An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Veitchia subdisticha

Veitchia subdisticha

The mamawa (Veitchia subdisticha (H.E.Moore) C.Lewis & S.Zona, 2011) is an arboreal species belonging to the Arecaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Liliopsida,
Subclass Arecidae,
Order Arecales,
Arecaceae family,
Subfamily Arecoideae,
Tribe Areceae,
Subtribe Ptychospermatinae,
Genus Veitchia,
Species V. subdisticha.
The terms are synonymous:
– Drymophloeus subdistichus (H.E.Moore) H.E.Moore;
– Rehderophoenix subdisticha H.E.Moore.

Etymology –
The term Veitchia is in honor of a family of important English nurserymen active from the 18th to the 20th century, whose best-known exponents were James Veitch Jr. and his son John Gould Veitch, who imported many species of rare plants into Europe.
The specific epithet subdisticha refers to the arrangement of the flowers on the inflorescence and derives from the composition of the prefix sub, which means “almost” with the Greek terms dίs (twice) and stíchos (row), therefore “arranged in two rows” .

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Veitchia subdisticha is a palm endemic to the Solomon Islands.
Its habitat is that of rainforests at low and medium altitudes. Unfortunately, its habitat is threatened by agriculture and human settlements, but the species has not yet been classified in the IUCN Red List.

Description –
The Veitchia subdisticha is a medium-sized palm, with a solitary trunk that can reach 14 m with a diameter of up to 30 cm, brown/grey in colour.
It is a monoecious species with male and female flowers on the same inflorescence, arranged according to the typical arrangement that gives the species its name.
The stem is straight and thin and is characterized by dark rings corresponding to the scars of the fallen leaf bases. In many specimens the stem grows on a small cone of aerial roots, at most 25 cm high and as wide as the base of the trunk.
The leaf crown is moderately dense and consists of pinnate leaves up to 2.5 m long, strongly and elegantly arched from the middle of the rachis. The leaves have many leaf segments, up to 40 cm long, bright green above and lighter green below. The leaf segments are lanceolate, straight and up to 10 cm wide, with a consistent thickness, and have the characteristic of having a truncated and irregularly serrated apex. They are inserted into the rachis to form a V-shaped section. These elements give the crown a lush appearance.
The leaves have very short petioles that are green/grey in colour, but which become almost black at the base, at the point where the petiole joins the leaf sheath.
The leaf sheath is up to 120 cm long and completely envelops the stem. It is green/grey in colour, covered in light tomentum which sometimes makes it look almost white.
The inflorescence forms beneath the leaf sheath, in correspondence with the rings of the stem and is up to 80 cm long and branched in 3/4 orders.
The fruits, which are produced in large quantities, are ovoid in shape, up to 2 cm long and just over 1 cm wide. Their color is green at first, then yellow and red when ripe. The seeds are round, up to 1 cm long and 0.5 cm wide.

Cultivation –
Veitchia subdisticha is a palm that is used in nature or cultivated both for its fruits and for the materials obtained or for ornamental purposes.
This palm is not easily found in cultivation, despite its undoubted aesthetic qualities, and can be observed above all in botanical gardens and large private collections.
However, it lends itself very well to being used as an isolated specimen or in a group of plants of different heights.
Like the other species of the Veitchia genus, it grows very quickly in suitable climates.
It is a strictly tropical species and grows well in the subtropics and in areas where it never freezes. The minimum temperature cannot fall below 5 °C, otherwise the plant can suffer serious damage, up to and including death.
For cultivation it prefers sheltered and shady positions when young, then as it grows it adapts to full sun. It is not demanding from a pedological point of view but loves very well-drained moist soils. In cultivation, the soil must not be allowed to dry out between one watering and the next. It also doesn’t like strong winds.
Reproduction occurs both in nature and in cultivation through seeds.

Customs and Traditions –
Veitchia subdisticha is a plant known by some common names; among these we report: basibasi, mamawa, ori.
This species was recently reclassified from the genus Drymophloeus to the genus Veitchia following the results of a molecular study on the subtribe Ptychospermatinae, to which the two genera Drymophloeus and Veitchia belong. The study was published by Carl Lewis and Scott Zona in the American Journal of Botany in 2011.
It was once called Rhederophoenix and was later transferred to Drymophloeus by Hal Moore.
This palm occurs naturally in open forests at low to medium elevations in the Solomon Islands.
The fruits of this palm are fleshy and juicy; the local population occasionally uses it as food.
The plant is also used for the use of some materials such as leaves and stem.

Preparation Method –
Veitchia subdisticha is a palm whose fruits are occasionally consumed by local populations.
The edible fruits are red when ripe.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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