Nipah palm Nypa fruticans, copyright Tony Rodd.

Belongs within: Commelinidae.
Contains: Arecoideae, Coryphoideae, Calamoideae.

The Arecaceae, palms, are a group of mostly tropical and subtropical woody plants with large divided leaves. These leaves are typically borne in a terminal crown, with the often large inflorescences borne below or among the leaves. Most palms grow as an erect (usually unbranched) tree, but exceptions exist. In the nipa palm Nypa fruticans, found in mangrove habitats of the tropical Indo-Pacific region, the stem (which may be branching) grows lying on the substrate and only the leaves and flower stalks extend upwards. As well as species grown as horticultural crops (often for their edible fruits or seeds), many palms are cultivated as ornamental plants.

Fruits similar to those of Nypa are known from the fossil record going back to the Lower Paleocene. Foliage of palms is also known from the Cretaceous with Eolirion primigenium from the Lower Cretaceous of Austria representing the earliest record of the family. Pollen assignable to the subfamilies Nypoideae and Arecoideae is known from the Maastrichtian (Collinson et al. 2003).

Other basal genera of Arecaceae include Trithrinax, the caranday palms of subtropical South America, which retain old leaf sheaths as a persistent spiny coat around the stem. The ivory palms Phytelephas of northwestern South America produce seeds with a very hard white endosperm resembling ivory. The Ceroxyloideae are a primarily South American group with inflorescences accompanied by a protective prophyll and peduncular bracts.

Characters (from Healy & Edgar 1980): Usually arborescent, stout (and mostly unbranched) to slender, sometimes scandent and shrubby; usually monoecious, occasionally dioecious or bisexual. Leaves usually in terminal crowns, often very large, pinnate or palmate; leaflets narrow. Inflorescence usually paniculate, below or amongst leaves; spathes one or more, usually large. Flowers small, actinomorphic, more or less sessile, commonly unisexual, males and females sometimes in one inflorescence; sepals 3, free or connate; petals 3, free or connate. Stamens usually 6 in two whorls; anthers two-celled, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, 1-3-celled or 3 carpels separate; ovule usually solitary. Fruit a berry or drupe.

<==Arecaceae [Areciflorae, Palmaceae, Palmae, Palmales, Principes]
    |--Trithrinax acanthocomaDS04
    |--+--Phytelephas aequatorialisDS04
    |  `--ArecoideaeDS04
       |--+--Plectocomia elongataDS04
       |  `--CalamoideaeDS04
       `--Nypoideae [Nypaceae]CBH93
            |--Spinizonocolpites baculatusCBH93
            `--Nypa fruticansDS04
                 |--N. f. var. fruticansH09
                 `--N. f. var. neameanaH09
Arecaceae incertae sedis:
    |--E. guineensisPJ02
    `--E. oleiferaMS10
    |--M. rumphiiM72
    |--M. saguK03 [incl. Sagus genuinaL1801]
    `--M. salmonenseZ93
  Plectocomiopsis geminifloraK03
  Pritchardia remotaO94
  Manicaria sacciferaH03, O49
  Orbignya phalerataW92
    |--G. cuneataBBB03
    `--G. irenaBBB03
    |--Monocolpites franciscoi Muller 1970CBH93
         |--D. elegans Muller 1979CBH93
         `--D. malesianus Muller 1979CBH93
  Astrocaryum jauariDS86
  Mauritia flexuosaDS86
    |--A. aculeataF11
    |--A. mexicanaG69
    `--A. totaiF11
    |--H. belmoreanaB00
    `--H. forsterianaB00
  Hyophorbe lagenicaulisSDK-L03, Z93
  Neodypsis decaryiZ93
  Oreodoxa regiaYY22, RD77
  Phloga [incl. Neophloga]Z03
    `--P. nodiferaZ93
    |--P. ekmaniiD81
    `--P. sargentiiOB11
    |--E. insignisP88
    |--E. tristisP88
    `--E. utilisK03
  Lodoicea seychellarumYY22, C55
  Trachycarpus fortunei (Hooker) Wendland 1862HE80 [incl. Chamoerops excelsa (l. c.)LO98]
  Zalacca edulisT-W89
    |--S. bermudanaWM14
    |--S. megacarpaBTA75
    |--S. minorI-BH-O10
    |--S. palmetto [=Chamaerops palmetto]P02
    `--S. texanaMG56
    |--R. borinquenaSWK87
    |--R. elataA02
    |--R. hispaniolanaHSS13
    |--R. princeps (Becc.) Burret 1929CD07
    `--R. regiaZ93
  Oraniopsis appendiculataE99
  Rhopalostylis Wendl. & Drude 1875 [=Eora Cook 1927]ME70
    |--R. baueri Wendl. & Drude 1875ME70 [=Areca baueri Hook.f. 1868C06, Kentia baueriC06]
    |--R. cheesemanii Becc. 1917ME70
    `--R. sapida Wendl. & Drude in Kerch. 1878ME70 [=Areca sapidaC06, Kentia sapidaC06]
    |--Synechanthus fibrosusZ03
    `--Ceroxylon [Ceroxyleae]HB09
         `--C. quindiuenseHSS13
  Coccothrinax montanaJ87
    |--W. filiferaM93
    `--W. robustaK10
  Pigafetta filarisZ93
  Inodes mexicanaG69
  Sabalites Saporta 1865HL08
    `--‘Flabellaria’ major Unger 1847 [=Sabal major (Unger) Heer 1855; incl. S. (Flabellaria) haeringiana]HL08
  Phoenicites Brongniart 1828HL08
  Musophyllum axonense Watelet 1866HL08
    |--C. lutescensZ93
    `--C. madagascariensisZ93
  Aphanes caryotifoliaZ93
  Carpentaria acuminataB00
  Wodyetia bifurcataB00
  Hedyscepe canterburyanaB00 [=Kentia canterburyanaB78]
  Butia yatayF11
    |--S. cephalotesF11
    `--S. princepsF11
  Eolirion primigenium Schenk 1869CBH93
  Pilophora Jacq. 1802KC01
  Kentia [incl. Grisebachia, Kentiopsis, Linospadix]B78
    |--K. acuminataB78
    |--K. belmoreana (see below for synonymy)B78
    |--K. minorB78
    `--K. monostachya [=Areca monostachya, Linospadix monostachyos]B78
  Rhizopalmoxylon glaeseli Gothan 1954F91
    |--P. bacillareF91
    `--P. libycumF91
  Serenoa repensS72, CS90
    |--S. koenigiiT-W89
    `--S. laevisT-W89
  Orania macrocladusT-W89
  Brahea edulisAD84
  Hyphaene thebaicaD17

Kentia belmoreana [=Grisebachia belmoreana, Howiea belmoreana; incl. G. forsteriana, H. forsteriana, Kentia forsteriana]B78

*Type species of generic name indicated


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