Two new species of Raphia (Palmae/Arecaceae) from Cameroon and Gabon

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2018
Authors:M. S. Kamga, Sonké, B., Couvreur, T. L. P.
Start Page:17

Raphia (Arecaceae, Calamoideae) is the most diverse genus of African palms with around 20 species. Two new species from Cameroon and Gabon, Raphia gabonica Mogue, Sonké & Couvreur, sp. nov. and Raphia zamiana Mogue, Sonké & Couvreur, sp. nov. are described and illustrated. Their affinities are discussed and the conservation status of each species is assessed. For both species, distribution maps are provided. Raphia gabonica is restricted to two small populations from central Gabon, where it occurs on hillsides on tierra firme soil, and close to small streams. Its preliminary IUCN status is Endangered, being amongst the five most threatened palm species in Africa. Raphia gabonica potentially belongs to the moniliform section. Raphia zamiana is largely distributed from south Cameroon to south Gabon and is very common. It is also a multi-used palm, from which wine, grubs and construction material are extracted and sold. It generally occurs in large stands in a wide range of ecosystems such as swamps, coastal forests on partially inundated sandy soils and inundated savannahs. Its large stature, hard to access habitat (swamps) and abundant presence might have discouraged botanists to collect it until now. Raphia zamiana belongs to the taxonomically complex raphiate section.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith