Basselinia velutina Information
Solitary, monoecious, unarmed, pleonanthic tree palm. Stem 6-12 m tall, ca. 15 cm dbh, enlarged to 22 cm diam. at base, brown to grey, with slightly to moderately prominent leaf scars. Leaves 10-12, arcuately spreading, regularly pinnate. Leafs heath caducous, forming a loose, largely open, to prominent and tight, cylindrical crownshaft, covered abaxially with a dense and short indument of red-brown to grey floccose scales, 0.6-1 m long; petiole concave adaxially, more or less winged by sheath extensions, 4-35 cm long; rachis slightly to strongly recurved, 2.15-3 m long; pinnae 33-45 on each side, regularly arranged, stiff, directed forward and upward, light green; medifixed or longifixed ramenta abundant on nerves abaxially, especially on midrib, all along the pinna; basal pinnae ca. 50 0,4-1 cm, median pinnae 1,1-1,35 m long 2.8-6 cm wide, apical pinnae ca. 45 1-2,5 cm. Inflorescences 1-4 simultaneously, infrafoliar, to 1.1 m long; pendulous, covered with a short, velutinous indument of grey scales; peduncle 7-15 cm long, flattened; prophyll completely or incompletely encircling peduncle at insertion, 65-74 cm long; peduncular bract to 8415 cm, thick, woody, prominently rostrate, covered outside with a ± persistent indument of grayish or reddish-brown scales; rachis 21-34 cm long, with 10-16 first-order branches; rachillae 30-66 cm long and 5-7 mm diam. Staminate flowers 7-8 mm long; 6-7 mm diam. at anthesis, pale brown; sepals 4 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, ovate-oblong, slightly acute towards the apex, strongly keeled, distinct, imbricate; petals 3.8-4 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, elliptic, glabrous and extremely thick, connate up to mid-height, valvate at the apex; stamens 6, 6-7 mm long, filaments 6 mm long, 0.9-1 mm diam., connate at the base for 3 mm, cylindrical, with an extremely thin apex; anthers 2 mm long, 1 mm wide, dorsifixed, bifid at the base and apex, latrorse; pistillode 4 mm long, 2 mm diam. at mid-height, with no stigmatic branches differentiated; ovoid to ovoid-oblong. Pistillate flowers 5-6 mm long, 4 mm diam. in late bud, borne throughout the rachillae or almost completely absent and then the whole inflorescence staminate; sepals 3.5-4 mm long, 3.5-4 mm wide, oblong, only shortly connate at the base, imbricate; petals 4 mm long, 3.8-4 mm wide, distinct, imbricate except for the briefly valvate apices; staminodes 1-3 at one side of the gynoecium, shortly connate at the base, 1.5-1.7 long, 0.8-1 mm wide at the base, acute at the apex; tooth-like; gynoecium syncarpous, 5 mm long, 3.8-4 mm diam., ovoid-oblong, 3-locular; stigmas 3, prominent, recurved, densely covered with long papillae on the ventral side. Fruit ellipsoid to subglobose, black at maturity, 11-13 9-10 mm, with stigmatic remains between middle and 1/3 from base.
Widespread but patchily distributed in the mountains of New Caledonia at middle elevation (400-1000 m), where it is found exclusively in primary rain forest. In north-eastern and central New Caledonia, this species is restricted to schistose rocks, while in the south of the island, it occurs on ultrabasic rocks. This species tends to be gregarious where it grows, and reaches or exceeds the forest canopy.
Work in progress
Distribution Information currently being revised!