Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Raphia farinifera
(J. Gaertner) Hylander, Arecaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Evaluate, score: 5 (Go to the risk assessment).

Other Latin names:  Raphia pedunculata P. Beauv.; Raphia ruffia (Jacq.) Mart.; Sagus farinifera Gaertn.; Sagus ruffia Jacq.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: la jiu zong

English: East African wine palm, Madagascar raffia palm, raffia, raphia

French: palmier à raphia, palmier de Mayotte, raphia, raphia commun

Spanish: rafia

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Solitary palm, though clustering in mainland Africa. Trunk to 10 m, covered in persistent leaf sheaths. Leaves c. 12 in the crown, porrect, slightly spreading, giving the crown a "shuttle-cock" appearance, very long, to 20 m; leaf base sheathing, with ragged ligular edge; petiole rounded in section; sheath and petiole c. 1.5 m long; rachis several meters long, reddish, distally keeled, proximally to 13 cm wide and decreasing to 1 cm, with scattered scales; leaflets up to 150 on each side of the rachis, inserted in 2 planes and thereby giving the whole leaf a feathery appearance, stiff, attenuate, the median 87-103 x 3.6-3.7 cm, the distal 16-36 x 0.4-1.7 cm, main veins 1, margins with small (1-3 mm long) yellow spines from base to apex of leaflet, midrib adaxially with similar spines to 4 mm, waxy, with many minute reddish scales/glands scattered over the abaxial surface, and sparse ramenta on the midrib. Inflorescence pendulous from the axils of reduced leaves at the stem apex, massive, to 3 m long and 35 cm wide, branched to 2 orders; peduncle distally c. 5.5 x 4.5 cm in diameter, glabrous; primary prophyll c. 25 x 28 cm; peduncular bract c. 18 cm long and 8 cm in diameter, tubular for c. 11 cm; rachis glabrous; second order prophylls c. 9 cm long; first order branches with 13-32 rachillae packed very densely in almost one plane; rachillae 6-13 cm long, c. 8 x 5 mm in diameter, with dense flowers. Staminate flowers with a tubular bract, 7-7.5 x 5-6 mm, broadly ovate, acute; prophyll c. 6 mm long and 3 mm in diameter; calyx tubular, 4.5-5 mm high, the lobes < 0.2 mm high, slightly ciliolate; corolla with a tube 2-3 x 1.2-1.5 mm, the lobes 6-6.6 x 2.1-2.5 mm, narrowly ovate and acute, not thickened; stamens 6, inserted at the mouth of the tube, filaments slightly connate, 2-2.8 x 0.5-0.8 mm, anthers 3.2-3.6 x 1.2-1.3 mm, basifixed, locules slightly divergent and sagittate at the base; pistillode not seen. Pistillate flowers with a tubular bract c. 10 x 9 mm, narrow at the base, widening in the tubular part and then narrowing to an acute apex; prophyll 7.5-8 mm, 2-keeled; bracteole 2.5-3.2 mm; calyx tubular and slightly urceolate, split, 5-6.5 mm high with a truncate apex; corolla tubular for 1-1.3 mm, the lobes narrowly triangular and acute, 2.7-3 x 1.5-1.8 mm; staminodes not seen; ovary c. 5.5 x 2.7 mm, covered in fimbriate scales. Fruit ovoid, 5-6 x 4-4.5 cm with a conical base and a rounded apex with a beak to 5 mm, covered in c. 12 rows of reflexed scales, these with a median vertical groove, the largest scales c. 16 x 16 mm, chestnut-brown in colour. Seed ovoid, c. 3.5 x 3.2 cm; endosperm densely ruminate, the ruminations almost reaching the centre of the seed"  (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995, cited in Palmweb).

Habitat/ecology:  "Moist situations (swamps, stream banks) near human habitations; 50-1000 m" (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995, cited in Palmweb).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Tropical Africa; cultivated and naturalized elsewhere (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1979) (pp. 405-406)
Seen in cultivation on Tovu Island in 1939; present status unknown.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (1930) (voucher ID: BISH 17899)
Taxon name on voucher: Raphia farinifera (J.Gaertn.) Hylander
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (year unknown) (voucher ID: PTBG 47647)
Taxon name on voucher: Raphia farinifera
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 112)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
cultivated
Randall, R. P. (2007) (p. 404)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 74)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
Palmweb (2013)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized


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This page was created on 14 DEC 2012 and was last updated on 11 FEB 2013.