Red List Status -

Vulnerable (VU) , assessed in 30/09/2016

Protected species -

in Southern Province , in Northern Province

Cyphophoenix nucele is an endemic solitary, understory to canopy tree palm that is restricted to Lifou Island, as the only native endemic palm to the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia. It is restricted to mesic forest on raised, coral limestone rocks at one locality (Jozip to Thuahaik Zone) at 50 m asl. The population size is not precisely known and good regeneration has been observed. Formerly classified as Critically Endangered (CR) due to a unique location, the knowledge on the species has increased since an action plan has been set up by Noe, a non-government organization, and locals in Jozip tribe having monitored their population. With an area of occupancy (AOO) and extent of occurrence (EOO) both equal to 8 km² and considering that this species does not seem globally threatened despite a potential impact by wild pigs and rats, Cyphophoenix nucele is considered Vulnerable (VU) according criteria D2.

Geographical area

Cyphophoenix nucele is the only palm native to the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia. It is an endemic tree palm known from one subpopulation that is restricted on Lifou Island ( from Jozip to Thuahaik Zone).


The population size is not precisely known although 113 mature individuals have been counted in the surveyed area. A good regeneration has been observed while there were some periods (2014, 2015) without seed production. The number of subpopulation is estimated to one.


Cyphophoenix is restricted to mesic forest on raised, coral limestone rocks at one locality, from Jozip to Thuahaik Zone, at 50 m asl.


Formerly harvested for its edible heart, this species does not seem overall threatened. The potential threats are the destruction of seeds by rats (observation of rats on infructescences), pigs that damage the habitats (regular pig slaughter observed on the area) and slash-and-burn agriculture that may destroy and reduce the habitats of C.nucele.


Cyphophoenix nucele is protected by legislation in Province Nord and Province Sud but not in Province des Iles since no legislation has been set up yet at the Loyalty Islands. It does not occur in a protected area. An action plan, set up by by Noe, a non-governmental organization, and locals in Jozip tribe to monitor their population and identify the threats has contributed to a better knowledge of the population of the species and of their threats. It has moreover resulted in the implementation of a nursery in Jozip. Its listing in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is recommended. Research work in phylogeny with suspected close species in Vanuatu (Anatom) is suggested.


Pintaud, J.-C., & Baker, W. J. 2008. A Revision of the Palm Genera (Arecaceae) of New Caledonia.. Kew bulletin(63) , p.61-73.

Pintaud, J.C. 1999. Phylogénie, biogéographie et écologie des palmiers de Nouvelle-Calédonie.

Hodel, D. R., & Pintaud. 1998. The palms of New Caledonia / Les palmiers de Nouvelle-Calédonie..

Pintaud, J.C. 2000. An introduction to the palms of New Caledonia.. Palms(44) , p.132-140.


Assessor(s): Amice, R., Canel, J., Ugolini, D., Butin, J., Fleurot, D., Garnier, D., Garnier, D., Goxe, J., Henry, B., Lespes, A., Letocart, D., Letocart, I., Mercier, B., Tiavouane, J., Veillon, J., Warimavute, G.

Reviewer(s): Tanguy, V.

Facilitator(s): Tanguy, V., Warimavute, G., Maura, J.

Geographical distribution