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 Erythea armata S. Wats. (Piazza Roma, Catania. Photo P. Pavone)

Palm inflorescences are conspicuous and branched, usually consisting of racemose panicles or at times spadix-like spikes, enveloped and protected by one to several coriaceous or woody bracts, called spathes, as the inflorescence develops they come to be confined at basal end.

Inflorescences usually develop in among the leaves, at times beneath or above them; they may be solitary or multiple. In a number of climbing palms, such as Calamus, inflorescences may be modified into an elongated organ, much like a whip, armed with downward curving spines, known as flagellum, whose function is that of helping the plant to climb onto nearby vegetation.