Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Palmaces, a well-defined order of spadici- ' floral Monocotyledons, called by Linnaeus "the princes of the vegetable kingdom," and comprising over 1,000 species, chiefly natives of the tropics. They have mostly cylindric, unbranched stems, bearing a tuft of large, often gigantic, leathery leaves at the top, the leaves being torn into segments either palmately or pinnately arranged. The flowers are either bisexual or unisexual, and are borne on a spadix which is often branched and is enclosed in a membranous spathe. There is a somewhat inconspicuous greenish perianth of six leaves in two whorls, six stamens, usually three carpels, and only a single albuminous seed with a small embryo. In some cases, as in Chamcero/js huutilis, the only European palm, the stem is short; in others, as in the rattans (q.v.), it is slender, or even climbs by hooked prickles. The leaves are sometimes scattered, and in most cases have a fibrous sheathing base to the leaf-stalk. The terminal leaf-bud is the "cabbage" which, in some species, is eaten. The fruit varies very much, being either a nuculane with a hard seed, as in the date (q.v.), drupaceous (but syncarpous and with a fibrous mesocarp), as in the cocoa-nut (q.v.), or covered with woody reflexed scales, as in the sagopalm. The perisperm of the seed is generally hard and oily, as in the "flesh" of the cocoa-nut; but that of the date, which is mainly cellulose, and that of the vegetable-ivory is still harder. The uses of palms are innumerable. Beams, veneers, canes, thatch, fibre for cordage and matting, fans, hats, bowls, spoons, sago, sugar, wine, spirits, food, oil and wax are only some among the number. The date and the areca-, cocoa-, coquilla- and corozo-nuts are treated separately. Elceis guineensis is the African oil-palm, So.gus Rmnphii the chief of the East Indian sago-palms; the genus Calamus yields rattan-canes (q.v.), and Caryota (q.v.), palm-wine and Indian gut.