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CURLY PALM (Howea belmoreana)
Biodiversity > Plants > Trees

Curly palm Howea belmoreana

Howea belmoreana                             Curly palm


A tall feather-leaved palm with a trunk to 12m high, 15cm thick, ringed by leaf scars. An endemic genus of two species on Lord Howe Island. Named after  Belmore, a N.S.W. senator . A common palm, generally found on sloping sites with basalt soils, up to about 400m. Easily recognised by the leaflets which curl up off the midrib, in contrast to the Thatch palm where they hang down. Leaves 3 to 5m long, strongly arched in an erect crown. Leaflets linear 30-60cm long, 3cm wide, crowded, directed up in a V shape and curling outward. Inflorescence: several simple spikes to 1.5m long, arising from the axils of the lower leaves, later displayed below the leaves as they drop off. Flowers (Nov-Dec) globular, 5mm, unisexual and arranged in triads of two males and one female in a recess, arranged spirally along the spike. Male creamy brown with 3 overlapping sepals and petals, numerous short stamens, sweet smelling. Female has 3 sepals and 3 petals crowded around a one-celled ovary with a 3 lobed stigma. fruit an ellipsoid drupe 3-4cm long, with a short point on the end, ripening to brown, sometimes red. The male flowers drop off when the pollen has been shed and then the female bud below develops and becomes receptive a year later. up to 150 seeds may result on a spike, depending on pollination, abortion, predation and wind.

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