|Oncosperma tigillarium in Malaysia|
Oncosperma tigilarium grows to 40 feet in height in dense thickets of up to 50 palm trees. The trunks of the palms are covered with long black spines. Oncosperma tigilarium has finely pinnate leaves, with drooping leaflets.
Its common name in Indonesian is nibung meaning thorn, for the long thorns that arise along the length of the trunk of the palm. In parts of the Philippines it is known as anibung in the Hiligaynon language.
The species is known from inland, lower salinity waters, near mangrove swamps of Indochina, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines in Southeast Asia. It is native to these areas west of the Wallace Line growing at elevations below 150 metres. It is endangered in some areas due to deforestation, and it is invasive to a few tropical islands in the Western Hemisphere where it has been planted as an ornamental.
Habitat and ecology
In Singapore, A cluster of Nibong palms survive near the entrance of the Istana, located at the end of Orchard Road. A plaque at that site states: "As the nibong is a mangrove palm, this site must have once been a mangrove swamp." The species is a close relative of Oncosperma horridum and shares with it properties of seawater-resistance in its stems, making it useful in the construction of kelongs, wooden structures used in shallow seas for the catching or cultivation of fish.
The leaf buds are edible.
- Vibe Norup, M; J Dransfield; MW Chase; AS Barfod; WJ Baker (2006). "Homoplasious character combinations and generic delimitations: a case study from the Indo-Pacific arecoid palms (Arecaceae: Areceae)" (PDF). American Journal of Botany. 93 (7): 1065–1080. doi:10.3732/ajb.93.7.1065. PMID 21642171.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Palm & Cycad Societies of Australia, Oncosperma tigillarium
- Henderson, A. (2009). Palms of Southern Asia: 1-197. Princeton university press, Princeton and Oxford.
- Barfod, A.S. & Dransfield, J. (2013). Flora of Thailand 11(3): 323-498. The Forest Herbarium, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkok.
- National Parks Board Singapore (2006). Vascular Plant Life Checklist Pulau Ubin.
- Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 43.