Borrasodendron borneense  ARECACEAE (PALMS)

Local name:  Bindang, Bandang or Bendang

The large bare seed (pyrene) on the left is from Kuala Papar beach on the west coast of Sabah. The small fruit on the right  is from a palm growing at Samboja lestari near Balikpapan inE Kalimantan. Most fruit are larger than the individual in the photograph ( up to 11 cm width) and contain 3 separate (slightly triangular) seeds covered in dense hairs.

Borasodendron borneense seeds are found as riverine drift seeds throughout Borneo. The palm itself is  found throughout lowland forests Borneo but is generally scarce  and only locally common in the more seasonal dry forests of  East  and Central Kalimantan.

Range: Borrasodendron borneense is endemic to Borneo.  See Dransfield (1972) The genus Borassodendron in Malesia

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The TYPE collection from Mile 14 Bintulu-Miri new road made on 09 April 1968 by John Dransfield who also took the photograph above which is stored in the Kew Herbarium database.

Elephants and Borassodendron borneeense: Seven species of closely related Borassus (5 species)  and Borassodendron (2 species)  palms grow from Africa to New Guinea   and evolved to be dispersed by elephants. There is no other animal in Borneo large enough to swallow this fruit whole and the widespread presence of this beautiful palm in the virgin lowland forests of Kalimantan, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah is compelling evidence that elephants were once widespread throughout the lowland forests of Borneo before they were wiped out by human hunters.

NOTE: Two different species of Borassus grow respectively in Madagascar and New Guinea. Even though there are no elephants in Madagascar these palms were able to survive via dispersal by the  now extinct Elephant birds of the  ratite family Aepyornithidae,  that once lived on the island of Madagascar.

In New Guinea they are dispersed by Cassowaries. See Pangau-Adam & Muhlenberg (2014) -Palm species in the diet of the Northern Cassowary

Note that this palm is not cultivated anywhere in Borneo although wild Bindang palms are frequently felled by humans to collect the growing bud (Local: ubud) or palm heart which is eaten as a salad. Orangutans also eat the growth  bud during leans seasons between fruit masts, thereby also destroying the palm.

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Borasodendron borneense growing wild in secondary forest at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Centre near Balikpapn in  East Kalimantan.
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Borasodendron borneense  at Samboja Lestari Orangutan Centre near Balikpapan.  This young palm was fruiting  heavily when we visited.