Raphia regalis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Arecales Arecaceae

Scientific Name: Raphia regalis Becc.
Common Name(s):
English Raphia Palm
French Palmier Raphia
Taxonomic Source(s): Tuley, P. 1995. Palms of Africa. Trendrin, St.Ives.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Darbyshire, I.
Reviewer(s): Maunder, M. & Zona, S. (Palm Red List Authority)
First described from a 1910 collection from the Oban area, Nigeria, this species was thought extinct in that country until a conscious effort to rediscover it in the 1970s by Otedoh proved successful, it being recorded in large numbers (at that time) in the Equi Issu hills near the Cameroonian border. In Cameroon it appears restricted to the Bakossi Mountains, where it has been collected at Ngomboku and recorded at Nyandong. It is also known from Gabon and Angola (Cabinda). The total area of occupancy is estimated to be < 2,000 km², and it is known from less than ten highly fragmented locations.

This highly distinctive palm, with no aerial trunk and with leaves rating amongst the largest in the plant kingdom, is likely under-recorded due to difficulties in collecting specimens of it, and in the fact that it has received limited taxonomic attention, being treated only briefly in Otedoh’s revision of the genus Raphia (Journal of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research 6(22), 1982), with no specimen citations.

Continuing decline is inferred because of extensive forest clearance for timber and for agricultural expansion in Nigeria and Bakossi. Selective felling for use in building and tapping of palm wine, mainly in Nigeria, poses a serious threat. The species may well be more threatened than the current lisiting indicates.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Nigeria, Cross River State: Oban (1 coll.), Equi Issu Hills (1 coll.); Cameroon, S.W. Province: Bakossi (1 coll., 1 additional site record), E. Province: Djouo, nr. Somalono (1 coll.); Gabon: Nyanga (1 coll.); Congo (Brazzaville): ‘Nschaggebod’ (1 coll.); Angola (Cabinda): Nkanda Mbaku (1 coll.).
Countries occurrence:
Angola (Cabinda); Cameroon; Congo; Gabon; Nigeria
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Occurs in mid-elevation wet forest, often on ridges, where it may be gregarious; 500–850 m alt.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A full survey of the populations of this taxon should be carried out throughout its range; this should not prove difficult as the species is so distinctive. This will likely lead to the discovery of more sites, thus the conservation assessment may be downgraded in the future. Local populations should be encouraged to use the commoner R. hookeri in preference to R. regalis in building and palm wine production.

Citation: Darbyshire, I. 2004. Raphia regalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T46200A11039901. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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