Guihaia J.Dransf., S.K.Lee & F.N.Wei
  • Principes 29: 7 (1985) 

Notes: Distribution: S. China to Vietnam

General Description

Dwarf, clustering, acaulescent, unarmed or armed, pleonanthic, dioecious palms. Stem decumbent or erect, very short, clothed with persistent petiole bases and sheaths. Leaves reduplicate, palmate, marcescent; sheath disintegrating into an interwoven mass of coarse, erect, black, spine-like fibres or into a tongue-shaped lattice of coarse flat fibres; petiole moderate, unarmed, abaxially rounded, adaxially flattened or slightly rounded, the margins quite sharp, bearing caducous woolly hairs; adaxial hastula rounded, glabrous or bearded with woolly hairs; lamina orbicular or cuneate, rather small, divided to 3/4 to 4/5 the radius, or nearly to the insertion along the abaxial ribs, into several (ca. 20), ± linear, single or rarely 2-fold reduplicate segments, minutely bifid at the tips, the outermost segments consisting of 1–2 folds only, margins of the segments minutely toothed or smooth, lamina adaxially dark green, glabrous except for scales along the ribs, abaxially covered with a dense felt of silvery woolly hairs or glabrous except for scattered dot-like scales, transverse veinlets obscure or evident. Inflorescences solitary, axillary, interfoliar, branching to 4 orders, staminate and pistillate superficially similar; prophyll elongate, tubular, 2-keeled, thin, somewhat coriaceous, apically splitting along 2 sides, glabrous or bearing caducous hairs; peduncle elongate, ± flattened, caducously scaly; peduncular bracts absent; rachis longer or shorter than the peduncle; rachis bracts ca. 2–5, similar to the prophyll but not 2-keeled, with tattering limb; first-order branches 4–5, adnate to the rachis to just below the insertion of the following bract; subsequent bracts minute, scarcely evident; rachillae spreading, few to numerous, very slender, ± straight, glabrous, or bearing scattered caducous scales and spirally arranged solitary flowers borne on very low swellings. Staminate flowers extremely small, symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct except at the very base, basally imbricate, ± rounded to ovate, abaxially bearing hairs and fringed with wool-like hairs; petals longer than the sepals, basally connate ca. 1/3 – 1/2 their length, with rounded lobes, glabrous; stamens 6, the filaments not forming a staminal tube, but completely adnate to the corolla, anthers ± rounded, didymous, apparently inserted directly on the corolla, latrorse; pistillode absent. Pollen ellipsoidal, bi-symmetric or slightly asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate, or foveolate-reticulate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 17–24 µm [2/2]. Pistillate flowers similar to the staminate but perhaps more rounded; sepals as in the staminate; petals only slightly longer than to more than twice as long as the sepals, joined in the basal ca. 1/3; staminodes 6, borne directly on the petals; carpels 3, distinct, glabrous, ± abruptly narrowed to a short style, ovule basally attached. Fruit developing from only 1 carpel, rounded to ellipsoidal, blue-black and bearing thin white wax, the stigmatic remains apical, the abortive carpels basal; epicarp glabrous, mesocarp very thin, fleshy, endocarp papery. Seed ± flattened on one side with lateral hilum and a well-defined, rounded intrusion of integument, endosperm homogeneous; embryo lateral. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll entire, plicate, very narrow. Cytology: 2n = 36.

Diagnostic Description

Dwarf clustering ± stemless dioecious fan palms of karst limestone in southern China and northern Vietnam, instantly recognizable by the leaf blades partially split into reduplicate segments.


Roots (Seubert 1997).


Confined to steep karst limestone hill slopes and crevices inwarm temperate to subtropical climates, at low elevations (ca.200 m above sea level), occurring to about 26º N.


Two species, Guihaia argyrataendemic to south China (Guangxi and Guangdong), G.grossifibrosa in northern Vietnam and southwestern Guangxi.


These elegant palms make fine ornamentals, but remain rarein cultivation; as far as is known, they have no local uses.

Common Names

Common names not recorded.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Temperate China China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Asia-Tropical Indo-China Vietnam


  • 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
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