Pritchardia sp. 'Rimatara'


 
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Rimatara Fan Palm
(Pritchardia sp.)

 
syn. -

 
distribution:

Austral Islands: Rimatara

 
local name: -

 
size: (?)

extinction date: ca. 1800 (?)

 
The island of Rimatara, in the Austral archipelago, harbours only a single (at least probably) indigenous species of palm today, the Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera (L.)).

Excavations in the Maunutu swamp, in the northwest of the island, did produce the pollen of three additional palm species, two of which are close relatives of the Coconut Palm, but are not identical with it, the third can be assigned to the genus Pritchardia, which today does not exist anymore in the Austral archipelago.

The last of these Pritchardia pollen can be dated to the beginning of the 19. century, the time, when the first Europeans settled on the island and introduced several new plant species.

 
References:

- M. Prebble; J. L. Dowe: The late Quaternary decline and extinction of palms on oceanic Pacific islands. Science Reviews 27: 2546-2567. 2008