Phoenix rupicola T.Anderson, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 11: 13 (1869)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
East Himalaya present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Southern (Samchi, Sankosh, Gaylephug and Deothang) and Central (Tongsa) Distrs. of Bhutan, and Darjeeling Distr. (Sivoka, Birick, Nimbong, Teesta and Mahanadi valleys) of West Bengal in India. (Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae))A

Biology And Ecology

  • Relatively inaccessible patches of warm, wet forest or more open areas on steep rocky hillsides, ravines and cliffs from 300 to 1220 m. Flowering in May and June; fruits ripe October - December. SELECTED
    SPECIMENS EXAMINED. BHUTAN. Lower Mangde Valley, Tama, 27˚10' N, 90˚39'E, 26 June 1979 (stam.), Grierson & Long 1354 (E!); Samchi Distr., Khagra valley, near Gokti (26˚49'N, 89˚12'E), 2 March 1982 (ster.), Grierson & Long 3414 (K!). INDIA. ASSAM. Shillong, Kimin to Khunipahad, 25 Sept. 1959 (pist.), Panigrahi 19485 (CAL!). SIKKIM. 24June 1876 (ster.), King s.n. (BM!, CAL!); 19Jan. 1877 (ster.), Davis & Gamble 2387a (CAL!); 21 Jan. 1877 (ster.), Davis & Gamble 2387b (K!). WEST BENGAL. Sivoka, Teesta valley, 23 Feb. 1867 (pist.), Herb. Sikkimensis Anderson s.n. (type CAL!, K!). (Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae))A


  • The conservation status of P. rupicola in its wild habitat is unclear. It has a limited range, making it vulnerable to habitat loss. The ability of P. rupicola to thrive in inaccessible habitats such as steep, rocky slopes, ridges and cliffs may help ensure its survival in the wild. (Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae))A

Common Name

  • Takil (Nepalese); schap, sap, fam (Lepchas), [Gamble (1902)]. (Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae))A


  • Fruits of P. rupicola are sweet but mealy, and are eaten by mammals and birds. Gamble (1902) noted that the stem pith is eaten uncooked by local Lepcha people. (Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae))A


  • Only one herbarium sheet in the Calcutta herbarium is definitely referable to T. Anderson. This sheet comprises sterile material only. Two fertile collections of P. rupicola held in the Calcutta herbarium, are possibly also those of T. Anderson. P. rupicola var. foliis argenteo varieg. Hort. ex Rodigas, Ill. Hort.: 10, t. III (1887); Becc., Malesia 3: 397 (1890). Lectotype: t. III in Rodigas, Ill. Hort. 10 (1887). Solitary tree palm. Stem 3 - 5 m high, without leaf sheaths up to 17 - 25 cm in diam., smooth with ill-defined internode scars. Leaves c. 1.5 - 2.5 m long; leaf sheath reddish-brown, fibrous; acanthophylls sparsely arranged in one plane of orientation, up to 10 - 15 on each side of rachis, often green and soft, to c. 7 cm long; leaflets closely and regularly inserted opposite in one plane of orientation, concolorous, dark glossy green, c. 24 - 60 x 1 - 3 cm; lamina abaxial surface with persistent, discontinuous white ramenta in midrib region. Staminate inflorescence erect; prophyll not seen; rachillae to c. 22 cm long. Staminate flowers not seen. Pistillate inflorescence erect, arching and becoming pendulous on maturity; prophyll not seen; peduncle 50 - 100 x 2.5 - 3.5 cm; rachillae arranged in horizontal fascicles, c. 120 in number, to c. 55 cm long. Pistillate flowers in upper half of rachilla length; calyx a 3-pointed cupule to 1.5 - 2.5 mm high; petals 3.5 x 4 - 6 mm. Fruit obovoid, 15 - 9 mm. Seed obovoid with squared apices, 12 - 15 x 5 - 7 mm; embryo lateral opposite raphe; endosperm homogeneous. (Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae))A


    A. Barrow, S.C. 1998: A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae)
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae