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bruno

Borassus or Corypha in madagascar?

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Ortanique

Dave,

Your observations are absolutely true. I am not an ecologist - but the points you have laid across are logical and convincing. Thanks.

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bruno

I have been away in Isalo mountains again for the garden.

My friend xavier has been back to the site and has brought back a few more pics for you and me of course...

He said the palms have no thorns, I suppose that means no predators although the seeds are a real delicacy to the local parrot! He is scarred they will be eaten before they are ripe. Here are some fallen off the inflorescence.

DimakaGrainesimmatures.jpg

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bruno

Here is the environment during the rainy season which has started two weeks ago. The rock of the tsingy is just behind.

Lemaraistrstourbeuxestimmdiatementl.jpg

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bruno

Inside the tsingy and the palm next to the cliff. Xavier said there were around 45 of them in 7 different locations, but apparently, according to the malagasy in the nearby villages, no other population than these.

Lepalmierapresquelespiedsdansleau.jpg

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bruno

Different sizes of palms around. There were no trunks of old trees around!... Maybe they rot fast when the die after making their fruits?

DimakaDiffrentestaillesdepopulation.jpg

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bruno

Here the inflorescence turning to seeds. Coming out of the top of the dying palm. Confirmed by Xavier.

DimakaHampefloralevuedesahauteur.jpg

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Zac in NC

Wow, the mystery continues. Thanks for the most recent shots.

Zac

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bruno

Anne Tahina near a gigantic leaf, 3 meters in diameter. The trunk of the largest one is 12 meters high and 2,3 m around.

DimakaAnne-Tahinactdunefeuille.jpg

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Carlo Morici

Wonderful pictures, wonderful story and material, Bruno.

It is very coryphesque indeed. I wish I could get my hands on the material to give a look. But, just to act as the Devil's lawyer:

The flowering specimen looks very short in overall size. Its last leaves look contorted.

What about it being an aberrant individual? A stunted specimen of a different Borassoid genus commiting "sexual suicide" after some kind of trauma?

Was not there any sign of flowering on the other trunking specimens? Just one was blooming? No spines at all?

Carlo

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Zac in NC

See, this is what I love about this forum. We are always getting new information and it feels as though we are always on the cutting edge of new palm information. Thanks again, Bruno.

Zac

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Carlo Morici

Yes Zac, sometimes I am almost frightened - we are going almost too fast. There is such a large amount of raw info we can throw on the forum that we can never find time to sit down and write a true paper for Palms or whatever?!?!

Let's go ahead, anyway.

Carlo

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bgl

Fascinating thread, and thanks for posting the info and photos, Bruno! I only have some small Corypha lecomtei but they seem to have very small, insignificant, spines. Just a quick thought...

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deezpalms

A borrowed picture from the pacsoa website of a Corypha lecomtei terminal inflorescense. Very similar isin't it?

post-145-1166213177_thumb.jpg

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bruno

For the devi'ls lawyer one more pic of the flower. I don't konow if there were more flowering spikes but it seems there was only one from what he says. definitely no spines... I'm happy that you're all happy because i'm happy also of that search.... good english errr!

DimakaLahampefloraledanssonenvironn.jpg

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bruno

I have to add that Xavier's comment on the flower was: "it seems to be coming out of the top of the palm like it had killed it, it was very strange".

The leaves are dead around the flower.

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bruno

I think the suspense will last till Joro, mr dransfield's student has gone there. He wishes to go soon. So let's wait.

One more pic of the flower then I go sleep. bye.

DimakaHampefloraledtailavecgraines.jpg

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Matt in SD

Thanks Bruno!

That photo in post 45 is amazing (with the people standing under the immature palms).

Matt

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Alberto

(Gileno Machado @ Dec. 14 2006,23:14)

QUOTE
Let's think about the Canary Islands and the Palmetum. Are the native Phoenix under a serious threat there and the exotics should all be eliminated?

Gileno, i remember reading somewhere that the native stand of Phoenix canariensis was at risk due to crosses with date palms!

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Alberto

FANTASTIC thread!!!  MERCI Bruno!!!!

And only a few specimens of a new (?)species....Incredible!

Madagascar is fantastic!

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BS Man about Palms

Awesome Bruno!  Thanks for this thread and all its info.

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John Dransfield

Bruno

The new pictures really are just so exciting! I've not had the time to log onto Palm Talk for a few days, so when I opened it up this morning and saw your new pictures, I got the feeling that I should be permanently logged on at my computer to monitor all the new developments in this amazing story.

I have a couple more comments.

This part of Madagascar is certainly remote and I am not aware of any palm collections from this area. Had a general botanist (as opposed to a palm botanist) seen these palms out of flower, they would have been assumed to be Bismarckia and no further interest taken.

The photographs indicate very strongly Corypha. The only character that is not congruent is the apparent lack of spines on the petioles - but this is scarcely the sort of character we would use to distinguish genera. The fruit borne on its stalk is very Corypha like in fundamentals, if the shape is a little unusual. So far I have seen nothing to suggest that this is not a species of Corypha - and if these hunches are correct, then we are dealing with an undescribed species.

Joro is very keen to get there to make full collections!

All the best

John

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John Dransfield

and to add comments to what I said earlier about introductions. It had been my impression, reading one of the earlier messages in this thread, that exotoc palms had been planted in pristine habitats in Masoala, and it was that had worried me, not the introduction of exotic species into horticulture in Madagascar, with which I have no problems

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chris.oz

(bruno @ Dec. 05 2006,11:39)

QUOTE
So you think there are native coryphas in Madagascar?

palmiergantenfleur4.jpg

The Corypha umbraculiferas in the Singapore Botanic gardens recently flowered and died

Heres a link to several sequences of photos for comparison.

http://flowersinsingapore.com/talipot02.htm

When I visited I took this a photo  from below.   Most fruit had already fallen.

post-416-1166272633_thumb.jpg

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Carlo Morici

> Gileno Machado: Let's think about the Canary Islands and the Palmetum. Are the native Phoenix under a serious threat there and the exotics should all be eliminated?

>Alberto: i remember reading somewhere that the native stand of Phoenix canariensis was at risk due to crosses with date palms!

Yes, hybridisation with other Phoenix spp. is a problem in natural populations, about 30% of the wild stands are "in trouble".

The Palmetum is located within the city of Santa Cruz, bordering the sea. It is the least likely place from which an exotic weed could escape. The first site proposed to build such as a palmetum was in a "Jurassic Park" green fertile valley with wild Phoenix but it was (thankfully) rejected for environmental reasons. Then, the genus Phoenix was banned from the collection, for educational reasons: we don't even want to show them to the public.

Carlo

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Kris

(bruno @ Dec. 15 2006,15:23)

QUOTE
DimakaHampefloraledtailavecgraines.jpg

Dear Bruno  :)

that is a terrefic ariel shot how did you manage that

ariel shot_iam very curious to know that trick !

thanks,

Kris.

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bruno

For those of you who have a very sensitive hand, try and give a "caresse" (pet?) to the leaf base to see if any spine or thorn digs into your fingers...

DimakaBasedeptiole.jpg

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Carlo Morici

Wow! Spineless.

I have worked a bit on the loss/lack of armours in island palms, which is of course linked to the relative lack of large predators on true islands. Now Bruno, you should check seedlings to see if there are still some spines "left" on very young plants. There are some cases of island palms which are armed only when young (Pritchardiopsis in New Caledonia and some species from Seychelles).

Madagascar is an almost spineless palm island, only second in percentage of unarmed species to oceanic islands in the Pacific and to New Caledonia (which is a Continental Fragment). Dypsis is the largest spineless palm genus.

Most palm genera are either armed or unarmed. Just a few (e.g. Coccothrinax) do have armed AND unarmed species.

Carlo

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Bilbo

Madagascar sure sounds an interesting place both for flora and fauna.

Theres no poisonous snakes I believe.

I cant remember the figures but its actually been seperated from the mainland very much longer very many millions of years more than one would supposethan one would suppose hence the intersting plants and animals.

Regardez

Juan

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Jeff Searle

Dear Bruno,

    Thank-you very much for giving us new pictures. This is turning into a real mystery.

 And to John, with this new sighting of a possible new species for the island, it figures this would happen right before the new Field Guide to Madagascar Palms book hits the book stores. With this, and more undesribed new species, possibly coming from up in the northern and north-west areas of Marojejy, how could you even think about retiring in the near future? :D This is such an exciting time in our era. Before the story ends, I imagine there will be a need for a third POM book! :D

 Jeff

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chris.oz

Maybe it is prophetic that in his description of D. turkii,  JD says,

Palm novelties continue to be discovered in Madagascar...some...are local endemics which have come to light when botanists have explored areas  previously not thoroughly surveyed....
 So,  John,  what percentage of the area  of Madagascar has not been thoroughly surveyed ?

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John Dransfield

In fact the Madagascar Field Guide has just appeared (last week) and is available from Kew (search on www.kew.org). The IPS Bookstore will also carry it in due course. Of course it is already out of date, not only because of the Corypha but also the new Beccariophoenix (that receives a mention as Beccariophoenix sp.) and the many new palms that my student has been finding in his targeted field work.

What we did was to database all known scientific collections of palms in Madagascar accessible to us (preserved in the herbaria at Kew, Paris, Missouri, Antananarivo (Tsimbazaza and the FOFIFA Herbarium), Geneva and Florence. The data base has several thousand collections. All these records have been georeferenced (precise coordinates entered). For new collections this is easy as these days we take a GPS meter with us, but for the historic collections, the georeferencing can be hard work.

With the full database we can then map the collections on a blank map of Madagascar which then very nicely pinpoints the areas where no palms have been collected. Superimpose on this, the latest vegetation details and we can then prioritise the areas for further fieldwork. This is exactly what my student has done and he has visited areas where no scientific palm collections have been made in the past. The finds have been extraordinary with new records of things known only from single collections and new species. Writing up all these new species takes time, but gradually we are building up a series of papers describing new palms. We epxect these to be published in PALMS, so, if you are a member of the IPS you'll see these novelties in due course. (a good reason to subscribe - why not take out a subscription for 2007!).

We know, of course, that we shall miss things - we would never have targetted the tsingy where the new Corypha grows as it seems so improbable from a climatic and vegetation point of view that there would be any palms growing there!

John

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Matt in SD

Thanks for the insights John,

The trait of the terminal inflorescence seems so odd and different from most palms, but I wonder how much genetic differences are really required to effect this trait.  In animals there are some gene clusters that can be rather easily manipulated to give major morphological changes (i.e. # of limbs, position of limbs, type of limb at each position etc...).  I always wonder how well the classical systematics will hold up when the genetics is more investigated.  There may be traits that look like major differences that actually do not involve a lot of genetic changes, and other traits that seem relatively minor that might require way more genetic change than you'd expect.

I'm very interested in the new book and have been looking at the Kew and kewbooks sites but still can't find it.  Can you maybe post a more direct link or give a little more detail on how to find it?

Thanks,

Matt

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bruno

My  firend Xavier has been back to the tsingy in order to check the presence of thornson those coryphas: none .

Neither on the large ones nor on the small ones.

Plenty of seeds left still. The parrots have not taken them all yet.

Yes Mr Dransfield, please give us more info on how to get the new field guide.

Now we have to wait for Joro, the "student". bruno

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John Dransfield

I have just checked the website (www.kewbooks.com) and it appears that title has not yet been added - Kew certainly already has a stock of it that arrived from the printer last week. The companion field guide to New Guinea palms is already advertised so I suspect that Madagascar will be added shortly.

Bruno, I think you should be able to get a copy of the English version from the Kew House in Ambodivoanjo and certainly the Malagasy version should be obtainable from there. The plan is that the Malagasy version will be distributed free to National Parks/Protected areas, Secondary schools and the Universities etc, and be sold at Tsimbazaza. I suspect that it will take time before all this can be put into effect. I am at home in Wales at present and will not be in Kew again until mid January and so do not have access to more than a single copy of the book so cannot help directly just yet.

