A clump-forming, short, water-loving, fast growing, dioecious, forest understorey, nonclimbing palm. Not known in cultivation, locally common in the wild. It has spiny, green stems, 0.6 m. (2 ft.) tall, 2.5 cm. (1 inch) diameter with no obvious leaf scars, and large segmented, pinnate (feather) leaves, 1.5 m. (5 ft.) long, 0.3 m. (1 ft.) wide, light green above and beneath. Flagella absent Cirri absent.
This is a clustering species with a none climbing stem that is covered with yellow spines. The whole leaves are erect 0.5-1.5 m long. The plumose leaflets are often in groups of 2-3 above three prominent veins, the middle one with stiff, erect, golden spines. Similar erect spines on margins. Largest leaflets being 15-23 cm x 0.8-1.5 cm. Petiole of upper leaves is 10-90 cm long. Inflorescence is erect 0.4-1.1 m long with no flagellum, and entire primary bracts. Fruit is 1.2 cm long and 0,9 cm wide. Covered in dull whitish scales (yellow when dry) with fine dark margins. The species shares similarities to C. salicifolious and C. viminalis.
Calamus acanthophyllus can tolerate close to freezing conditions. But low temperatures are best avoided. It naturally occurs in wet rainforest or seasonally wet forest in low montane locations. In this type of natural environment temperature fluctuations are slight, and this palm prefers a constantly cool or mild climate with little temperature difference between day & night, and Summer & Winter. Under extreme cold conditions we recommend you keep this palm as dry as possible, and well wrapped up.
Found in dry open forest and bamboo scrub below 200 m. Often in areas with regular fires. In Laos and Thailand and south to the border of Cambodia, but is not recorded there. It is locally used to make brooms, the shoots can be eaten and the root can be used to treat malaria, but has otherwise no commercial uses. It is not known in cultivation.
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