Useful and abundant, African ‘Zam’ palm newly described for science

The large and widely used Raphia zamiana, a.k.a Zam along a road near Oyem, Gabon, with co-author Raoul Niangadouma for scale. More on the Zam.More about Raphia palms: Credit: Thomas L.P. Couvreur

Common sight along road sides in south Cameroon and western Gabon, and growing in hard-to-be-missed dense colonies, it remains a mystery how this locally useful new palm species Raphia zamiana (locally known as “Zam”) has been missed by botanists until now, with its first collection dating to 2012. The overlooked giant has been recently described in the open access journal PhytoKeys, alongside a shy and rare…

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