Rare Palm at Palmatum of River Kwai at River Kwai Resotel Riverside Resort in Saiyok, Kanchanaburi

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1. Tahina spectabilis

Scientific Name: Tahina spectabilis
Common Name:
Tahina spectabilis, often referred to as the “Queen of the Forest,” is a remarkable palm tree species native to a specific region in northwestern Madagascar. It holds the title of being the largest palm tree in the world and is renowned not only for its enormous size but also for its extreme rarity in the plant kingdom.

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Found exclusively in the rugged and remote areas of Madagascar, this palm species has become a botanical wonder. The sheer size of Tahina spectabilis sets it apart from other palms. These majestic trees can grow up to an astonishing 18 meters (about 59 feet) in height. Their leaves are equally impressive, measuring up to 5 meters (approximately 16.5 feet) in length. The striking appearance of these towering palms against the backdrop of Madagascar’s unique landscape makes them a sight to behold.

One of the most astonishing aspects of Tahina spectabilis is its limited distribution in the wild. It is estimated that only a minuscule population of 90 to 100 individuals of this palm species remains in its natural habitat. This extreme rarity has raised concerns among conservationists and plant enthusiasts alike, as the survival of Tahina spectabilis is now at risk due to habitat destruction and other threats.

Efforts have been made to protect and conserve the remaining population of Tahina spectabilis, including the establishment of protected areas and initiatives to raise awareness about its endangered status. Researchers and conservationists continue to study this magnificent palm species, hoping to secure its future in the unique ecosystems of Madagascar.

In summary, Tahina spectabilis is an awe-inspiring palm tree species, not only for its extraordinary size but also for its exceptional rarity, found only in a small region of Madagascar. Its towering stature and limited population make it a symbol of both natural beauty and the importance of conservation efforts to protect Earth’s unique and endangered flora.

2. Pelagodoxa Henryana (Henry Palm)

Scientific Name: Pelagodoxa henryana Becc.
Common Name: Henry Palm

In summary, the Henry Palm, scientifically known as Pelagodoxa henryana, is a striking and unique palm tree species known for its impressive height and attractive foliage. It is a solitary palm that prefers partial shade, rich soil, and protection from strong winds. While it may reach heights of up to 8 meters, it is often most admired when it stands between 1 to 3 meters tall, displaying its elegant beauty. Propagation is done through seeds, but patience is required due to the lengthy germination process.

3. Pholidocarpus macrocarpus

Pholidocarpus macrocarpus, commonly known as “กะเปา” in Thai, with

additional information about its habitat, distribution, and physical characteristics:

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This palm tree forms a crown composed of 40 to 50 leaves. The leaf sheaths dissolve into a fibrous mesh, displaying a reddish-brown coloration, with an apical extension of up to 40 cm in the form of a ligule. The petiole, dark green and glossy on the outer side, features two longitudinal stripes on the inner side and is armed with straight spines that range from 4 to 7 cm in length, with the longest spines near the base and shorter ones towards the upper end.

The leaf blades initially appear tidy but may become untidy with age. They can grow to an impressive 2 meters in diameter and are divided into 12 to 14 groups of segments. Each segment group is further divided into single-folded segments, with their tips varying from stiff to eventually drooping.

In terms of its reproductive structure, Pholidocarpus macrocarpus has an inflorescence with a peduncle and rachis of approximately equal length, measuring 0.8 to 1 meter. It features five to seven first-order branches, with numerous rachillae, each ranging from 15 to 25 cm in length.

The fruit of this palm species is distinctive, measuring 10-12 cm in diameter, with a corky and warty surface, and it turns brown when mature.

In summary, Pholidocarpus macrocarpus, or “กะเปา,” is a magnificent palm tree that can reach towering heights. It is native to the swampy peat forests of Peninsular Malaysia and Peninsular Thailand. This palm is characterized by its large, segmented leaves, long petioles with thorns, and unique, corky-textured, orange-colored fruits. Its grandeur makes it a noteworthy and valuable part of these tropical lowland ecosystems.

4. Wallichia disticha T. Anderson

Plant Name: The plant known as “ปาล์มนเรศวร” in Thai, with its scientific name as Wallichia disticha T. Anderson, belongs to the palm family (PALMAE).

Habitat and Origin:
This palm species is primarily found in Thailand, specifically within the protected wildlife sanctuary of Tung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi Province. It grows in limestone hill forests at elevations ranging from 500 to 800 meters above sea level. Outside Thailand, it is also found in Myanmar.

Conservation Status:
Wallichia disticha is considered a rare and endangered plant due to habitat destruction caused by human activities. Preservation efforts and environmental conservation are crucial to ensure the survival of this species in its natural habitat for future generations.

5. Talang Queen Palm / White Elephant Palm

The remarkable Talang Queen Palm, scientifically known as Kerriodosa elegans Dransfield:
Discovery and Uniqueness:

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The Talang Queen Palm is truly a botanical marvel, as it holds the distinction of being the sole representative of its genus and species globally. Its origins can be traced back to Phuket Province, Thailand, where it was initially discovered in 1929 AD (Buddhist Era 2472). However, it wasn’t until 1983 AD (Buddhist Era 2526) that it was officially classified and given the scientific name Kerriodosa elegans Dransfield. The genus name, Kerriodosa, pays homage to Dr. A.F.G. Kerr, a renowned botanist who made significant contributions to the study of Thailand’s plant diversity.

Endemic Rarity:
This palm species is exceptionally rare and unique as it is found exclusively within the borders of Thailand. Unlike many other plant species with close relatives in various parts of the world, the Talang Queen Palm has no known botanical relatives outside of Thailand. Its exclusivity to Thailand makes it a national and global treasure in the realm of botany.

Botanical Characteristics:

Dioecious Nature:
One of its unique biological aspects is its dioecious nature. This means that individual trees are either male or female, and their flowers do not bloom simultaneously. This reproductive strategy enhances cross-pollination and genetic diversity among the population.

Local and Common Names:
Locally, this palm is known by several names in different dialects, including “ปาล์มเจ้าเมืองถลาง” (Talang Queen Palm), “ปาล์มหลังขาว” (White Leg Palm), “ทังหลังขาว” (Tung Leg Palm), and “ชิงหลังขาว” (Ching Leg Palm) in the southern dialect. It also goes by the names “White Elephant Palm” and “King Thai Palm.”

Conservation and Protection:
Given its rarity and unique status, the conservation of the Talang Queen Palm is of paramount importance. Preserving its natural habitat and ensuring its continued existence is not only a matter of botanical significance but also a testament to Thailand’s rich biodiversity.

Efforts to protect this palm and its environment are crucial to safeguard this botanical treasure for future generations to appreciate and study.

The Talang Queen Palm stands as a symbol of Thailand’s rich plant diversity and and as a botanical marvel, representing a unique and precious part of Thailand’s natural heritage reflecting the importance of preserving unique and endangered species in the face of environmental challenges.

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