Cyphophoenix alba

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Figure 2. C. albain habitat, New Caledonia.



Psuedocyphosperma alba

Common Names:



New Caledonia, confined to the north-east sector of La Grande-Terre on the Mt. Panie massif and nearby areas, in moist forest on gneissic and schistose soils generally at 200-600m but with an isolated occurence at near sea-level in an area where other higher altitude species are also to be found.


A medium palm to 7 m with a grey/brown trunk to 12 cm in diameter with long internodes and the upper trunk whitish with a waxy covering. Leaves, about 10, are spreading. The crownshaft, about 1.2m long, shallowly split opposite the petiole, is whitish grey with dense dark red fioccose scales, scattered at the base, becoming very dense toward and into the petiole, covered with a whitish wax. The petiole, to 60cm long and the arching rachis to 2.8m long are brown lepidote below. The leaflets, about 45 per side, are held horizontal, acuminate, rigid with a prominent mid rib, green above with lepidote scales below on the mid rib and lateral ribs and brown ramenta to 8mm on the mid rib below. Leaflets measure from 5mm to 6.2cm wide and from 24cm to 1.2m long. Figure 1.


A monotypic genus endemic to New Caledonia, most closely related to

Burretiokentia from which it differs by having the fruit surface minutely papillate, the pistillode longer than the stamens and having a waxy cover on the lower crownshaft, upper trunk and inflorescence bracts.


Apparently the seeds germinate easily, althought the plant is very slow growing, taking about 25 years to reach maturity.

Figure 3. C. alba

Contributed by:

John L. Dowe, from Palms of the South-West Pacific (Text)
Rosebud Farm, Kuranda, Nth Queensland (Figure 1)
John Lyle (Figure 2)
Rolf Kyburz (Figure 3)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk