IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

Brief Summary

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Brief Summary

Tahina spectabilis is a species of palm that was described recently by John Dransfield and Mijoro Rakotoarinivo (Dransfield et al. 2008). It is the only species in the genus Tahina. T. spectabilis is known solely from Analalava district, in the dry and warm northwestern region of Madagascar. About 90 individuals were found growing in a low woodland at the edge of a 'tsingy' (karst Tertiary limestone) and one small specimen is known to grow near the village of Antsanifera. This species is not closely related to any of the other Malagasy palms. Its closest relatives are Asian palms in the subfamily Coryphoideae (Dransfield et al. 2008).

T. spectabilis was recently chosen by the International Institute for Species Exploration as one of the Top 10 New Species of 2008. One of the reasons for earning this distinction was the species' hapaxanthic flowering behavior ("A Palm that Flowers Itself to Death"); i. e., each hermaphroditic plant flowers only once during its lifetime, and flowering is soon followed by the palm's death. Several other species of palms and bamboos share this life history characteristic.

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© Schulz, Katja

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team

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