Nenga gajah J.Dransf., Principes 19: 27 (1975)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Borneo present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sumatera present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sumatra. (Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga)A


  • This species differs from all other species of Nenga in its interfoliar, erect inflorescence with a long peduncle, and bearing a persistent, coriaceous, woody prophyll, the club-like head of fruits, and the structure of the male flowers with minute sepals. This species possesses many aberrant characters; however, despite the peculiar nature of this taxon, it seems to fit more reasonably in Nenga than in any other closely related genus. The laterally attached ovule, the spirally arranged triads near the proximal end of the rachilla, and the distal terminal portion being entirely of staminate flowers are distinctive features of Nenga (see Dransfield 1975). (Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga)A

Biology And Ecology

  • In hill Dipterocarp forest on hillslopes, valley bottoms, and streamsides; ca. 800 m alt. Endemic. (Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga)A

Common Name

  • Pinang gajah. (Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga)A


  • Solitary, stem stout, stilt-rooted, to 2 m long, 15 cm diam.; internodes short, to 1 cm long, greyish-brown. Crownshaft not well-defined. Leaves 8-10 in crown, leaf sheath ca. 50-60 cm long, pale yellowishgreen, not falling off but rotting on the stem; petiole ca. 50-75 X 2.5 cm, circular in cross-section, with sparse dark brown indumentum; rachis to 8 mm thick. Leaflets ca. 8-27 on each side of the rachis, drying dull greyish-brown; basal leaflet 1 costate, ca. 34 X 1 cm, longacuminate; middle leaflets 3-6 costate, ca. 32 X 4.5-8.0 cm, long-acuminate; terminalleaflet pair 3-5 costate, to ca. 32 X 3-4 cm, acuminate or bifid to slightly toothed at tips, the pair joined to ca. 4 cm at the base along the rachis. Inflorescence interfoliar, erect; prophyll ensiform, ca. 25-35 X 4 cm, coriaceous or woody and fibrous, hard, covered with scurfy brown indumentum especially along the margins, long-persisting through anthesis; peduncle ca. 22-30 X 1 cm, flattened, covered with sparse brown hairs; peduncular bract triangular ca. 6 mm long, thick and stiff; rachillae 3-5, ca. 10-12 cm long, 5-8 mm thick, each rachilla subtended by a short, thick, stiff, triangular bract to 5 X 5 mm; the lower 2-4 rachillae all staminate, the terminal or apical rachilla staminate and pistillate, or rarely all staminate only. Staminate flowers arranged in 5-7 vertical rows, or in tight spirals, angular, oblong; sepals minute, triangular, oblong-ovate or broadly ovate, slightly concave, to 1 mm long, often shorter; petals oblong to slightly obovate, unequal, ca. 4.5-5 X 2-2.5 mm, rounded-truncate or cucullate at apex, rather thick, the inner surface marked with impressions of stamens; filaments to 1 mm long; anthers erect, linear-oblong, ca. 22.5 mm long, deeply sagittate at the base; pistillode indistinct. Pistillate flower with sepals to 7 X 6 mm, coriaceous, persistent; petals as the sepals; ovary spherical, to 3 X 4 mm; stigma obscurely 3-lobed; staminodes 6, minute, triangular, to 0.5 mm long. Infructescence pendulous, a single club-like head of fruits. Fruit ripening dark purplish-brown, fusiform, ca. 5-8 X 1.5-2.5 cm, beaked, tipped by a short blunt stigma; epicarp drying with few longitudinal ridges. Seed narrowly ovoid to fusiform, to ca. 4.5 X 1.8 cm, acute to acuminate at tip, base rounded to obtuse. (Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga)A

Materials Examined

  • SUMATRA: Bengkulu: Kepahiang, Cagar Alam, near Curup, 800 m alt., fl. and fr., Dransfield 1234 (Holotype BO; Isotypes K, L), G. Pagar, 850 m alt., fl. and fr., Dransfield 3625 (K, L). (Dransfield (1975) also cites Bunnemeijer 295,296,417, 1013a (BO) from the N.E. slopes of G. Talakmau, Bukittinggi). (Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga)A


    A. Fernando, E.S. 1983: A Revision of the Genus Nenga
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae