Laccosperma acutiflorum

Family: Arecaceae    Palm Tree

Common Name: None known

Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b     View the UK and US zone maps

Laccosperma acutiflorum Information

Clustered robust to massive palm climbing to 70 m, more commonly to 30-50 m. Stems without sheaths 3.5-4.5 cm, with 4.5-5 cm; internodes up to 40 cm long, more commonly 18-25 cm. Leaf sheath light green-yellowish, conspicuously striate, moderately to sparsely armed with angular, black-tipped, spreading or upward pointing, spines, mature sheaths becoming somewhat bare, with only vestigial remains of spines, covered with sparse black-brown indumentum; ocrea 12-20 cm long (although up to 40 cm long on juvenile sheaths only), broadly sheathing and tapering to form a rounded lobe, dry, sometimes splitting longitudinally, light grey-brown without, deep crimson brown within, armed as the sheath although spines often concentrated in central region of ocrea. Leaves up to 3.5 m long; petiole 6-10 cm long by 2-3 cm. wide, much longer on juvenile sheaths (up to 45 cm) light green to dull yellow, with sparse light brown indumentum beneath, abaxially rounded, adaxially flattened or slightly concave, armed along the margins with inequidistant black-tipped, bulbous-based spines 0.8-1 cm long, angular, spreading in many directions; rachis yellow-green, up to 1.8-2.5m long, shaped as the petiole proximally, becoming trapezoid to triangular in cross section distally, armed as the petiole, although spines becoming more sparse distally, underside of rachis with sparse light brown indumentum; cirrus often bright yellow, 1.2-1.8 m long, scarsely armed, ± triangular in cross section; leaflets up to 50 on each side, held horizontally or arching from the rachis, rarely strictly pendulous with a single-fold, equidistant and sub-opposite proximally, alternate distally, linear lanceolate, bluntly acuminate to apiculate at the apex (often breaking off), 30-40 cm long, more commonly 18-30 cm, 3.0-4.5 cm broad at the widest point, rarely up to 6 cm wide, discolourous with dark green upper lamina, light green lower surface, leaflet margin armed with sub-equidistant robust, short, forward-facing black-tipped spines, up to 2mm long, 1-2 or rarely 3-5 costulate, armed as the margin although spines on primary veins rather longer; acanthophylls bright yellow, 4-4.5 cm. long, 0.5 cm. broad, bulbous at base. Inflorescences, numbering 6-12 produced simultaneously in the distal 1.5-2.5 m portion of stem; peduncle 15-20 cm long; prophyll up to 20 cm; rachis branches up to 50 cm long, perpendicular to the main axis, rachis bracts 3-3.5 cm long, decreasing distally, tapering to form an elongate triangular lobe adaxially, closely adpressed to the bract above, upper half dry, grey, longitudinally splitting, at first, lower half fleshy, bright yellow-green, then, as fruits develop, becoming dry throughout; rachillae 20-30 cm long, pendulous, densely covered with yellow-green imbricate bracts 4-5 mm long, with a wide opening and 1 mm long apiculum. Flowers at anthesis 1-1.2 cm by 3 mm; calyx 5-6 mm long, excluding 1.5-2.0 mm stalk, indistinctly striate, cream, tubular in the basal 2-3 mm with 3 broadly triangular to acuminate lobes 3.0-3.5 mm by 2.0-2.5 mm; corolla tubular in the basal 1.5-2 mm, with 3 valvate lobes, white or pale cream, rarely mottled brown-tan, ca. 9 mm by 2 mm with broadly acuminate tip; stamen filaments dark brown, 4-5 mm by 1 mm, united into a 1-1.5 mm long basal tube; anthers 3 mm by 1 mm, ovary ca. 1 mm in diameter, stigma up to 6 mm. Fruit at maturity ovoid, 1– (sometimes 2) seeded, 1.8-2 cm by 1.3-1.5 mm wide, with 17-20 vertical rows of scales. Seed smooth, ovoid, with lightly scalloped depression on one side 1.0-1.2 cm long by 0.8-1.2 mm wide by 0.5-0.8 mm deep.

General Information:
Laccosperma acutiflorum is a light demanding species commonly found in gap vegetation and in open areas. This species often occurs in seasonally inundated and swamp forest, although it is also found in drier, exposed sites. It responds well to selective logging and will colonise recently disturbed soil particularly on skid trails and roadsides.


Native to, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Laccosperma acutiflorum is distributed from Sierra Leone to Cameroon, southwards to Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Location: Central Africa (0.512505°N, 24.202881°E)

Map may not represent the complete natural distribution. (Markers display observation data).
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