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Datasheet for Tapeinochilos

Plant Datasheet for Tapeinochilos

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Photo# 9326 Specimen# R0
Tapeinochilos at expeditions/ papua/ Dispatches/ Momberamo/ report.htm

BOTANICAL NAME: Tapeinochilos

The best source of botanical information I have found on this genus is a 1996 monograph by Osia Gideon: Systematics and Evolution of the Genus Tapeinochilos which was written as his PhD thesis at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. I only have a copy of the identification key to the species and have transcribed it on these pages. Dr. Gideon is listed on Linkedin at and has a Facebook page at He is with the University of Papua New Guinea as a senior lecturer according to his Facebook page and lives in Bogor, Indonesia.

The type species for this genus is Tapeinochilos pungens (Teijs. et Binn.) which is a synonym for T. ananassae according to Dr. Gideon. These plants are distributed in East Malesia, from the Sula Islands of the Moluccas Archipelago through New Guinea and eastwards to Vanuatu and southwards to tropical Australia (North Queensland). The genus is centered in New Guinea where over 80% of the species are found.

TAPEINOCHILOS Miq. Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd. Bat. 4:101, t. 4 (1868)
Tapeinochilus Benth. & Hook. f., Gen. 3:644 (1883).
Tubutubu Rumph., Herb. Amboin. 7:52 (1755).
Tapeinochilos is the name given to the genus by Miquel in 1868. Tapeinochilus is a spelling error made by Bentham and J.D. Hooker (son of W.J.) in 1883, and perpetuated by many other authors. Personally, I prefer the archaic name Tubutubu attributed to Rumphius (Herbarium Amboinense, 1755)!!!

Spelling at NYBG = "Tapeinocheilos"

Question raised on zingiber list- who is the world expert on Tapeinochilos? Brian Middleditch - The genus Tapeinochilos (not Tapeinochilus - a spelling error made by Bentham and the younger Hooker) had been largely ignored since Schuman revised it around the turn of the century. Miss Smith's two-page treatment of Tapeinochilos ananassae in volume 45 of the Flora of Australia (1987) is a classical example of her attention to historical detail and of her artwork.There has been almost nothing in the botanical literature on this genus since 1920. The major exception is Rosemary Smith's treatment of T. ananassae in the Flora of Australia (1987).

From: Michael Pascall Michael Ferrero from Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens gave a nice presentation on the Tapeinochilos of New Guinea at the Heliconia meeting. Michael Ferrero used to work at Flecker Botanical Gardens, he is pretty elusive. But could be contacted at He is more of an expert on Palms and Cycads, and has made many trips to New Guinea.

From: George Stamatis - a few of the names on your list of species soundfamiliar, I think most of them were growing at Flecker Botanic Gardens in Cairns. The most amazing thing about many of the Tapeinochilos is that their massive foliage resemble little trees because of the branching stems. If the clump is large it looks like a little group of young trees. I know that one of the species I have here is definitely T. recurvata, and the other T.ananasae, but I am unsure of the other two species. One has short hairs all over the foliage surfaces, so it may be T.pubescens. They all seem to grow easily from stem cuttings. I have only had blooms on my T. ananasae, the other species I am growing are still far too young to bloom.

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