Solitary, monoecious, unarmed, pleonanthic tree palm. Stem 6-10 m tall, 10-15 cm dbh, brown to grey, with slightly to moderately prominent leaf scars. Leaves 8-10, arcuately spreading, regularly pinnate. Leaf sheath caducous, forming a loose to rather prominent, somewhat swollen crownshaft, covered abaxially with a dense and short brown or grey tomentum, 0.5-0.7 m long; petiole concave adaxially, prominently winged by sheath extensions, 15-20 cm long; rachis slightly to strongly recurved, 1.6-1.9 m long; pinnae 25-35 on each side, regularly arranged, moderately stiff, directed forward and upward, light green; medifixed or longifixed ramenta scarce, restricted to the base of nerves abaxially; basal pinnae 38-40 x 2 cm, median pinnae 64-66 x 4 cm wide, apical pinnae ca. 40-42 x 2 cm. Inflorescences 1-3 simultaneously, infrafoliar, to 50 cm long and 60 cm wide; stiffly spreading, divaricate, covered with a velutinous, brownish-grey, hairy-scaly indument; peduncle 10-12 cm long, flattened; prophyll incompletely encircling peduncle at insertion, peduncular bract rostrate; rachis ca. 10 cm long, with 5-10 first-order branches; rachillae 20-36 cm long. Staminate flowers 5-6 mm long; 4.5-5 mm diam. at late bud; sepals 3.5-3.8 mm long, 2.5 mm wide, ovate-oblong, slightly acute towards the apex, distinct, imbricate, strongly cucullate at early bud stage; petals 5 mm long, 3 mm wide, elliptic, glabrous, connate up to mid-height, valvate at the apex; stamens 6-7, 3.5-4 mm long, filaments 2 mm long, 1 mm diam., connate at the base for 2 mm, cylindrical, apically connecting to the anther through a 1 mm long, laminar articulation; anthers 2 mm long, 1 mm wide, dorsifixed, bifid at the base and apex, latrorse; pistillode 2.5-3 mm long, 2 mm diam. at mid-height, ovoid, with no stigmatic branches differentiated. Pistillate flowers 4-5 mm long, 4 mm diam. in late bud, borne throughout the rachillae, supported with a short stalk; sepals 3.8-4 mm long, 3.5-3.8 mm wide, circular-oblong, only shortly connate at the base, distinct, imbricate; petals 3.8-4 mm long, 3.6-3.8 mm wide, distinct, imbricate but open at the apex; staminodes 3-6 at one side of the gynoecium, shortly connate at the base, 1.2 long, 1 mm wide at the base, acute at the apex; tooth-like; gynoecium syncarpous, 3.5-3.8 mm long, 3.5 mm diam., globose, 3-locular; stigmas 3, poorly differentiated, recurved, shortly papillate on the ventral side. Fruit globose, 13 mm diam., bright red at maturity, with lateral stigmatic remains.
Only known from the upper slopes of Mont Panié, above 900 m elevation on the eastern side and above 1400 m elevation on the western side, almost reaching the summit (1628 m), in cloud forest on schistose rocks, dominated by Agathis montana de Laub (Araucariaceae). The species grows abundantly as a canopy-emergent component. It replaces Basselinia velutina, which grows at a lower elevation on Mont Panié. Basselinia moorei is the fourth endemic palm species described from Mont Panié (the others are B. favieri H. E Moore, Clinosperma macrocarpa (H. E. Moore) J.-C. Pintaud & W. J. Baker and Kentiopsis piersoniorum J.-C. Pintaud & Hodel), further emphasizing the significance of this mountain as a biodiversity and conservation hotspot (PINTAUD & al., 2001).
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