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THATCH PALM (KENTIA PALM) (Howea forsteriana)
Biodiversity > Plants > Trees

Howea forsteriana

Howea forsteriana                               Thatch palm

A tall feather-leaved palm with a trunk to 15m high, 15cm thick. An endemic species, easily recognised by the leaflets dropping down off the midrib, in contrast to those of the Curly palm which point up and curl over. A widespread palm of the lowland preferring flat sites with calcarenite soils. This palm has long been favoured as an indoor potted plant as it is an attractive, hardy palm, tolerant to low levels of light and humidity.

Leaves compound, 3 to 5m long, the stalk slightly drooping to form a graceful crown; leaflets linear, 30-60cm long and 3cm wide, distinctly drooping down. Inflorescence: usually 3 to 5 flower spikes 1m long, fused at the base into a short, flattened stalk; arising from the axils of the leaf bases but later displayed below the foliage when the leaves drop off. Flowers (Aug-Oct) similar in structure to those of H. belmoreana. Fruit ellipsoid, 3-5cm long, evenly tapered to both ends, red when ripe.




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