contribution to beautify the urban landscapes as horticultural ornamentals. This group in India is represented by 20 genera and about 96 species among which 24 species belonging to nine genera are endemic to India. Most of our forest palms are experiencing severe threat to their existence, mainly due to anthropogenic factors. Measures for their conservation, worthy of mention, are almost nil. The present article is a review of Indian palms with reference to their diversity, distribution, ecology, status and relevance in native economy along with a brief account of some endemic/ endangered taxa. A note on the strategies for their conservation and possible commercial exploitation
has been appended.)
Palms of Southern Asia by Andrew Henderson (2009)- Introduction & keys to the genera (pdf in 18 pages)
Palms of Southern Asia by Andrew Henderson (2009)- Preview of some pages
University Botany- Iii : (Plant Taxonomy, Plant Embryology, Plant …, Volume 3 By S.M. Reddy (2004)- Details
For non botanists genera covered under each family have been listed by … in another thread.
Arecaceae Fortnight 1 Aug to 15 Aug 2014
Arecaceae or Palmae is an ancient and fourth largest family among monocotyledons(Sub-class Spadiciflorae) after Orchidaceae,
Poaceae and Liliaceae. Palms are mostly tropical and can be found in all habitats from rain forests, deserts to mangroves.
Palms, the only trees in monocots, are mostly erect in habit except in Calamus genus which are climbing shrubs.
They have uniform, cylindrical, woody stem for a considerable height which is either solitary or clustering at base. The stems are usually smooth with rings or scars of fallen leaves or have persistent leaf bases. The stem is usually un-branched except in Hyphaene and Nypa genera. In some cases the stem may be underground or absent. The stem grows with the same width right from seedling stage without any secondary thickening. The stem is composed of vascular bundles covered with hard sheaths. There is no bark and the nutrients are passed throughout the stem unlike in dicots.
In some palms the top of the stem has a crown shaft formed by tubular leaf bases.
The crown shaft protects the terminal leaf bud.
Palm leaves (fronds) are crowded at the top of the stem. They have stout, long petioles that may be covered with spines, fiber or net. Palm leaves have entire or divided leaflets in 3 types viz. pinnate, palmate and costa-palmate. The leaf type forms the major diagnostic feature in their identification. Dead leaves often hang down forming a ‘petticoat’ around the trunk. The pinnate leaves have leaflets on both sides of the leaf stalk (rachis) beyond the petiole. Lower leaflets are often modified into spines. In some pinnate leaves the leaflets are attached in multiple planes. In Caryota palms the leaflets are double pinnate. In palmate or fan shaped leaves a circular or partially circular lamina is divided into segments radially around the tip of the petiole. The projection at the tip of petioles is known as hastula which has a shape characteristic of species. The segments of palmate leaves can be uncut, partially cut or fully cut which may be characteristic of species. In some fan shaped leaves the petiole extends into the lamina to form a rib between segments. The lamina of costa-palmate leaves is ovate in shape and the rib arches down; such leaf appears to be a combination of pinnate and palmate leaf.
Palm inflorescences are on axillary spadices. The flowers may be bisexual or unisexual, on the same or separate plants. Palm fruits are edible or non edible and vary to a great extent in size and shape.
2. Economic Uses
Next to Poaceae, Arecaceae is the most important family that provides source of food. Fruits, sago, sugar, toddy and cooking oils are produced from palms. Palm stems and leaves are used in house building.
Wax, fibers, canes are other products of economic importance.
3. Horticultural Uses
Palms are extremely popular in urban landscapes due to following features.
3.1 Palms have a small spread of roots above and below ground. They need small floor space.
3.2 Palm stems are uniform in shape, thickness and height. They occupy small space above ground.
3.3 The crown of palm leaves has a beautiful dome shape.
3.4 Palm leaves are few in number, they are evergreen. They do not produce any leaf litter.
3.5 Grown up palms can be transplanted easily and successfully.
3.6 Palms of many species grown to full height are available from nurseries.
3.7 Some small sized palms make beautiful indoor plants due to their attractive foliage.
4. Species of Arecaceae Trees in India classified using characters of stems and leaves.
(Note- Calamus genus is not included. This is not an exhaustive list or a dichotomous key. Species can be added in respective groups.)
Crown-shaft red, Stem grey Dypsis leptocheilos
Leaves short arched, leaflets blunt Ptychosperma macarthuri
Leaflets folded, lower leaflets reduced to spines
Leaflets Multi planer
Leaflets not as above
Petioles spinous Butia capitata
Inflorescence large, white Brahea armata
Leaves fully divided, stem cane like Rhapis excelsa
Leaves fully divided Licuala spinosa
Thanks, …, for the wonderful write up.
Thanks … I hope we are able to generate an updated list of all native and exotic species of Arecaceae found in India.
Species & genera pages of Arecaceae are now with images : 1 post by 1 author.
I request our members to pl. take up one family each & try to make efloraofindia more constructive. We will be rendering what ever assistance is required by the members, in this matter.