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Yunder Wækraus

Papua New Guinea Palm ID help

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Yunder Wækraus

I’m on a work trip, and one of my hosts took me on a tour of his village’s rainforest. (Madang Province, just a few miles from coast.) I’m here to study his threatened language, and this rainforest tour was part of a larger discussion about his method of making bows and arrows. He’s the last bowyer in the area, and the bow, bowstring, arrows, and arrowheads are made entirely of two kinds of palm wood and two kinds of bamboo. The specific palm for the bow is not common in his area, and he could only show me one, a specimen he planted 25 years ago, one that he reckons is 6 years away from being ready to be harvested. I know it’s not a betel nut palm, but have no clue otherwise. I also got pix of the smaller palm species used for the arrowheads. Any help with ID would be appreciated. (The fallen fruit belongs to the tall palm.)

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Yunder Wækraus

Here are some pix of the final product 

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A03EE63D-0CEE-4072-B6FE-97DD0A868D9D.jpeg

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Neil C

Smaller palm I imagine would be a Licuala.

Regards Neil

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Pal Meir
7 hours ago, Neil C said:

Smaller palm I imagine would be a Licuala.

Regards Neil

Licuala parviflora?

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doranakandawatta

Licuala distans ??

 

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Yunder Wækraus

Thanks for the suggestions (all of which I believe are directed toward the small palm). How can I get a correct ID for both? I’ll need it for my linguistic description of material culture. 

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Daryl

Ptychococcus sp?

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realarch

Boy Daryl, sure does look like a Ptychococcus. Very similar looking to one I have in the garden. 

Tim

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Pal Meir
3 hours ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

Thanks for the suggestions (all of which I believe are directed toward the small palm). How can I get a correct ID for both? I’ll need it for my linguistic description of material culture. 

L parviflora: »Endemic to foot hills of rain forest zones, in northern Papua New Guinea. Growing to 2 m tall, and solitary. A small palm, with very finely divided leaves. Looks rather like a larger leaved Rhapis palm.« http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Licuala_parviflora

L distans: Thailand. Found along ridgetops in wet Thailand rainforest. Solitary palm to about 8 meters tall, with a trunk diameter of about 10 centimeters, and a large, spreading crown of numerous deeply split leaves; Leaf diameter is about 1.2 meters, each composed of an orbicular blade about 1.2 meters across, held nearly flat at the tip of a long spiny petiole. http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Licuala_distans

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Yunder Wækraus
1 hour ago, Pal Meir said:

L parviflora: »Endemic to foot hills of rain forest zones, in northern Papua New Guinea. Growing to 2 m tall, and solitary. A small palm, with very finely divided leaves. Looks rather like a larger leaved Rhapis palm.« http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Licuala_parviflora

L distans: Thailand. Found along ridgetops in wet Thailand rainforest. Solitary palm to about 8 meters tall, with a trunk diameter of about 10 centimeters, and a large, spreading crown of numerous deeply split leaves; Leaf diameter is about 1.2 meters, each composed of an orbicular blade about 1.2 meters across, held nearly flat at the tip of a long spiny petiole. http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Licuala_distans

Unless L. distans is also native to Papua New Guinea, I doubt it can be the taller tree. This bowyer was born in the 1950s and learned his craft from in uncle who must have born sometime between 1920 and 1940. Madang was not colonized till the latter half of the 1800s, and even then there was never more than a few small plantations and church structures. This palm is the only one the bowyer will use for the bow wood, and I can’t imagine his uncle would have taught him to use an imported tree. The ID for the smaller palm seems spot on. By the way, I saw at least 6 species of palm growing in the village, but these two are the only ones used in archery.

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Zeeth

What's the elevation of the taller palm? It looks like Ptychococcus lepidotus is the high elevation species in the genus and Ptychococcus paradoxus is the low elevation species in the genus. Both look like they could be your palm, so elevation will probably be key in the ID.

I found this reference on the Ptychococcus lepidotus: In the New Guinea highlands, the trunks of P. lepidotus are used in construction or cut into 2 m strips and carved into bows; smaller pieces are fashioned into arrows and arrow heads.

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Daryl

Looks very much like P.paradoxus...the P.lepidotus here have bright red fruit, but the palm in question has orange fruit...also, the leaflet arrangement is tighter along the rachis on P.paradoxus, which looks like the palm in the photos....so that would be my guess

 

Daryl

 

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Yunder Wækraus
On 8/25/2018, 9:40:01, Zeeth said:

What's the elevation of the taller palm? It looks like Ptychococcus lepidotus is the high elevation species in the genus and Ptychococcus paradoxus is the low elevation species in the genus. Both look like they could be your palm, so elevation will probably be key in the ID.

I found this reference on the Ptychococcus lepidotus: In the New Guinea highlands, the trunks of P. lepidotus are used in construction or cut into 2 m strips and carved into bows; smaller pieces are fashioned into arrows and arrow heads.

The place is only a few miles from the flat areas near the Madang coast. Its in low hills. I’d estimate the elevation at 150-500’, so nowhere near highland status

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Yunder Wækraus
On 8/26/2018, 12:20:57, Daryl said:

Looks very much like P.paradoxus...the P.lepidotus here have bright red fruit, but the palm in question has orange fruit...also, the leaflet arrangement is tighter along the rachis on P.paradoxus, which looks like the palm in the photos....so that would be my guess

 

Daryl

 

Thanks. The speaker insisted that it could only be distinguished from s similar palm by its slightly smaller mature size and fruit

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