Syagrus emasensis Noblick & Lorenzi, 2014

Noblick, Larry R., Lorenzi, Harri & Souza, Vinicius C., 2014, Four new taxa of acaulescent Syagrus (Arecaceae) from Brazil, Phytotaxa 188 (1), pp. 1-13 : 5-7

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.188.1.1

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scientific name

Syagrus emasensis Noblick & Lorenzi

sp. nov.

Syagrus emasensis Noblick & Lorenzi   sp. nov. (Fig. 3).

Short palm to 20–50 cm in height with a short and subterranean stem, with a spiraled or twisted appearance (Fig. 3A, 3D, 3G) and with slightly twisted leaflets and leaf blade. Inflorescence usually a simple spike 3–8 cm long. It differs from S. procumbens Noblick & Lorenzi (2010   , 39) of the same region by slightly twisted leaves, longer leaf rachis (12–22 vs. 2.4–13 cm) and shorter leaflets (12–30 vs. 31–78 cm).

Type: — BRAZIL, Goiás   : Chapadão do Céu : Parque Nacional das Emas, Not far from the Park Office, elevation ca. 818 m, 18 °16’27.6’’S, 52°54’39.1’’W (-18.274333, -52.910861), 9 Jan 2014, L. Noblick & H. Lorenzi 5632 (holotype ESA!, isotypes HPL!, UB!, RB!, SP!, K!, FTG!, NY!, MO!, US!) GoogleMaps   ;

Small solitary palm at times appearing clustered (Fig. 3 C, 3 F) to 20–50 cm. Stem short and subterranean. Leaves number 3–4 in the crown, usually appear to be slightly twisted, sheathing leaf base ca. 3–6 (–11) cm long; pseudopetiole (true petiole plus part of the sheath) 2–3.5 (–8) cm long, true petiole 1.5–3 (–6) × 0.3–0.5 cm by 0.2–0.3 cm thick, channeled adaxially and rounded abaxially; rachis 12–22 cm long; leaflets slightly lighter on the abaxial surface, numbering 6–10 along one side, in clusters of 2–5 or singly along rachis, ramenta scales or tomentum absent where the leaflets are inserted on the rachis and only occasional ramenta or tomentum along the abaxial midvein; basal leaflets 11–16 × 0.2–0.3 cm, middle leaflets 14–22 (–30) × 0.5–0.7 cm, apical leaflets 11–13 (–25) × 0.1–0.4 cm with an asymmetric tip. Inflorescence interfoliar branching to one order, with prophyll 3–5 × 0.9–1.0 cm, 2-keeled; peduncular bract narrow, woody, sulcate, exterior with scattered scales, total length 9–12 cm and with expanded or inflated portion 5–9 cm long, 1–2 cm diameter and a 1.5–3 cm perimeter and a 1 mm thickness or less; peduncle tomentose ca. 2.5–6.0 × 0.3 cm; total inflorescence measured from the first basal flower to the apex, 3–8 cm long; no rachis present; rachillae 1 (rarely 2–3), glabrous, 3–5 (–8) cm long; staminate flowers green to yellow, in triads on the lower portion or in staminate diads or singly on the upper portion of the rachilla, 4.5–4.8 × 2.5–2.7 mm at apex, 7.9–8.0 × 3.0– 3.1 mm at base, sepals and petals 3 in number, sepals 1 mm long and 1 mm wide, glabrous, no visible nerves, keeled and connate at the base, petals valvate, 3.9–4.1 × 1.7–2.1 mm at the apex, 6.0–6.7 × 2.0– 2.8 mm at base with acute tips, nerves indistinct, stamens numbering 6, 2.7–3.7 mm long, anthers 2.2–2.7 mm long, filaments 1.0– 1.7 mm long, pistillode trifid and ca. 0.3 mm long, basal pistillate flowers conical, glabrous, 9.5–10.2 × 3.7–3.8 mm (apical flowers 8.0–8.2 × 3.5–3.8 mm), sepals and petals 3 in number and yellow in color, sepals 6–10.2 × 3.0– 5.5 mm, glabrous, no visible venation, imbricate, petals 6.0–8.8 × 4.0– 6.6 mm, glabrous, obscurely nerved, imbricate at the base but valvate at the tips, the valvate portion 1/3 to ½ the length of the petals, pistil 6.5–6.6 × 2.8–3.0 mm, glabrous on the upper half, but short tomentose on the lower half of the ovary, stigmas 3 in number, and ca. 3 mm long, glabrous, staminodial ring ca. 0.7–0.8 mm high and 6-dentate. Fruit green when mature, covered with a squamose tomentum, ellipsoid, 2.3–2.5 × 1.3–1.5 cm, epicarp less than 0.5 mm thick, mesocarp not measured, fleshy-fibrous and endocarp 1.8–1.9 × 1.2 cm and thickness not measured, with 3 visible endocarp pores on the basal end and seed elliptical not measured, endosperm homogeneous. Germination remote tubular. Eophyll simple and entire.

