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Scientific classification


Heterospathe is a monoecious genus of flowering plant in the palm family found in Oceania, where it is called sagisi palm. Among members of the Iguanurinae it is described as relatively unspecialized.[3] With 39 species, Heterospathe is named from a Greek combination of "various" and "spathe", which describes the two distinct bract types.


They exhibit considerable variation in morphology and habit; the slender trunks may be solitary or sparsely to densely clustering, some are miniatures and perpetual undergrowth subjects while others contribute to the canopy top. The trunks are ringed by leaf scars and end in a poorly defined or absent crownshaft. The leaves are usually pinnate, rarely bifid, from small to large, and frequently red colored when new.

The inflorescence is interfoliar but will hang pendent nearing antithesis. It may be branched from one to four orders with short white to yellow branches of spirally arranged, male and female flowers. Ellipsoidal to spherical, the fruit ripen to various shades of orange and red and contain a single seed.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Heterospathe species are relatively widespread across the Pacific's western edges with several in New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, eastern Indonesia and Micronesia.[2][4] Across this range they inhabit montane and lowland rain forest, in some cases receiving total shade or filtered light while others mature into full sun with age; H. delicatula and H. humilis are found at high elevations in New Guinea's mountains. Being rain forest dwellers they are typically found in humus-rich soil.


  1. Heterospathe annectens H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  2. Heterospathe arfakiana (Becc.) H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  3. Heterospathe barfodii L.M.Gardiner & W.J.Baker - Papua
  4. Heterospathe brevicaulis Fernando - Luzon
  5. Heterospathe cagayanensis Becc. - Luzon
  6. Heterospathe califrons Fernando - Philippines
  7. Heterospathe clemensiae (Burret) H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  8. Heterospathe compsoclada (Burret) Heatubun - New Guinea
  9. Heterospathe delicatula H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  10. Heterospathe dransfieldii Fernando - Palawan
  11. Heterospathe elata Scheff - Philippines, Maluku, New Guinea, Micronesia
  12. Heterospathe elegans (Becc.) Becc. - New Guinea
  13. Heterospathe elmeri Becc. - Philippines
  14. Heterospathe glabra (Burret) H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  15. Heterospathe glauca (Scheff.) H.E.Moore - Maluku
  16. Heterospathe intermedia (Becc.) Fernando - Philippines
  17. Heterospathe kajewskii Burret - Solomon Islands
  18. Heterospathe ledermanniana Becc. - New Guinea
  19. Heterospathe lepidota H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  20. Heterospathe longipes (H.E.Moore) Norup - Fiji
  21. Heterospathe macgregorii (Becc.) H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  22. Heterospathe minor Burret - Solomon Islands
  23. Heterospathe muelleriana (Becc.) Becc. - New Guinea
  24. Heterospathe negrosensis Becc. - Philippines
  25. Heterospathe obriensis (Becc.) H.E.Moore - New Guinea
  26. Heterospathe parviflora Essig - Bismarck Archipelago
  27. Heterospathe philippinensis (Becc.) Becc. - Philippines
  28. Heterospathe phillipsii D.Fuller & Dowe - Fiji
  29. Heterospathe pilosa (Burret) Burret - New Guinea
  30. Heterospathe porcata W.J.Baker & Heatubun - Western New Guinea
  31. Heterospathe pulchra H.E.Moore - Papua New Guinea
  32. Heterospathe pullenii M.S.Trudgen & W.J.Baker - Papua New Guinea
  33. Heterospathe ramulosa Burret - Solomon Islands
  34. Heterospathe salomonensis Becc. - Solomon Islands
  35. Heterospathe scitula Fernando - Luzon
  36. Heterospathe sensisi Becc. - Solomon Islands
  37. Heterospathe sibuyanensis Becc. - Sibuyan
  38. Heterospathe sphaerocarpa Burret - New Guinea
  39. Heterospathe trispatha Fernando - Luzon
  40. Heterospathe uniformis Dowe - Vanuatu
  41. Heterospathe woodfordiana Becc. - Solomon Islands

Cultivation and uses[edit]

The colorful new foliage has increased their popularity in Australia though they are still uncommon there and more so in the United States where only one species is cultivated with any regularity. In any case, they naturally prefer surroundings resembling those in their range, particularly acidic soil which is fast-draining, copious water and protection from cold. The petioles and leaflets are woven and thatched, the palm heart is reportedly eaten, and fruit from H. elata is chewed as a betel substitute.[3]


  1. ^ Scheffer, Annales du Jardin Botanique de Buitenzorg 1:141. 1876 Type:H. elata
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ a b Uhl, Natalie W. and Dransfield, John (1987) Genera Palmarum - A classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore. Lawrence, Kansas: Allen Press. ISBN 0-935868-30-5 / ISBN 978-0-935868-30-2
  4. ^ a b Riffle, Robert L. and Craft, Paul (2003) An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-558-6 / ISBN 978-0-88192-558-6

External links[edit]