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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 22 | Arecaceae

1. Thrinax Swartz, Prodr. 4, 57. 1788.

Thatch palm [Greek thrinax, trident or winnowing fork; presumably in reference to shape of leaf]

Hemithrinax Hooker f.

Plants small to moderate. Stem solitary, erect, ± smooth. Leaves: sheath producing soft fibers; petiole split at base, unarmed; abaxial hastula a small crescent-shaped ridge or absent; adaxial hastula irregularly semicircular to nearly cylindric; blade palmate; plication induplicate; segments lanceolate, basally connate; cross veins conspicuous [obscure]. Inflorescences interfoliar, emerging through split leaf bases, arching beyond leaves, with 2 orders of pendent branches; prophyll short; peduncular bracts many, tubular. Flowers bisexual, borne singly along rachillae, short- to long-pedicellate; perianth 1-seriate, shallowly cupulate, lobes 5--7, apiculate; stamens 6--12, erect [inflexed in bud]; filaments acute; anthers dorsifixed; pistils 1, 1-carpellate, glabrous; stigma funnelform. Fruits globose; stigmatic scar apical; exocarp white, smooth, slightly warty or rugose when dry; mesocarp mealy; endocarp membranaceous. Seeds oblate-globose; hilum deeply intruded into seed, forming cylindric depression or perforation; endosperm homogeneous, bony; embryo nearly apical; eophyll undivided, lanceolate. nx = 18.

Species 7 (2 in the flora): regions along shores, North America (Florida), Mexico, West Indies (Bahamas), and Central America.

Thrinax lacks a showy perianth and is wind pollinated, although many insects visit the inflorescence (D. W. Roubik, pers. comm.) and may transferport some pollen once the lateral lobes of the stigma have opened to expose the stigmatic surfaces. Fruits are taken by birds (R. W. Read 1975), including the red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), lizards (J. B. Iverson 1979), and gray squirrels, which probably disperse the seeds. Key deer consume T. morrisii fruits, but they are probably not seed dispersers (W. D. Klimstra and A. L. Dooley 1990; W. D. Klimstra, pers. comm.).


Read, R. W. 1975. The genus Thrinax (Palmae: Coryphoideae). Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 19: 1--98.

1 Leaf sheath liguliform opposite petiole; hastula silky-pubescent adaxially; leaf blades glaucous; segment apices stiff; pedicel inconspicuous in fruit.   1 Thrinax morrisii
+ Leaf sheath with V-shaped cleft opposite petiole; hastula glabrous adaxially; leaf blades green; segment apices lax; pedicel conspicuous in fruit (usually exceeding 1 mm)   2 Thrinax radiata

Lower Taxa


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