John

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John Dransfield

Matt has brought up some interesting points about the terminal inflorescence in Corypha and that despite looking so peculiar it may not need too great a genetic shift for it to happen.

So-called terminal inflorescence in palms is actually a slight misnomer. The huge terminal inflorescence of Corypha is actually made up of a large number of lateral inflorescences that are produced simultaneously at the stem tip, exhausting the main growing point and thus resulting in the death of the palm. The character, known as hapaxanthy in palms, occurs scattered through Calamoideae and Coryphoideae but not the other three subfamilies. Usually the character is consistent within the genus and then helps to define it (but there are many characters apart from hapaxanthy that define Corypha). In a few genera there are both hapaxanthic and pleonanthic (the usual method of flowering) species. Metroxylon, the sago palms, all have huge terminal compound inflorescences as in Corypha except for one species M. amicarum, where the inflorescences are produced among the leaves in a regular fashion as in the coconut. And in the rattan genus Daemonorops, almost all species are pleonanthic except for a few species such as D. calicarpa which is hapaxanthic, the stems dying after flowering. In Arenga also there are both hapaxanthic and pleonanthic species. In fact we can see that in terms of morphology there is really no real difference between hapaxanthic palms and pleonanthic palms. The difference is one of timing of inflorescence presentation, and, in that closely related species may be pleonanthic or hapaxanthic (as in Metrocylon) it seems it may not need too much of a genetic shift for the flowering method to change. Having said that, we have never seen a pleonanthic Corypha, so the genetic trait may become firmly fixed.

Incidentally, sometimes in large batches of seedlings of various palm species, seedlings with  three or four leaves may suddenly produce an inflorescnce which is in fact terminal and the seedling dies. I've seen this in a big batch of Cyrtostachys renda seedlings.

If you want to read more about patterns of flowering, see the introduction in Genera Palmarum (ed 1) if you can get your hands on it.

John

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Carlo Morici

Bruno,

Thank you for giving a deeper look to the spines. Now I have no more questions - it is time to allow botanists to work on the palm and wait.

I wish to congratulate you and all the people who are working on this palm, so fast and efficiently.

John,

Maybe you can shed some light on some other terms used for plants that bloom just once.

Corypha, according to different authors and books, is hapaxantic/monocarpic/semelparous.

What about the terms Iteroparous and Semelparous? What about the term "monocarpic" vs. "polycarpic"?

Carlo

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John Dransfield

Oh dear, now I have let myself in for more explanation.

Hapaxanthic means flowering in which the production of inflorescences results in the death of the stem.

Pleonanthic means flowering in which inflorescences are produced one by one throughout the extended adult life of the stem.

Hapaxanthy - flowering usually takes place over a very short period - say one or two years.

Pleonanthy - flowering goes on for many years.

Note that these terms refer to the behaviour of stems not individuals.

If the palm is single stemmed - e.g. Corypha, then hapaxanthy results in the death of the individual and the individual is then monocarpic ( a term I prefer not to use in palms)

If the palm is multistemmed, hapaxanthy does not result in the death of the individual, merely the stem in flower. The palm is then not monocarpic but polycarpic. Good example is Metroxylon where individual stems die after flowering (hapaxanthy) but there are plenty of suckers to continue growth and the individual could end up being immortal (hence definitely not monocarpic).

Iteropary and semelpary are terms used in zoology that have occasionally been applied in palm botany but in a way that seems to misunderstand the differences between monocarpy/polycarpy and hapaxanthy/pleonanthy. The concepts of hapaxanthy and pleonanthy have been well understood and the terms applied unambigously of late and I see no reason to change them.

For further discussion of flowering in palms see Genera Palmarum

Hope this helps and not confuses!

John

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Jeff Searle

John.....Whew! :D

Jeff

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Carlo Morici

Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap (Applause)

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Al in Kona

Thanks John, your detailed explanations are really appreciated.

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