Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres
Kew Bull. 38: 200 (1983).
Hyphaene carinensis Chiov. (1929), Wissmannia carinensis (Chiov.) Burret (1943).
Bankoualι palm (En). Palmier de Bankoualι (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Livistona carinensis is distributed in Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.
In Djibouti the leaves are used for thatching. In Somalia the leaves of young plants are used for the production of mats and baskets, and the stems for house building and drainage pipes. Livistona carinensis is sometimes the only source of straight timber locally available, and much sought after. The leaves are grazed by goats and cattle. A potential use of the species is as an avenue tree in dry locations.
The wood is resistant to rot and termites.
Large palm up to 40 m tall with solitary, unbranched, straight trunk with a diameter up to 40 cm, leaf scars prominent, petiole stubs persistent in the lower 12 m; crown globose to conical. Leaves up to 40 in the crown; leaf base with prominent, fine, persistent fibres, and with rigid, brown to black appendages 67 cm long on either side of the petiole; petiole up to 125 cm long, triangular in cross-section, armed with sharp, curved spines 725 mm long; blade almost circular in outline, 8095 cm long, costapalmately divided for 7585% of its length into 5070 segments; segments with rigid apices, bifurcately cleft for 4050% of the segment length, both surfaces waxy, glabrous; midvein prominent, 1820 parallel veins at each side of the midvein. Inflorescence axillary, branched to 3 orders, arching, eventually pendulous, up to 240 cm long, extending beyond the crown by c. 20 cm, tomentose, pedunculate; branches very thin, yellowish, with scattered long hairs. Flowers in clusters of 5, bisexual, c. 2 mm long, yellow-green, perianth segments with scattered long hairs outside; sepals 3, triangular; petals 3, free, triangular, longer than sepals; stamens 6, inserted on the petals, filaments united into a fleshy ring, anthers medifixed; ovary of 3 carpels, united above to form a single style. Fruit globose, 520(50) mm in diameter, dark brown to black, glabrous, with terminal stigmatic remains. Seed globose.
Livistona comprises about 28 species, with only Livistona carinensis present in tropical Africa, and the rest of the genus distributed from north-eastern India through Indo-China and South-East Asia to Australia.
In Djibouti growth rates of adult Livistona carinensis measured over a 13-year period were 1733 cm per year, and a palm 16.9 m tall was estimated to be 93 years old. Natural regeneration is by seed and suckers.
Livistona carinensis occurs in or near streams and springs in areas with an average rainfall less than 450 mm, in Djibouti at 6001000 m altitude, in Somalia at 2001100 m altitude, and in Yemen at 200450 m altitude.
Seeds germinate within 23 months after sowing.
Genetic resources and breeding
Livistona carinensis is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list, because of its limited occurrence. Recently it has been proposed to upgrade its status to endangered. In Djibouti about 300 adult trees were counted in 2006 and the species faces a lot of pressure from habitat loss, grazing, flash floods and overharvesting of the leaves for thatching. In Somalia only 38 trees in 2 localities were known in 1998; regeneration is prevented by grazing and exploitation of the leaves of young plants for weaving. In Yemen there are about 2000 trees in 3 villages; major threats are grazing by goats and local over-harvesting of the wood as timber. A conservation plan for the species has been developed in Djibouti, but in Somalia and Yemen there are no active conservation programmes. Populations have been established in several botanic gardens and private collections, in the hope of saving the species in cultivation. The genetic diversity within the species is low, particularly among the Djibouti populations.
In view of the vulnerability of the species, in-situ conservation of existing stands should have a high priority. Necessary measures include the protection of seedlings from grazing, harvesting and flooding, and the supplementation of existing populations with seedlings propagated by man. The creation of new populations may be essential for the survival of the species.
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SEPASAL, 2010. Livistona carinensis. [Internet] Survey of Economic Plants for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SEPASAL) database. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. http://www.kew.org/ ceb/sepasal/. Accessed October 2010.
Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2011. Livistona carinensis (Chiov.) J.Dransf. & N.W.Uhl. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.