Deckenia nobilis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Deckenia nobilis
Species Authority: H.Wendl. ex Seem.
Common Name(s):
English Cabbage Palm, Millionaire's Salad
Iriartea nobilis (H.Wendl. ex Seem.) N.E.Br.
Taxonomic Notes: The only species in the genus Deckenia representing a unique evolutionary lineage.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2007-02-01
Assessor(s): Ismail, S., Huber, M.J. & Mougal, J.
Reviewer(s): Baker, W.J. & Lutz, M.L.
Deckenia nobilis is endemic to the Seychelles, and is found on Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette, La Digue, Curieuse and Félicité (six locations). The extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) were not measured but they are estimated to be less than 20,000 km² and 2,000 km² respectively (the total area of the six islands is 232 km²). This species is experiencing a decline in the quality of its habitat due to the invasion of alien species, human settlements, infrastructure and tourism. In the past, harvesting of edible palm hearts (Millionaire’s Salad) was an important threat to this species, but it is now legally protected. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable.
1998 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Seychelles, and is found on the islands of Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette, La Digue, Curieuse and Félicité (Robertson 1989, Dogley and Matatiken 2006). The EOO and the AOO were not determined, but the total area of the six islands is 232 km2 (National Statistics Bureau 2005).

In 1994, the species was recorded in 36 sites of total 73 surveyed areas of special conservation value (Carlström 1996). This represents the broad distribution of D. nobilis that still can be observed.
Seychelles (Seychelles (main island group))
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The current population trend is unknown. It has recently established in new areas. In the Vallée de Mai National Park, the increase in abundance between 1985 and 2005 ranks first compared with the other endemic palms (Fleischmann et al. 2005). But this situation is of course not representative for Seychelles lowland habitats, which are affected by a number of threats.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Erect palm tree sometimes up to 30-40 m tall but frequently much smaller. It was probably one of the co-dominant species in the canopy in the former forests of the drier type on well-drained soils and on exposed cliff ledges at low and intermediate altitudes from sea level up to 600 m. The species is dispersed by frugivores (Kronauer 2005).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Palm hearts were used for the original Millionaire’s Salad. Fallen leaf bases were frequently used in the past as water containers. Nowadays some individuals are removed from wild populations for ornamental reasons.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is not highly threatened at the moment. It has a restricted range and threats like the reduction of habitat by invasive species, human settlements, infrastructure and tourism development occur at low rates. It was exploited for food (Millionaire’s Salad) and horticultural reasons in the past. The exploitation is now prohibited (Laws of Seychelles 1991).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is legally protected (Laws of Seychelles 1991) and is represented in the Morne Seychellois and the Praslin National Parks and in the Curieuse Marine National Park.

Bibliography [top]

Carlström, A. 1996. Areas of Special Conservation Value for the Plants of the Granitic Seychelles. Report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Division of Environment, Victoria, Seychelles.

Carlström, A. 1996. Endemic and Threatened Plant Species on the Granitic Seychelles. Report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Division of Environment, Victoria, Seychelles.

Dogley, D. and Matatiken, D. 2006. Guide to Endemic Palms and Screw Pines of the Seychelles Granitic Islands. Plant Conservation Action Group, Victoria.

Fleischmann, K., Edwards, P.J., Ramseier, D. and Kollmann, J. 2005. Stand structure, species diversity and regeneration of an endemic palm forest on the Seychelles. African Journal of Ecology 43: 291-301.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Kronauer, L. 2005. Seed Dispersal of Native versus Exotic Plants in the Seychelles. Master Thesis ETH Zurich.

Laws of Seychelles. 1991. Breadfruit and other Trees (protection) Act 1917; Chapter 18, Revised Edition. SPACE The Government Printer, Victoria, Seychelles.

Robertson, S.A. 1989. Flowering plants of the Seychelles. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.

Citation: Ismail, S., Huber, M.J. & Mougal, J. 2011. Deckenia nobilis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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