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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Kass, Lee B [1], Buckner, Sandra D. [2], Wasilewski, Joseph A.  [3].

A Curious Dichotomously-Branching Solitary Palm Found in The Bahamas.

We report here the first record in The Bahamas of a dichotomously-branching (equal branching) solitary palm in the Subfamily CORYPHOIDEAE [Family ARECACEAE (syn. PALMAE)]. Our branching palm, Silver Thatch Palm [Coccothrinax argentata (Jacquin) L.H. Bailey] was first observed in June 1996 by Sandra D.Buckner (SDB) while on a research trip to the Exumas. Subsequent trips in 1998 (SDB) and 2005 by Joe Wasilewski demonstrated that the palm had branched a second time. A recent trip in March 2011 (SDB) revealed that the palm was still growing well. The cause of the branching is not known but hurricane damage may have triggered the abnormal growth habit. No other branching palms have been observed on the island. Nine solitary palm species occur naturally throughout The Bahama Archipelago but not all palm species are found on all Bahamian islands. Solitary palms generally have a single trunk with large persistent leaves,which often shed after withering by breaking at the base of the leaf stalk (petiole/rachis). The growing tip (apex) of solitary palms gives rise to the leaves, forming a crown. If the apex is damaged by wind, insects or human harvest, the palm usually dies. Aerial branching in solitary palms is unusual and only found naturally in a few palm species. No technique has yet been devised to induce abnormal aerial branching in solitary palms for economic purposes; and a disadvantage is that they must be propagated by seed. Though rare, aerial branching in solitary palms has been known to occur abnormally, often in areas of frequent hurricanes. Of the nine solitary palm species found in The Bahamas, branching has been reported in an Indian Coconut palm [Cocos nucifera L.] and a Caribbean Sabal palm [Sabal palmetto (Walter) Lodd. ex Schult. & Schult. f.]

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1 - Cornell University, Plant Biology, 412 Mann Library, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
2 - Independent Scholar, P.O. Box N.8893, Nassau, The Bahamas
3 - Jadora, LLC, , Natural Selections of South FL, Inc, FL, USA

Coccothrinax argentata
The Bahamas.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT017
Abstract ID:1081

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