Common name:— Not recorded.

Etymology:— The specific epithet “emasensis” refers to the Parque Nacional das Emas from which it was collected with the permission and cooperation of the national park service.

Distribution and habitat:— Southwestern Goias, open cerrado grasslands growing in rocky to sandy soils, in highly exposed conditions with few trees or bushes. Distribution between the municipality of Mineiros and Chapadão do Céu, Currently known only within the Parque Nacional das Emas.

Conservation:— This species has not yet been found outside of the Parque Nacional das Emas. It is well protected within the 30,000 hectare park, where it appears to be fairly common, but outside the park it would be vulnerable or endangered by soybean agriculture. Since the park is so large and the population is substantial, by IUCN criteria, this species should be considered LC, least concern.

Phenology:— Mostly flowering in the month of January and February and with mostly immature fruits in January.

FIGURE. Syagrus emasensis   . A. Habit, B. Palm with infructescence to the left and inflorescence with pistillate flowers to the right, scale = ca. 2 cm, C. Cluster showing that they are individuals and not a single plant, scale = ca. 5 cm, D. Top view showing several individuals and grassy habit, E. Inflorescence with pistillate flowers, scale = ca. 1 cm, F. More elongated plants as a result of being buried by additional soils and growing up through them, Noblick & Lorenzi 5633, G. Palms with inflorescences. Scale = ca. 5 cm. Noblick & Lorenzi 5632 (A–E, G),

Uses:— None recorded. This small palm could possibly be used as an ornamental landscape plant. Normally this species has a pleasing and curious curliness about the leaf, which Noblick has not found in other acaulescent Syagrus   .

Additional specimens examined:— BRAZIL, Goiás: Chapadão do Céu , no Parque Nacional das Emas, 800 m, -18.264833, -52.899306, H GoogleMaps   . Lorenzi & A   . Campos-Rocha 7121 ( HPL!); Chapadão do Céu : Parque Nacional das Emas, ca. 838 m, -18.173, -52.831944, L GoogleMaps   . Noblick & H   . Lorenzi 5633 ( ESA!, HPL!, FTG!, NY!)   .

Notes:— Normally the leaflets of this palm are somewhat twisted, curved or curled (Fig. 3A, 3D), but when sandy soil is piled on top of already established plants as we found along one plowed roadside, they emerge with straighter leaves (Noblick 5633, Fig. 3F) and narrower elongated inflorescences. The leaflet anatomy and the measurements of the leaf rachis and leaflets which distinguish this species from other Syagrus   remain unchanged. However in this one case, a change in local edaphic conditions did alter the species normal growth form and   one needs to be cognizant of this when exploring for and describing new species. Syagrus emasensis   , even in its altered form, still differs from S. procumbens   , which grows in the same area by having a longer leaf rachis (12–22 vs. 2.4–13 cm), but shorter leaflets (12–30 vs. 31–78 cm).


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University of Helsinki


Universidade de São Paulo


Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora Ltda.


Laboratoire de Biostratigraphie


Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro


Instituto de Botânica


Royal Botanic Gardens


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden


William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden


Missouri Botanical Garden


University of Copenhagen


Field Museum of Natural History, Botany Department


Harvard University - Arnold Arboretum