This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, netted seed). Palmaceae. Areca-like palms, comprising several species of desirable pinnate house and table palms that are becoming deservedly well known.
Slender spineless palms, with a ringed trunk: leaves equally pinnatisect; segments linear-lanceolate, acuminate or bifid, the apical ones confluent; margins thickened, recurved at the base; midrib and nerves prominent, sparsely clothed with persistent scales beneath, or naked; rachis and petiole slender, scaly, 3-sided, furrowed, sheath elongated, entire: spadix on a short glabrous or tomentose peduncle, the branches erect or spreading and flexuose, the lower ones with membranaceous bracts at the base; spathes 2, complete, dorsally compressed, papery, the lower one 2-crested; flower-bearing areas much depressed; bracts and bractlets scaly; pistillate flowers rather large, white or yellowish: fruit scaly, small, olive-shaped or subglobose. - There are 6 or 8 species all from tropical Asia but only the following seem to be known in the trade. for cultivation, see Areca from which Dictyosperma differs only in having a 1-celled and 1-seeded fruit
Wendl. & Drude (Areca alba, Bory. Ptycho-sperma alba, Scheff.). Distinguished by the whitish petioles and the whitish green veins of the leaves: caudex about 30 ft. high, 8-9 in. diam., dilated at the base: leaves 8-12 ft. long; petiole 6-18 in. long, grooved down the face; segments 2 1/2-3 ft. long, 2-3 in. wide, 7-nerved; veins and margins green or reddish: branches of the spadix 6-18 in. long, erect or slightly reflexed, zigzag when young. - By far the best of the genus and rather widely sold as Areca as is also D. rubra.
Wendl. & Drude (Areca aurea, Hort.). Distinguished by the yellow or orange petioles and veins of young plants: caudex about 30 ft. high, smaller and more slender than the preceding: leaves 4-8 ft. long; petiole 8 in. long; segments 1 1/2-2 ft. long, 1 in. wide; secondary veins scarcely visible: branches of the spadix rigidly erect, 9-11 in. long.
Wendl. & Drude (Areca furfuracea, Hort.). Like D. rubra, but the petiole and If . - sheath of the young plant tomentose.
Wendl. & Drude (Areca rubra, Hort.). Resembling D. alba, but the leaves of the young plants darker green, the primary veins and margins dark red, the redness disappearing very much in adult plants: branches of the spadix longer and more reflexed. -Young plants of this may be used for table decorations as the plant grows quickly and is attractive in juvenile condition. Jared G. Smith.