Vietnam, Laos, along the lowlands of the Mekong River
Evergreen tree-like soft wooded perennial-palm
Trunk 2 - 3m, crown of leaves (fronds) 3 - 4m across.
A slender 2 - 3m tall trunk with arching 1.7m fronds at the crown.
Pinnate, to 1.7m long, with a short petiole covered in thin sharp spines, the leaflets linear dark green drooping at the tips. Leaflets are induplicate (folded upwards at the point of attachment).
These palms are dioecious, the well branched spadices arise from among the leaf bases (interfoliar), with creamy white flowers, during warm weather.
Small black ellipsoidal drupe (10 - 15mm long), edible but only has a thin layer of flesh.
Bark / Trunk:
A slender trunk 2 - 3m high, grey / brown covered in short peg-like leaf bases over its entire length, (usually solitary this palm has been known to sucker with age).
Vigour / Longevity:
Very slow to slow growing and long lived.
Prefers some shade when young, will grow well in part shade or sunny position when mature (foliage is often burnt at the tips in hot western sun positions), requires medium to bright light as an indoor plant.
Protect from cold winds and frosts, very tolerant of low light conditions and fairly hardy to neglect once established.
Soil / Drainage:
Any well drained soil, with a high organic content and reliable water.
Be very careful when removing old fronds, the spines on the petiole are very sharp. Do not cut too close to the trunk and ruin the peg pattern that will develop.
Best growth with reliable watering.
To improve the. vigour of this slow growing palm, grow it in the best possible conditions. For maximum vigour provide, moist high organic soils and at least part sun each day. Fertilise during the warm months with a complete fertiliser.
Pests / Diseases:
Brown scale and mealy bugs on neglected unhealthy plants.
Tropical effect plant, tubs, pots, avenues, shaded gardens, courtyards and small gardens. This is an excellent indoor plant, very slow growing and tolerating moderate to bright light. The spines can be removed if they present a problem.
© Text reproduced here with the kind permission of Tony Wilson and Barck Books.