Family : Arecaceae
Text © Pietro Puccio
English translation by Mario Beltramini
The plant is native to Andaman Islands, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands and Sumatra, where it grows in the pluvial forests from the sea level up to more than 1.000 m of altitude.
The name of the genus is the Latinization of the Malaysian name “pinang”; the name of the species is the Latin word “coronatus” = crowned, of obscure reference.
Common names: ivory cane palm (English); bing-bin, piji, pinang rante (Java).
The Pinanga coronata (Blume ex Mart.) Blume (1839) is a caespitose, monoecious plant, rather variable, with erect stems, 2-5 m tall, with a diameter of 3-5 cm, smooth, of green colour on which stand out the rings trace of the junction of the fallen leaves.
The leaves are pinnate, usually ascending, 1,5 m long on an about 30 cm long petiole, of intense green colour and subdivided into pleated segments, about 25-70 cm long and of variable width, with sharp or truncated and toothed tip; the leaves, when opening, are often pink with light dots. The basal sheath of the leaf, of yellowish green colour, wraps wholly the stem for a length of about 30-50 cm.
The inflorescences come out under the leaves, are about 30 cm long, ramified and hanging, of pink colour tending to the coral red when in fruit; the flowers, disposed in the classical triad (one female between two male flowers), and are small and cream-white.
The ovoid fruits, placed on two opposite rows, are about 12 mm long, of red colour turning to black when ripe. It reproduces by seed and by division; the seeds germinate in 1-3 months at the temperature of 24-28 °C.
Plant of remarkable ornamental value, it stands among the most cultivated Pinanga, utilizable in the tropical, subtropical and, marginally, warm temperate climate zones, in semi-shaded position and in fertile soils, slightly acidic or neutral, perfectly draining and kept constantly humid; it is rather sensitive to the low temperatures as it rarely bears, and for a very short time only, temperatures just under the 0 °C.
It is cultivable also in pot for the decoration of luminous interiors, utilizing substrata rich of organic substance, with addition of coarse and agriperlite, around the 30%, for improving the drainage; temperatures are good not to be lower than 14-16 °C.
Synonyms: Areca coronata Blume ex Mart. (1838); Seaforthia montana Blume ex Mart. (1838); Seaforthia reinwardtiana Mart. (1838); Pinanga costata Blume (1839); Pinanga kuhlii Blume (1839); Pinanga noxa Blume (1839); Seaforthia coronata (Blume ex Mart.) Mart. (1845); Seaforthia kuhlii (Blume) Mart. (1845); Ptychosperma coronatum (Blume ex Mart.) Miq. (1855); Ptychosperma costatum (Blume) Miq. (1855); Ptychosperma kuhlii (Blume) Miq. (1855); Ptychosperma noxa (Blume) Miq. (1855); Ptychosperma album Scheff. (1864); Areca costata (Blume) Kurz (1874); Pinanga sumatrana (Scheff.) H.Wendl. (1875).
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