Mitchell Krog

Hyphaene petersiana (Real Fan Palm / Makalani Palm) - Etosha, Namibia - In Infrared

The Real fan palm (Hyphaene petersiana), locally known as the Makalani palm, is a palm tree native to the subtropical, lowlying regions of south central Africa. They are found in open woodland, flood plains, banks of rivers and the fringes of pans and swamps.

As with other Hyphaene spp., they are dioicous and the female plants produce copious fruit. Up to 2,000 fruit may be found on a tree, the combined yield of about four seasons. The seeds germinate with difficulty, but find saline conditions beneficial. They develop massive tap-roots, which draw saline water deep underground. Though slow-growing, they may attain a maximum height of 18m. Typical adult plants are in the order of 5-7m high.

The plants are utilized by humans and animals. Repeated cutting of the growth point to obtain sap for palm wine production, may eventually destroy the trees. The stem pith is edible and the young fruit contain limited amounts of liquid, comparable to coconut milk. The Ovambo people call the fruit of the Makalani Palm eendunga and use it to distill Ombike, their traditional liquor.

The species is similar to H. natalensis, which occurs to the southeast. It is however distinguishable by the shape of the fruit; round rather than pear-shaped, and the shape of the stem, as the stem regularly bulges out below the foliage. B. aethiopum has a comparable stem shape.

This image captured in Etosha National Park in Namibia.

Information from Wikipedia.

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