Calyptrocalyx awa

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awa (AH-wah)
Jeff Marcus Garden (Floribunda Nursery), Hawaii. Photo by Paul Craft.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Calyptrocalyx
awa (AH-wah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clusteriing
Leaf type: Bifid
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Calyptrocalyx awa is found in New Guinea. West Sepik Province, Vanimo District, Pual River area, Wasimei.
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, Pattaya, Thailand. Photo by Dr. Scott Zona.
It grows as an understory palm in rain forests.


Trunk type: Clustering, dense. this is a small palm. Leaf detail: V-shaped, bifid leaf, light green. Requirements: Near full shade when young, filtered light when mature, consistently moist soil, well drained position, this is an understory palm. Editing by edric.

Calyptrocalyx awa is a small monoecious palm with, clustering habit and bifid leaves. Trunk: Clustered with a dominant stem and 2 to 5 basal sucker, green, cane-like, about 2-3 m in height and 20-30 mm in diameter, internodes up to 5 cm apart. Crown: Dense, with 8-11 leaves. Leaves: 90-129 long, 30-58 cm wide, semi-glossy light green on the upper surface, lighter dull green below, and nice orangy-red colored on new emergent leaves both in juvenile and adult plants, bifid or more or less irregularly segmented or pinnate, segment (leaflets) 2 -6 with 1-8 ribs per side not raised in the upper surface. Sheath 16-30 cm long; petiole 5-18 cm long adaxially channeled, abaxially rounded, rachis 50-69 cm long. Inflorescence: 40-70 cm long, interfoliar, usually 2-spiked, with unisexual flowers of both sexes; prophyll 17 cm long; peduncular bract up to 26 cm long; peduncle 10-20 cm and 3-4 mm in diameter; rachilla 30-50 cm long, 3,5-4,5 mm diameter. Both pistillate and staminate flowers have three sepals and three petals. Staminate flowers with small, rigid, red-tinged petals. Fruit: Widely spaced on the rachilla, globose, one-seeded,10-12 mm diameter epicarp smooth, thin; mesocarp moderately fibrous; fibres thick, aggregated toward the endocarp. Seeds: Globose, 7-10 mm diameter; endosperm homogeneous.


This is a rare palm mainly cultivated for its colourful new leaves by specialist palm growers and botanical gardens in tropical countries, but still scarcely known in cultivation. It is shade-loving palm adapt to tropical climates. Makes a nice, neat potted specimen plant for the tropics. Soil requirements: It has a fibrous root system and benefits from well drained deep fertile humus-rich soils, but thrives on wide range of tropical soils. Waterlogged, highly lateritic, extremely, stony or peaty soils should be avoided. Watering: They appreciate a consistently moist soil, but do not overwater. During the summer or warmer months, water frequently to keep the soil from drying out. Light: Shade or filtered light when young, though some will adapt to full sun as they mature. Seedlings like a more sheltered area. Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements. Aerosol salt tolerance: Not known. Wind tolerance: It needs wind protection. Dry winds easily damage or kill it. Hardiness: It is suited for tropical or subtropical climate (USDA Zones 10-11) and require protection from cold. Uses: None recorded. It is of no particular merit as a source of cane for rattan handicrafts. Garden uses: It is rarely cultivated, but is a very tropical looking excellent palm. Young plants have a small stature and the shape and colour of the leaves has the potential to be used as an ornamental plant. It is ideal where garden space is limited and a small plant is required.

Comments and Curiosities

Remarks: Seedling leaves have a metallic lustre that gradually fades as plants assume a size to about 30 cm tall.

A fantastic new and undescribed palm from New Guinea. It is a clustering undergrowth palm of very modest size that will ultimately reach about 3 m (10 ft.) tall. Its very thick and robust leaves are usually undivided and have a bluish tinge. The emerging leaves are colored in brilliant shades of pink. Despite its rarity, it is easy to grow and will be happy in a shady place in the tropical or warm subtropical garden. Like most Calyptrocalyx, it also does well indoors. (

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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