A monotypic genus of palms, and one of the oldest fossil flowering plants. It has an underground, dichotomously branched, horizontal rhizome, erect tufts, and big, pinnate leaves, useful for thatch. The inflorescences are erect, with separate, clustered, male and female flowers. There are 3 carpels. The fruits are angular nuts held in big, globose heads. Sugar or toddy is obtainable from the sap. M. fruticans inhabits mangrove swamps from Bangladesh to the Solomon and Mariana Islands, with fossils in Africa, America, and England (in the London Clay).
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.