The magnificent ribbon fan palm
by PU Chien. Posted on July 22, 2012, Sunday
THIS is an interesting and graceful beauty for the garden. A native of Queensland, Australia, it has actually adapted well to the local tropical landscape.
It produces costapalmate leaves, meaning the leaves are midway between fan- or palm-shaped and pinnate or feather-like. This gives the plant morphological advantages in terms of the exposure of leaves to light as there are more surface areas available, aiding in photosynthesis.
This palm belongs to the family Arecaceae of the genus Livistona decipiens. The word decipiens is derived from Latin, meaning deceiving or deceptive. It refers to the original planting of this palm in France, which was misidentified as another palm species. Other names are weeping cabbage palm and fountain palm.
It can grow in full sunlight and partial shade to reach a height of 50 feet. The leaves are large with a width of up to seven feet across and a length of six feet, attached to a foot-long petiole or stalk.
The colour of the leaves is dark green on top and grey green on the underside. The trunk is light brown with dense leaf base scars encircling it at a diameter of one foot.
Male and female flowers appear on branching flower inflorescences that emerge among the leaves. The inflorescences are five to nine feet long and bear yellow blooms. The fruit is about half an inch in diameter and turns black when ripe.
The palm loves full sun and partial shade. It requires regular watering to speed up the growth rate.
Some problems such as fungal attacks on the leaves – where the leaves get a burnt look – can be handled with the application of fungicide on the bud.
This palm can only be propagated by seeds. Plant seeds in soil a quarter of an inch deep. Keep the medium moist and germination will occur in four to 10 weeks.
Indoor growing is possible where there is light, but it is best planted outdoors.
Plant in an opening among trees or up against a fence wall. This will be a good backdrop so that the palm’s beauty can be better appreciated.
It is also suitable for planting as a single plant as it has a tall and stately shape.
Small specimens do well in containers and grow rapidly too.
Tolerant to drought, the ribbon fan palm grows in a wide variety of well-drained soils and will grow faster with good irrigation.
The palm’s attractive and tough features make it both graceful and durable for any landscape. In addition, its drought tolerant nature is good for busy gardeners.
Oil palm has been identified as having the most commercial value among palms. It is actually a hybrid of the original father palm from an African source and a mother of American origin.
It was first introduced to the British colony of Malaya in 1848 by the Dutch and again by Scotsman William Sime and English banker Henry Darby at the Sime Darby plantation in the 1960s.
The botanical name is Elaeis from the Greek word meaning oil and it comprises two main species of the Arecaceae palm family. The African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) was used for hybridisation with the American oil palm (Elaeis oleifera).
Modern plantations make use of hybrid seeds from the parental palms Deli dura and pisifera species from Africa. The hybrid (DxP) is called tentera and has been the best since the 1970s.
Anyway, just some extra details for your information. Happy gardening.