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Morphology and Histology of parushaka - Phoenix pusilla Gaertn.

parushaka :

Cultivated tree Photograph by: Rachael Moore


P. pusilla is an evergreen, solitary or clustering, shrubby soloniferous palm tree with a very 
short unbranched stem up to 3-6 meters tall and 30 cm in diameter that is thickly clothed with old leaf sheaths.18The leaves are 3 meter long pinnate. Leaf sheath is fibrous and reddish brown. Rachis 
is with one or more pairs of spines. Leaflets more or less irregularly arranged (subopposite), on each 
side of the rachis, quadrifarious proximally, sword-shaped with very sharp needle-like apices, rigid, 
pale grey with an orange-red pulvinus at the junction with the rachis. Staminate flowers are ovoid, yellow-white, calyx 1-1.5 mm high; petals 4-5 x2-3 mm ovate, with rounded apices. Pistillate 
flowers are greenish mostly in the distal half of rachilla; calyx 1.2 mm high; petals 2 x 3-4 mm. 
Fruits aremoderately fleshy, sweet with a flavour of chestnut,ovoid, 11-15 x 5-8 mm, dull purple, black when ripe in the months of July and August.20,21Seeds are ovoid 8-12 x 6 mm,with round 
apices, pinkish-brown when fresh, drying glossychestnut-brown. They are cartilaginous, grooved 
longitudinally with a small elevation on the middle of the back. Endosperm is homogeneous. 
Phoenix is propagated by pre-soaking seeds for 24 hours before sowing. The optimal temperature for seed germination is 21-27 C.22 The flowering season is from November to January. The Palm produces a mat of fibrous roots that anchors it firmly to the substratum.  

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