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Cabbage Tree Palm

Livistona australis
Cabbage Tree Palm

This palm has shiny green, fan-shaped leaves, about a metre across, each segment ending in a long, drooping tip. The leaf-stalk is 1-2-m long, thick and stiff, with very sharp prickles along each edge. The trunk is grey and narrow, with fissures running up the trunk and growth ridges around the trunk.

In early spring, a large, branched spray of cream flowers arches up among the green fronds. In summer, attractive new leaves shoot up from the crown and, in autumn-winter,the black, globular fruits (1-2 cm diameter) are ripe.

Livistona australis is the most southerly of the native palms. It usually grows in frost-free areas but it does seem to survive in some places on the plateau if it has shelter when it is young. The species can be grown, from cleaned fresh seed, which should germinate in 1-3 months.

Distribution: Northeastern Vic to Fraser Island (Qld).