Syn.: Astrocaryum borsigianum K. Koch, Astrocaryum pictum Balf. f., Stevensonia borsigiana (K. Koch) L. H. Bailey, Stevensonia grandifolia Duncan ex Balf. f.
Family: Arecaceae Bercht. et J. Presl
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
Distribution: Monotypic genus, endemic to the Seychelles archipelago. It is known from most of granitic islands of inner group (Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette, La Digue, Frégate, Curieuse, Félicité and St Anne). This genus is the nearly related to other endemic palms in Seychelles (Nephrosperma van-houtteanum, Roscheria melanochaetes and Verschaffeltia splendida). Recently, it is the most commonest native palm in Seychelles.
Ecology: Under-storey tree in palm or mixed forests, prefers mesic soil conditions in stable, very hot and wet climate, usually from sea level up to 500 m a. s. l. In higher altitudes (where it is rather rare), prefers cooler conditions with frequent fogs. It readily colonises eroded waste grounds with secondary shrubby vegetation.
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
Description: Monoecious palm up to 20 m; trunk is simple, slender, spiny when young, with a crown of leaves at the top of trunk. Leaves form a distinctive open crown at the top of trunk, they are up to 2.5 m long, felted by prominent pinnate veins and have V-shaped notch at the apex, margin is rather entire on young plants but tends to irregular acute slits (up to 1/8–1/3 width) when mature; petiole and sheats are blackish spiny on young plants. Inflorescence is axillary, branched panicle; flowers are unisexual, 3-merous, with 6 perianth segments; male flowers have usually 18 stamens and undistinct pistillodium, the female flowers have 6 staminodes, 1 celled ovary and 3 stigmas. Fruits are ovoid, rather small orange-red drupes 0.8–1 cm in diameter.
Possible confusion: Leaves are similar to another Seychellan endemic palm Verschaffeltia splendida, but they are usually more splitted. Phoenicophorium borsigianum lacks stilt roots.
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
Phoenicophorium borsigianumPhoenicophorium borsigianum
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
Phoenicophorium borsigianum
These images were taken in Seychelles, Mahé and Praslin islands (by Vít Grulich and Alena Vydrová, 3.–14. 2. 2011).