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Useful Tropical Plants

Metroxylon amicarum

(H.Wendl.) Hook.f.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Coelococcus amicarum (H.Wendl.) W.Wight

Coelococcus carolinensis Dingler

Metroxylon carolinense (Dingler) Becc.

Sagus amicarum H.Wendl.

Common Name:

Metroxylon amicarum
Cultivated tree in Hawaii
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons License
Metroxylon amicarum Metroxylon amicarum Metroxylon amicarum Metroxylon amicarum

General Information

Metroxylon amicarum is a solitary-stemmed, evergreen palm tree producing a crown of leaves up to 7 metres long on top of an unbranched trunk that can be 12 - 33 metres tall and 30 - 36cm in diameter[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
A very important tree for the local economy of native people, providing them with food, medicines and a wide range of other materials. Commonly harvested from the wild for its many uses, the tree is also cultivated, especially for the seed which is used in making buttons.
This is a scarce, endemic species, native only to Ponape and Truk in the Caroline Islands, growing in areas that are remote and unattractive for settlement[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. The tree is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

West Pacific - Caroline Islands.

Habitat

Moist forest at elevations up to 550 metres in mountainous areas[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. Freshwater wetlands, either coastal or moist upland rainforest[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusVulnerable
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height25.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the humid, tropical, lowland forests, able to succeed at elevations up to 700 metres[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 5,000mm, and does not tolerate more than a short dry period[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. It prefers a mean annual temperature of around 25°c with a minimum of 17°c. It is not tolerant of frost, though it can succeed in cooler areas of the tropics such as Hawaii, but then grows more slowly[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Prefers a relatively sunny position[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Succeeds in a wide range of soils, preferring medium to heavy soils with somewhat impeded drainage[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. It can persist on well drained, poor quality materials including sand, clay, or 'aï' lava[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. It will grow in soil that is periodically inundated by salt water as long as fresh water flow is more prevalent[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Plants are not very tolerant of water shortage, but nor do they like inundation for more than short periods[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Succeeds in a wide range of pH, from 4 - 7.4[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Plants are tolerant of strong, salt-laden winds[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Plants usually take 12 - 15 years to come to flowering maturity from seed, though in ideal conditions this can be reduced to about 10 years[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Unlike other members of this genus, which flower once and then die, this species is able to flower for a number of years before dying[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
The seeds can be transported by water from one island to another[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Judging by the plants natural range, the seed viability is likely to be fairly short in salt water[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Edible Uses

Sago is sometimes prepared from the pith of this tree. It is said to keep well and not to be injured by salt water[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is considered a valuable food to take on canoe journeys[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Not as productive as the sago palm (Metroxylon sagu), it is more likely to be viewed as an emergency food[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

The apical meristems or palm hearts are large and soft. The trees may be harvested prior to maturation exclusively for
this purpose, with the meristem and several feet of the immature leaves being used. These palm hearts are used locally or are sold in local markets. They are eaten raw as a vegetable or cooked with other foods, often in curries[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Harvesting the palm heart leads to the death of the tree since it is unable to produce side branches[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Immature seeds are sometimes eaten by children[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

Medicinal

The roots, young leaves, and stem cork are used for traditional medicine[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Especially when in wetter soils, the roots help to stabilize the soil by trapping silt[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Young palms, with their numerous spines, act as effective barriers for livestock and potential trespassers. As the palms mature and develop above-ground stems, new palms may be planted adjacent to the juveniles to maintain the spininess of the fence[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

Other Uses

The large, very hard, ivory-like seeds are used to make a range of carved items and also to make buttons[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

The leaves and their petioles have a wide range of applications. In particular, they are one of the major sources of thatch, roofs made from these leaves are said to last for 5 years[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. In addition, the leaflets can be woven into temporary baskets or used to line cooking pits[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Gourd bottle-corks/stoppers are made from lightly rolled discs of sago leaves[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Whole leaves are used to cover and protect dry-stored canoes[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
The leaf sheaths are commonly covered externally with rough spines and/or rib-like protuberances. These rough sheaths have served as rasps in the preparation of sago and other food products that must be grated[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
The stiff, hard midribs may be used to make brooms, may serve as temporary sewing needles or pins, or may be used as thatch sheet skewers[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
The smooth inner surface of the sheaths can be used as temporary containers, and as kneading boards for bread made from sago[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Children sometimes make surfboards from the petiole base (leaf sheath) that can be up to one metre wide[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Bats, balls, and rafts are made by children from the leaf base[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

The wood (outer cortex) of the stems is used as flooring and as planking for crossing short streams or swampy areas. The wood is not reported as being long lasting or durable, but is employed as a by-product by those who extract starch. Wood has also been used as house rafters and as wall material, although this is an infrequent usage[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
The bark can be used as a fuel[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].

Propagation

The seed loses its viability rapidly when stored and does not tolerate dry conditions. It is best sown as soon as it falls from the tree, usually germinating within 1 - 2 months[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. They germinate best at a temperature of 30°c, though temperatures above 38°c can harm the seeds[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
]. Seeds sometimes germinate whilst still attached to the infructescence and can grow to a height of 90 - 120cm before falling to the ground[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Germination can be speeded up if the seed husk is removed and the covering over the embryo is loosened. Care should be taken not to damage the embryo[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
The large seed size and rapid early growth mean this species is well suited for direct-seeding in the field, assuming
conditions are consistently moist. Seedlings can also be germinated in a nursery and transplanted bareroot. They transplant well as long as the roots are not bound[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Plants should be planted out as soon as possible. Although best planted out whilst fairly small, specimens with several sub-mature leaves 1 - 2 metres long and a well developed root system have been successfully planted out[
312
Title
Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands
Publication
 
Author
Elevitch. Craig. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Permanent Agriculture Resources, Hawaii
Year
2006
ISBN
0970254458
Description
Beautifully produced book with superb photos and detailed information on over 50 species of useful plants of the Pacific Islands.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2020-05-25. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Metroxylon+amicarum>

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