Metroxylon amicarum

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Metroxylon amicarum
Metroxylon amicarum - Keanae Arboretum, Maui, Hawaii by Forest and Kim Starr.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Metroxylon
Species: M. amicarum
Binomial name
Metroxylon amicarum
(Wendl.) Becc.

Metroxylon amicarum (amicarium Latin - 'of friends' also known as the Caroline ivory-nut palm) is a species of flowering plant in the Arecaceae family, endemic to the Caroline Islands. It was named for the Friendly Islands, now Tonga, from where it was first thought to have descended. It is the only species in the Metroxylon genus which is not hapaxanthic.

Description[edit]

Usually growing to 20, but occasionally over 25 m, these massive palms have solitary trunks with widely spaced leaf-scar rings and old leaf bases attached to the top. Leaves are pinnately arranged, 5 m long, on one meter petioles. The lanceolate leaflets are dark green to 1 m and occur on the rachis at varying angles, creating a plumose leaf. Unlike its monocarpic relatives, this species has a narrow inflorescence which develops within the leaf-bases; the stem is erect until the fruit matures and then sags to a pendent cluster. The single-seeded fruit are 9 cm long, extremely hard, and are covered in brown, glossy scales. Of all species in the genus it is probably the most hardy to cold. It is found only in Micronesia. It is threatened by habitat loss.

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