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

Primary tabs

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Distribution

Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tdwg/geogrphy.html)
Queenslandpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
One species in the rain forest of northern Queensland, Australia. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

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 & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

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 & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Normanbya grows in moist complex and simple mesophyll vine forest with an annual rainfall of 3000 mm, close to rivers and streams, often in swampy areas and usually in gravelly alluvial soils, in areas where dry periods are not more than 40 days. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Common Name

  • Black palm. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Etymology

  • Named in honour of Sir George Augustus Constantine Phipps, Second Marquis of Normanby (1819–1890). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Uses

  • The hard, dark wood was used by aborigines for making spears. It is a handsome ornamental requiring a warm moist, somewhat protected location. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

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 & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Anatomy

  • Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b) and fruit (Essig 1977). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Fossil record

  • No generic records found. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Relationships

  • The relationships of Normanbya to the other genera of Ptychospermatinae are unclear, but Lewis et al. (in prep.) resolve the genus in a clade with Drymophloeus, Carpentaria and Wodyetia. Norup et al. (2006) resolve Normanbya as sister to D. litigiosus with low support (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Taxonomic accounts

  • Bailey (1935b). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Bibliography

A. J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
B. World Checklist of Arecaceae