What do we know about the Doum palms (Hyphaene spp.)?

Composition

The genus Hyphaene (apparently 8 spp.) (Dransfield et al. 2008, Stauffer et al., 2014)

Fossil record

An unequivocal fossil of Hyphaene (H. kapelmanii A. D. Pan, B. F. Jacobs, J. Dransf. & W. J. Baker) was described by Pan et al. (2006, Fig. 1) from a tuffaceous ironstone deposit of Late Oligocene age (28-27 Mya) in north-western Ethiopia. A petrified palm petiole (Palmocaulon hyphaenoides) showing similarities with the currently recognized H. dichotoma was described by Shete & Kulkarni (1980) from the Indian Deccan Intertrappean of Maharashtra State. Endocarps supposed to be from the earliest Cretaceous (Aptian) of Egypt are compared to Hyphaene by Vaudois-Miéja and Lejal-Nicol (1987), although one endocarp looked notably Hyphaene-like. Nevertheless, an Aptian age for the formation in which these fossils (Hyphaeneocarpon aegyptiacum) were found is questionable and may be much younger (Schrank, 1992; Dransfield et al., 2008).

Fig. 1. Fossil petiole of Hyphaene kapelmanii A. D. Pan et al. from a tuffaceous ironstone deposit of Late Oligocene age (28-27 Mya) in north-western Ethiopia. Note the characteristic spines on the petiole margins, typical of Hyphaene palms. Photo courtesy of Dr. Aaron Pan (Don Harrington Discovery Center, USA).


Go to top