Licuala rumphii (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Licuala rumphii Blume

Family: Palmae

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: koal (Buru), leko wala (Macassarese).


Indonesia (Sulawesi, Moluccas; probably cultivated in Java).


The young leaves used to be used to wrap cigarettes, for which purpose bundles of leaf segments were soaked in hot water, bleached in the sun, and pounded and smoothed out on a heated pot until they became white. Fine strips of the young leaves were sometimes mixed with opium, probably because of their odour. The broadest central segments are used to wrap fruits and other food.


A pleonanthic, small, usually multi-stemmed palm up to 4 m tall. Leaves palmate; sheath fibrous; blade forming a 3/4 to entire circle, incised almost to the base into 12-15, 4-7-veined, narrowly cuneate segments with emarginate apex, larger segments up to 100 cm × 7-12 cm. Inflorescence interfoliar; lateral axes few, bearing 3-4 digitately arranged thick spikes 12-15 cm long; peduncle with a tubular prophyll and several tubular peduncular bracts; flowers bisexual, sessile; calyx connate, 3-fid, glabrous; corolla deeply 3-fid, 1.5 times as long as the calyx, with distinct grooves and ridges inside; stamens 6, filaments connate to form a 3-lobed tube, each lobe with a bifid apex; pistil 3-carpellate, glabrous, united distally to form a single exserted style. Fruit a glossy red drupe with the remains of the style at the apex.

Selected sources

6, 30, 68, 71.


M.S.M. Sosef