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)
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.
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.
Flowering time:Aug - Oct
Worldwide distribution: Sudanian, Zambezian and Coastal phytochoria, extending to northern South Africa.
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Insects associated with this species: Zophopetes dysmephyla (Larval foodplant)
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Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 51. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 9.

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

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 120.

Dransfield, J. (2010). Arecaceae Flora Zambesiaca 13(2) Pages 61 - 63. (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 232.

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

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 162.

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

Other sources of information about Borassus aethiopum:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Borassus aethiopum
Flora of Mozambique: Borassus aethiopum
Flora of Zambia: Borassus aethiopum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Borassus aethiopum
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Borassus aethiopum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Borassus aethiopum
African Plant Database: Borassus aethiopum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Borassus aethiopum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Borassus aethiopum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Borassus aethiopum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Borassus aethiopum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Borassus aethiopum
JSTOR Plant Science: Borassus aethiopum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Borassus aethiopum
Plants of the World Online: Borassus aethiopum
Tropicos: Borassus aethiopum
Wikipedia: Borassus aethiopum

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Caprivi: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Borassus aethiopum., retrieved 25 June 2024

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