Veitchia pachyclada

Family : Arecaceae

Text © Pietro Puccio


English translation by Mario Beltramini


Veitchia pachyclada, Arecaceae

Endemic to the Salomon Islands, the Veitchia pachyclada reaches 10 m of height in the dense rainforests. Due to its elegant posture is suitable for the decoration of interiors © Giuseppe Mazza

The species is native to the Salomon Islands, in particular to the island of Makira, where it grows in the dense pluvial forests up to about 600 m of altitude.

The genus is dedicated to the family Veitch, owner of a famous London nursery, founded by John Veitch (1752-1839), active from the XVIII to the XX century, that introduced in Europe a great deal of exotic species; the specific Latin name comes from the combination of the Greek adjective “παχύς” (pachys) = big, thick and of the substantive “κλάδος” (clados) = branch, with reference to the ramifications of the inflorescence.

Veitchia pachyclada, Arecaceae

Obovoid, 2,5-2,5 cm long fruits, before green, then yellow and red when ripe, containing only one ovoid seed © Giuseppe Mazza

The Veitchia pachyclada (Burret) C.Lewis & Zona (2011) is an unarmed monoecious species with single stem, up to about 10 m tall with a diameter of 6-10 cm, greyish, on which are visible the rings trace of the attachment of the fallen leaves.

The leaves, on a 25-28 cm long petiole, are pinnate, 1,8-2,4 m long, slightly arcuate, of dark green colour, glossy above, with the foliar base, slightly swollen in the central part, that wraps wholly the stem, for a height of 0,8-1 m, forming a sort of an elegant pale green capital.

The leaflets, in number of 26-30 per side, are almost obovate, truncated obliquely and toothed minutely at the apex, about 52 cm long and 14 cm broad in the median part.

The inflorescences sprout under the leaves (infrafoliar), are ramified, with flowers spirally arranged, on rachillae (secondary ramifications of the inflorescence) of 0,6-0,8 cm of diameter, in the characteristic triad (one female flower between two male ones), but in the apical part where are present only male flowers, this last presenting a high number of stamina, about 300.

The fruits are obovoid, 2,5-2,8 cm long and of about 1,5 cm of diameter, initially green, then yellow and finally red when ripe, containing only one ovoid seed.

It reproduces by seed that germinates in 2-3 months at the temperature of 26-28 °C.

Little diffused species with a very elegant posture, suitable only to tropical and humid subtropical climate, to utilize as isolated specimen or in groups; requires a partially shaded location and draining soils, rich of organic substance, maintained constantly humid, but without stagnations that may cause rottenness.

Young specimens in pot can be utilized for the decoration of interior spaces, greenhouses and winter gardens in luminous position, but avoiding the direct sun.

Synonyms:  Rehderophoenix pachyclada Burret (1936); Drymophloeus pachycladus (Burret) H.E.Moore (1969).


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