Hyphaene reptans Becc., Agric. Colon. 2: 151 (1908); Fl. Trop. E. Africa, Palmae: 23 (1986); Palm. Afr. 25 (1995). – Icon.: Palm. Afr. 156 (1995).
Synonym: H. migiurtina Chiov.
This is an imperfectly studied taxon almost only known from the original description (cf. Beccari, 1908). It is apparently different from all other Hyphaene in its creeping habit, the several arms of the dichotomies radiating outwards from a central point, the stem flattened, tending to lie on the surface of the ground. Additional material is critical for a better understanding of this taxon.
This palm grows in extreme arid, desert conditions and associated with perched water tables.
The species is sometimes confused at vegetative stage with Borassus aethiopum, from which it can be distinguished by the presence of red dark rounded scales in the lamina and very indistinct lateral veins.
Hyphaene reptans is apparently restricted to Kenya, with reports to be confirmed in Somalia and Arabia.
No information has been reported on the economic importance of this species and in general it remains a poorly known palm that requires further study.
Fig. 1. Distribution of Hyphaene reptans (based on Stauffer et al., 2014)