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Aquatic Palms 4/6
Rheophytes are plants which grow in the flood zone of fast flowing streams and rivers, having special adaptations which allows them to survive the force of the current during the submerged period. Rheophytic palms have very flexible petioles (leaf stalks) that sway with the current and long loose leaflets which are usually very thin offering least resistance to the flow. They are generally small palms with a clustering habit.
In South East Asia there are a number of small Pinanga species that are rheophytes. They include P. rivularis (http://www.pacsoa.org.au/palms/Pinanga/rivularis.html) and P. tenella (http://www.pacsoa.org.au/palms/Pinanga/tenella.html). When the flood waters fall the leaves are whitish due to the minerals deposited on them while submerged. Areca rheophytica is also found in Borneo. In South America analogous small rheophytes include a number of Geonoma species such as G. linearis, G. schottiana and G. brevispatha (ref. Principes Oct 1994). Being understorey plants I assume that they would be adapted to low light conditions, and might therefore make interesting aquarium inhabitants. Unfortunately seeds of the afore mentioned species are not readily available.
Luckily however there are two other rheophytic palms which are more easily obtained.
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