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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Synonyms: Borassus flabellifer L. var. aethiopum (Mart.) Warb.
Common names: Borassus palm (English)
Frequency: Very rare
Status: Native
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: of "Ethiopia", a historic reference to all of Africa South of Libya and Egypt.
Habitat: In moist open woodland and riverine areas.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 700 m
Flowering time:Aug - Oct
Worldwide distribution: Throughout most of tropical Africa, just entering northern S Africa.
Zimbabwe distribution: E,S
Growth form(s): Tree.
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


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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., retrieved 23 July 2014

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