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Calyptrocalyx polyphyllus Becc.

Family Name: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Common Name: Giagiau, Apolop, Pirare, Peliah, Belin Eddi

Calyptrocalyx polyphyllus, also known as Giagiau, is an ornamental palm with clustering habit. The young leaves emerge red and gradually turn green as they mature. The leaflet is narrowly lanceolate and tapers towards the tip, forming a prominent filamentous drip tip.

Semi Shade Moderate Water Ornamental Leaves Clustering Habit Palm


Family Name
Genus Epithet
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Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Palm
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 4 m


Native Distribution Papua New Guinea
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a clustering palm, up to 4 m tall, with 2 – 5 stems and 7 – 10 leaves on its crown.
Foliage The leaf is green, feather shaped (pinnate), about 60 – 100 cm long with 10 – 21 pairs of leaflets which are evenly spaced. Each leaflet is broadly sigmoid or narrowly lanceolate (about 40 – 45 cm long and 14 – 18 mm wide) which tapers towards the tip forming a prominent filamentous drip tip. The leaf stalk (petiole) is 2 – 12 cm long and shallowed channelled on the upper surface. The young leaf emerges red and gradually turn green.
Flowers The inflorescence is solitary (single spiked), 75 – 100 cm long and occurs between the leaves (interfoliar). Both male and female flowers occur on the same plant (monoecious). However, the male flowers mature first and are completely shed before the female flowers mature (protandrous). Both male and female flowers are white and small (about 5 mm wide). Male flower has 10 – 16 stamens and said to have an odour, while female flower has 3 – 9 tooth-like staminodes.
Fruits Fruit is oval shaped (about 0.9 – 1.1 cm long and 0.6 cm wide) with a beak. It ripens scarlet red and contains one seed within. The seed is oval-shaped (about 0.8 cm long and 0.5 cm wide) with ruminate endosperm.
Taxonomy The type specimen of this species was destroyed during World War II when the Berlin Herbarium was burnt.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology The genus is Greek for a veil and calyx, with reference to the hooded appearance of the bracts that subtend the flowers in the type species, C. spicatus. The species epithet means elegant. The specific epithet, in Greek, means many leaves, referring to the numerous pinnae or leaflets of the leaf.
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious ( In Papua New Guinea, the local villages used the stems to make spears. )

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Small Gardens

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate to Slow


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Foliar Shape(s)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Palm) Clustering Habit


References Dowe, J.L. & Ferrero, M.D. (2001). Revision of Calyptrocalyx and the New Guinea species of Linospadix (Linospadicinae: Arecoideae: Arecaceae). Blumea 46(2): 207–251.

Image Repository



Master ID 33241
Species ID 7655
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 22 June 2022.