Compact and niu leka Dwarfs in Kiribati

Here are pictures and information on Compact Dwarf and Niu Leka Dwarfs in Kiribati. For more general information on Compact Dwarfs, please see the dedicated section and HD poster in the main menu of the website.

Niu Leka Dwarfs were introduced in 1967 from Fiji and 2 hectares planted near Bikenibeu, Tarawa. They showed poor growth with severe symptoms of nutrients deficiency. The block was used as nutrition experiment. It was severely affected by drought in 1973.

Different forms of Compact or Niu Leka Dwarfs are still found in North Tarawa. An additional characteristics is quite often meet (but not always), the leaflets jointed when the leaf is young and even later.

Brown and green forms

Brow Compact Dwarf with fused leaflets when the leaf is young
There is a strong variability in the fruits, with in particular a form meet in several countries with very round fruits and a specific brown color. It seems that the green forms are much less productive than the brown form, because we tried long time to find a good green palm to photograph, and we saw mostly green palms bearing very few fruits when dozens or brown palms are full of fruits. Two reasons can explain this situation:

  • The brown forms are more advanced varieties and easier to bred than the green one;
  • The niu leka of Compact Green variety is preferred for toddy production, so many palms bear only a few fruits. 

Surprisingly, they are plenty of the variety called "Kiribati Green Dwarf", a very small coconut with thin trunk, arounf the houses in Tarawa. But the Kiribati people are rarely  using this variety for toddy production. In Tuvalu the same small Green Dwarf if very appreciated for toddy. Tuvaluans are saying "with this variety, even an old men can make his own toddy". Tarawa people seems to prefer the Green niu leka, with thick stem and inflorescence, for making toddy.

Crown of Brown Compact Dwarf

Another for of Brown Compact Dwarf
 with rounder fruits of green brown color when young

Another for of Brown Compact Dwarf
 with rounder fruits of green brown color when young

Green Compact Dwarf or niu leka with moderate fused leaflets

Bunches of the Green Compact Dwarf or niu leka 
The rarest red form
For several reasons, this form is particularly precious; it can serve for establishing a new kind of seed gardens. The form available in Kiribati have a variable degree of fused leaflets and oval shaped fruits. Villagers are probably using both the color of the sprout and the this fused leaflet to select the palm at the nursery stage. Sometimes palms from the same parent show various degree of fused leaflets.

Rarest Red compact Dwarf with fused leaflets when the leafs are young

Fruits of the Compact Red Dwarf
Crown of the Compact Red Dwarf
with bunches having short peduncles.

Here is a progeny of 5 palms very probably coming from the same
 Compact Red Dwarf parent. One have no fused leaflet,
 two moderate and two (the smallests) excessive fused leaflet
  (1.356188° 172.922107°)

Excessive fused leaflets with negative effect on growth and production

There is a place where plenty of these palms (at least a dozen) are available: (1.363772° 173.106938°). Some of the palms with strong fused leaflets are bearing fruits.

A dozen of palm is available here: (1.363772° 173.106938°)

Rare palms with pronounced fused leaflet and bearing fruits