GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS OF SAGO PALM (METROXYLON SAGU ROTTB.) SPINES IN RELATION TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITION AND DEVELOPMENTAL STAGEULOMODDIN A. SILONGAN AND ANNABELLE U. NOVERO
The sago palm (Metroxylon sagu Rottb.) is an important food crop in some parts of Asia and an emerging crop in the Philippines. Not much is known about its genetics including the presence of spine, a potential breeding parameter. Qualitative and quantitative characteristics of spines in sago palm from two sites, Prosperidad, Agusandel Sur, a hydric (wet) environment and Sta. Cruz, Davaodel Sur, a mesic (dry) environment were recorded. Qualitative characteristics included spine type and location. Quantitative characteristics noted were the number of clumps of spines, length of the clumps, distance of the clumps from each other, number of spines (long and short) and length of spines (long and short). Three patterns of distribution of spines on the palm frond were observed: regular, irregular and slanting position. The observation of more spines on mature palms in a wetter environment (Agusan) affirmed the role of spines in sago palm as storage structures for excess water rather than as defense mechanism against herbivores.
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