Geonoma gastoniana

Geonoma gastoniana
Glaz. ex Drude


In Martius, Fl. bras. 3(2) 496 (1882)

Understorey palm. Stem solitary, erect, to 4 m tall and 1-2 cm in diameter. Leaf blade 40-65 cm long, irregularly divided into 3-4 pinnae on each side. Inflorescence branched 1-3 times, with peduncle 15-30 cm long; flower bearing branches 15-25 cm long, 1-2 mm in diameter, with pronounced elevations around the flower pits, the pits arranged in a loose spiral. Female flowers with staminodes united into a tube.

The Atlantic rain forest zone in SE Brazil. In addition, a single population of plants corresponding to this species is known from SE Ecuador.

This belongs to a group of five, closely related species, including G. gamiova Barb. Rodr., otherwise found exclusively in SE Brazil. Skov (1989) referred a population of plants from SE Ecuador to G. gastoniana, and indeed these plants are morphologically very similar to plants of this species from SE Brazil, including the type of the species. The resulting biogeographical pattern of the group seems, however, highly unlikely. The Ecuadorian plants could instead represent a mountain form of G. leptospadix, which has the same vegetatively appearance and flower pit type, and the morphological similarity to G. gastoniana could be the result of convergence.