceolate to narrowly obovate, distal pair sometimes broader and united or small and narrow, leaflets distally variously lobed or oblique, raggedly praemorse, adaxially glabrous except for a few scales near bases of major veins, abaxially densely covered with small scales on minor veins, major veins with ramenta toward the base, or lacking scales except on midrib, midvein and a pair of large veins along or close to the margins prominent, margins densely covered with caducous tomentum and scales, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, branched to 1 or basally to 2–3 orders, protandrous; peduncle relatively slender, elongate (except Drymophloeus subdistichus), elliptical in cross-section; prophyll deciduous, tubular, slender, dorsiventally flattened, with 2, narrow, lateral keels, pointed, splitting apically and for a short distance abaxially to release the peduncular bract, densely covered with multibranched or pale-margined brown scales; peduncular bract tubular, slender, much longer than the prophyll, with a long rather flat, pointed tip, densely covered with scales like the prophyll, a few small incomplete peduncular bracts sometimes also present; rachis shorter than the peduncle, angled, tapering, bearing rather few, distant, spirally arranged branches; rachis bracts low, rounded; rachillae short, tapering, bearing spirally arranged triads of flowers basally, and pairs of a pistillate and one staminate, or a single staminate flower distally; floral bracteoles low, rounded or truncate. Staminate flowers borne laterally toward the lower side of the pistillate flower in rounded indentations in the rachillae; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, irregularly but strongly keeled, margins thin, variously notched; petals 3, distinct, ovate, valvate, evenly thickened, adaxially grooved, reflexed at anthesis; stamens numerous, 24 to more than 320, filaments moderate, awl-shaped, anthers elongate, sagittate basally, uneven, sometimes divided apically, medifixed, versatile, latrorse; pistillode with 3 short, rounded, 3-angled lobes or ovoid attenuate to 2/3 as long as the stamens, usually shortly trifid apically. Pollen ellipsoidal or oblate triangular, asymmetric to pyriform; aperture a distal sulcus or trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate or perforate-reticulate, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis ranging from 50–63 µm [2/7]. Pistillate flowers broadly ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, hooded, edges minutely toothed or variously notched; petals 3, twice as long as the sepals in late bud, distinct, ovate, imbricate, lateral margins shortly fringed, tips thick, valvate; staminodes 3, shortly joined basally, wide, truncate and bifid or uneven distally; gynoecium symmetrical, ovoid, tapering distally, unilocular, uniovulate, stigmas 3, recurved, ovule attached laterally or pendulous from the top of the locule, form unknown. Fruit fusiform to ovoid, red at maturity, stigmatic remains apical; epicarp thin, smooth, becoming pebbled when dry, mesocarp fleshy, fibrous, with stinging crystals, fibres adherent to the thin, rather smooth endocarp, endocarp usually circular in cross-section, 5-lobed in D. hentyi and D. subdistichus). Seed ovoid, surface smooth, hilum apical, raphe much branched, branches somewhat sunken, endosperm homogeneous or ruminate; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid, or entire, ovate, margins toothed. Cytology: 2n = 32.

Diagnostic Description

Small to moderate, solitary pinnate-leaved palms, native to Moluccas, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands and Samoa, with crownshaft and praemorse leaflets, elongate peduncles and seed rounded in cross section; the endosperm can be ruminate or homogeneous.


Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b) and fruit (Essig 1977).


Understory palms in rain forest in areas of high rainfall, variously occurring from sea level to 1200 m.


Eight species extending from the Moluccas and New Guinea, through the Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Islands to Samoa.


The black wood of the trunk is used for making spears, arrowheads, and other items. Some species are grown as ornamentals in moist tropical areas.

Common Names

Common names not recorded.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Tropical Malesia Maluku
  • Papuasia New Guinea
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific Samoa


  • 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 http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
  • 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; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm 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.