Normanbya F.Muell. ex Becc., Ann. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg 2: 91 (1885)

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Number of Taxa

  • 1 species

Discussion

  • Normanbya can be immediately recognised by the irregularly arranged, longitudinally divided leaflets with 7–9 segments. Wodyetia has a similar leaf but with regularly arranged leaflets divided into more (11–17) segments. In Normanbya, the leaflets also bear white woolly scales abaxially, the outer endocarp has a few thin fibres rather than many large fibres and the endosperm is ruminate rather than homogeneous. Structurally, the leaves become plumose by the longitudinal splitting of a single leaflet. Such division of leaflets is unusual in palms, occurring elsewhere only in certain genera of the Iriarteeae. (J. Dransfield, N. Uhl, C. Asmussen, W.J. Baker, M. Harley and C. Lewis. 2008)

Biology And Ecology

Etymology

Diagnosis

  • Spectacular, moderate solitary pinnate-leaved palm, native to northeastern Queensland, Australia, with crownshaft and praemorse leaflets, the leaflets longitudinally divided into many segments that are splayed out, giving the whole leaf a foxtail appearance; the fruit is relatively large and has thin pale fibres next to the endocarp; the seed has ruminate endosperm. (J. Dransfield, N. Uhl, C. Asmussen, W.J. Baker, M. Harley and C. Lewis. 2008)

Description

  • Moderate to tall, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem erect, moderate, ringed with distinct leaf scars, vertically striate, grey, bulbous basally. Leaves pinnate, plumose, loosely arching; sheath forming a prominent crownshaft, pale, ashy grey, brownish near the top; petiole short or nearly lacking, channelled adaxially, rounded abaxially, densely covered with whitish tomentum and scattered brown, tattered scales; rachis long, arching, ± rounded adaxially and abaxially, densely covered in tattered brown scales; leaflets single-fold, irregularly arranged, divided nearly to the base into 7–9 linear segments, with or without midribs and with 1–3 large veins, apices of segments praemorse, only outermost 2 of each group with thickened margins, blade appearing dark green adaxially, bluish-white abaxially, adaxial surface glabrous, abaxial densely covered with uniseriate, medifixed scales, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, divaricate, somewhat pendulous in fruit, branched to 2 (or more) orders; peduncle short; prophyll tubular, rather narrow, 2-keeled laterally; peduncular bract like the prophyll, both deciduous; rachis bracts low, ridge-like, subtending spirally arranged, stout, angled branches and terete rachillae; rachilla bracts low, ridge-like, subtending triads basally, paired and solitary staminate flowers distally; floral bracteoles low, rounded. Staminate flowers symmetrical, bullet-shaped in bud, borne lateral to the pistillate on short, laterally flattened stalks; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, rounded, upper margins ± truncate, minutely toothed; petals 3, distinct, valvate, ovate, evenly thickened; stamens 24–40, filaments short, awl-shaped, anthers elongate, shortly bifid apically, dorsifixed almost at the base, ± introrse, connective elongate, tanniniferous; pistillode flask-shaped with long narrow neck, slightly longer than the stamens, apically expanded. Pollen ellipsoidal asymmetric, occasionally pyriform; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 64–83 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate, rounded pink to purplish-brown at maturity, stigmatic remains apical forming a with short pointed tips, margins slightly fringed; petals 3, like the sepals short beak; epicarp somewhat fleshy, drying wrinkled, mesocarp rather but longer and with short valvate tips; staminodes 3, broadly tooth-like; thin, with longitudinal, branched, straw-coloured fibres adherent to the gynoecium narrowly ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, narrowing shortly smooth endocarp. Seed laterally attached with a long unbranched raphe, above the ovarian region to 3, large reflexed stigmas, ovule pendulous, hilum lateral, endosperm ruminate; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-form unknown. Fruit ovoid to obpyriform, pointed distally, dull salmon-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied. (J. Dransfield, N. Uhl, C. Asmussen, W.J. Baker, M. Harley and C. Lewis. 2008)

Anatomy

Relationships

Uses

Bibliography

  • Dransfield, J. , Uhl, N. , Asmussen, C. , Baker, W.J. , Harley, M. & Lewis, C. 2008. Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.