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Phoenix atlantica or Tamareira, is an endangered species in the palm family Arecaceae, in the genus Phoenix. It is native to the Cape Verde Islands.

It is a relative of Phoenix dactylifera, the true date palm. P. atlantica is clearly distinct from its close relatives and that its closest relative is likely to be its nearest geographical neighbour, P. dactylifera.[1] The Cape Verde palm, is endemic to the Cape Verde Islands, and was erroneously characterized as a feral Phoenix dactylifera.[2][3] Three species of the genus Phoenix are recorded from the Cape Verde Islands, P. dactylifera L., P. canariensis Chabaud and P. atlantica A. Chev. While man has almost certainly introduced the former two species, the latter is endemic to the islands.[4] Genetic isolation of Cape Verde Island Phoenix atlantica (Arecaceae) was revealed by microsatellite markers and one chloroplast minisatellite marker to individuals of Phoenix from the Cape Verde Islands, P. dactylifera, P. canariensis and P. sylvestris, in order to assess the taxonomic position of P. atlantica within the genus. The DNA analysis by S. A. Henderson, N. Billotte and J.-C. Pintaud, demonstrated Genetic isolation of Tamareira Phoenix atlantica.[5]

Phoenix atlantica was first described in 1935 by the French botanist Auguste Chevalier. The Tamareira appearance is very similar to the palm Phoenix dactylifera, most similar in form to Phoenix dactylifera that Phoenix canariensis, possessing characters of both. Because this similarity it was included so long within this species. Tamareira is a clustering palm with 2 to 6 trunks, 5–15 m in height with dark green leaves 2–3 m in length. Phoenix atlantica can be distinguished easily from P. canariensis by its clustering growth form and its shorter, straighter leaves. The Canary Island date palm is adapted to climate wetter and cooler, enduring icy −8° c. The differences between P. atlantica and P. dactylifera is usually observed as it becomes more clustering like, other distinctions include acuminate petals in the male flowers according to Chevalier in 1935, Greuter in 1967, and Brochmann et al. in 1997. The fruit is an oval, pink drupe 2 cm long and 1 cm diameter and containing a single large seed, the fruit pulp is edible but scarce.[6]

Written on February 20th, 2012 , Botany, Forestry Tags:

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