Chambeyronia lepidota

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lepidota (lep-ih-DOHT-ah)
Location: Mont Panié. New Caledonia.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chambeyronia
lepidota (lep-ih-DOHT-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Chambeyronia lepidota is found in the undergrowth of the rainforest. On ground more or
Location: Mont Panié, Versant Ouest. New Caledonia.
less profound vulcano-sedimentary substrate, occurs on soils derived from schistose rocks at higher elevations, between 400 and 1500 m, in the humid east-central and north-east areas of New Caledonia.


A rather stout trunk, reddish brown, with leaf scars faint, and inconspicuous roots at the base. Trunk type: Solitary. Hight: To 35' (8 to 11 meters). The crownshaft is very robust, and coated with a red-brownish velvet (the word lepidota in Latin, means with scales). All the parts of the plant are much thicker, and stiffer than comparable parts of C. macrocarpa . Leaf detail: Pinnately compound, diametrically opposed, with mid-rib in center of pinnae, and blunt tip. Leaves 8-10, curved and spreading; petiole reddish brown, 45 cm long; sheath, (crownshaft), about 1 m, covered with a thick reddish-brown tomentum. Phenology: (flower) 2 to 3 inflorescences emerging under the leaves, branched, covered with a thick tomentum gray - brown. Fruits: Fruit obovoid or ellipsoid from 2.5 to 3.5 x 1.5 to 2.5 cm, red when ripe. Reproduction: Fruiting in July. Editing by edric.


Requirements: Filtered light when young, full sun when mature, consistently moist soil, well drained position. In cultivation, Chambeyronia lepidota is still extremely rare. Seeds of the high elevation form are particularly difficult to obtain as they are heavily predated upon by introduced rats. The seeds are very easy to germinate (no heat please), but rather slow growing afterwards. The high elevation form would do particularly well in cool tropical and many warm temperate climates, especially those where palms such as Rhopalostylis, Hedyscepe or Howea are known to succeed. Experience with its requirements is somewhat limited. It is very easy to germinate but rather slow growing afterwards and would do well in humid tropical and many warm temperate climates.

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Comments and Curiosities

This rare and little-known cousin of the Red Leaf Palm is a moderately large palm to 15 m (50 ft.) tall, with a slender, smooth trunk and a very neat, compact crown of ascending to slightly arching, distinctly keeled leaves with thick, leathery, stiff, very regularly arranged leaflets. A spectacular, thick, velvety reddish brown crownshaft supports the crown. Overall it resembles such palms as Rhopalostylis, Hedyscepe and Ceroxylon parvifrons.

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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