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Arecaceae Berchtold & J. Presl. Palm Family.

Contributed by Scott Zona and Alan S. Weakley

Key to Arecaceae

A family of about 181 genera and 2600 species, trees and shrubs, of tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres.

Key advice:Palms have some specialized terminonology that is used in the key and in their identification. Some palms are often referred to as "fan palms" -- they have palmate or costapalmate leaves, about as wide as long, and either lacking a costa (and then having palmate leaves), or with a short costa extending into the leaf (and then having costapalmate leaves. Other palms are referred to as "feather palms" and have pinnately (or bipinnately, in Caryota) compound leaves with leaf segments attached along a rachis, the leaf blade outline longer than wide. In palmate and costapalmate palms, the hastula is a flange or collar that marks the terminus of the petiole; when extended into the blade as a triangle of tissue (as seen on the upper [adaxial] surface it forms the costa, and marks the leaf as costapalmate rather than palmate. Some tree palms have a crownshaft, a structure near the top of the tree made up of the sheathing bases of the living leaves, extended vertically at the top of the trunk but below the apparent crown, usually smoother and more brightly colored, such as green or reddish, than the trunk. See for useful ID information.

Ref: Baker & Dransfield (2016); Dransfield & Uhl In Kubitzki (1998b); Dransfield et al. (2008); Zona (2000) In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2000). Show full citations.

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Hover over a shape, letter, icon, or arrow on the map for definition or see the legend. Data for arrows not developed for genera and families which may have species only occurring outside the flora area.

image of plant© Keith Bradley | Sabal palmetto | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Acoelorraphe | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan M. Cressler | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Roystonea regia | Original Image ⭷


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