Actinorhytis calapparia

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Actinorhytis {ahk-tin-oh-RITE-iss)
calapparia (kah-lahp-pahr-EE-ah)
Actinorhytis callaparia palm, on the roadside near Gihinathena, on the way to Hatton, Sri Lanka. Photo by Philippe.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Actinorhytis {ahk-tin-oh-RITE-iss)
calapparia (kah-lahp-pahr-EE-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Calappa Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Actinorhytis calapparia is found in New Guinea and the
Actinorhytis callaparia palm, on the roadside near Gihinathena, on the way to Hatton, Sri Lanka. Photo by Philippe.
Solomon Islands. Tropical rainforests from sea level to 1000 m (3000').


Actinorhytis calapparia originates from Papua New Guinea and The Soloman Islands, where it grows in low to mid elevation rainforests. It is a tall, solitary palm to 15m/48' and eventually grows above the canopy of the rainforest into full sun. The slender, light grey trunk only reaches 200mm/8" in diameter and is prominently ringed with the scars of old leaf bases. Above the trunk it forms a 900 mm/3' long, pale green crownshaft, similar in diameter to the trunk. The open crown is formed by a relatively small number of 3m/10' long, heavily recurved, pinnate leaves, which are dark green with several, narrow leaflets up to 450 mm/18" in length. A monoceious palm, it forms cream flowers of both sexes, which produce large, 75 mm/3" ovoid fruit that ripen to red or reddish purple. This is a reasonably fast growing species, given plenty of nutrients and moisture and, although it will take light frosts, it will not tolerate sustained periods of cold and is generally regarded as only suitable for tropical and warmer subtropical areas. Whilst it will take full sun at maturity, smaller plants require plenty of shade and will become easily damaged by exposure to direct sunlight. In cooler areas it can only really be used in large indoor atriums with plenty of available light and humidity. a slender feather palm, oval red fruits to 6 cm (2.5"). Editing by edric.


Cold sensitive, so it likes a sunny, well drained position in a tropical setting.

Comments and Curiosities

This is a monotypic genus.

A Betel Nut substitute, and becoming popular in Southeast Asia due to supposed magical medicinal powers.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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