Borassus aethiopum Mart.

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Borassus aethiopum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Rusitu Valley

Borassus aethiopum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Rusitu Valley

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Borassus flabellifer L. var. aethiopum (Mart.) Warb.
Common names: Borassus palm (English)
Frequency: Very rare in Zimbabwe
Status: Native
Description:
Large palm tree. Stems erect, up to 20 m, with a distinct swelling above the middle. Leaves crowded on top of the stem, fan-shaped, blue-green up to 4 m including the petiole. Petiole armed with recurved thorns. Flowers in large branched sprays, unisexual on separate trees, female flowers larger than male. Fruit large, 12-18 cm in diameter, subspherical, orange-brown.
Notes: This species can be mistaken for H. coriacea but is a much stouter tree with larger leaves and fruits and mature trees have the distinctive swelling in the trunk. Seriously threatened by increased exploitation to brew a strong alcoholic drink from the sap. Mature trees are cut and killed for this purpose.
Derivation of specific name: aethiopum: Ethiopia, the name of the sub-Saharan biological region before the country formerly known as Abyssinia claimed the name Ethiopia.
Habitat: In moist open woodland and riverine areas.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 700 m
Flowering time:Aug - Oct
Worldwide distribution: Sudanian, Zambezian and Coastal phytochoria, extending to northern South Africa.
Zimbabwe distribution: E,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Critically Endangered
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 6 June 2007
Literature:

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa

Fanshawe, D.B. (). District vegetation reports Division of Forest Research, Kitwe (roneo).

Fanshawe, D.B. (1971). The Vegetation of Zambia. Division of Forest Research, Kitwe.

Fowler, D.G. (2007). Zambian Plants: Their Vernacular Names and Uses, Kew Publishing

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press.

White, F. (1983). The Vegetation of Africa. A descriptive memoir. UNESCO, Paris


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Other sources of information about Borassus aethiopum:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Borassus aethiopum
Flora of Zambia: Borassus aethiopum

External websites:

African Plant Database: Borassus aethiopum
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Borassus aethiopum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Borassus aethiopum
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Borassus aethiopum
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Borassus aethiopum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Borassus aethiopum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Borassus aethiopum
Ispot Southern Africa : Borassus aethiopum
JSTOR Plant Science: Borassus aethiopum
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Borassus aethiopum
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Borassus aethiopum
Tropicos: Borassus aethiopum
West African Plants database: Borassus aethiopum


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-14

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2014). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Borassus aethiopum.
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=111950, retrieved 24 October 2014

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