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The stem (or trunk), up to 50 m tall, is usually not branched, excepting in Hyphaene thebaica whose branches repeatedly bifurcate.
It quite varies in diameter; its growth across occurs somewhat earlier than that in height.
In acaulescent palms the stem does not grow in height instead it appears to be stout or even creeping and rhizomatous.
The stem may be thoroughly smooth or armed with spines or, conversely, marked by scars of fallen leaves, or again, more or less thickly enveloped by the remains of leaf sheaths.