Carpentaria acuminata

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Carpentaria (kahr-pen-tahr-EE-ah)
acuminata (ah-koo-mih-NAHT-ah)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Carpentaria (kahr-pen-tahr-EE-ah)
acuminata (ah-koo-mih-NAHT-ah)
Kentia acuminata
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Carpentaria Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Carpentaria acuminata is found on the Escape Cliffs, NE of Darwin, Northern Territory,
"The snake is a Carpet Snake, or Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)...the large trunk in the photo belongs to Carpentaria acuminata and the thinner trunks are Ptychosperma macarthurii." Gold Coast, Hinterland, Queensland, Australia. Photo by Daryl O'Connor.
Australia. Occurs in the top end of the NT. Altitudinal range, from near sea level to 200 m. Grows in canopy or subcanopy of rainforest, Allosyncarpia forest, vine forest and swamp forest on sandy to heavy clay loam soils.


Solitary palm, 9-30 m tall, 15-20 cm diam. breast high, grey to light tan with widely spaced rings. Leaves 10-12 per crown, pinnate, 2-4 m long, narrow, arching, 40-60 x 1.2-1.5 cm long, deep green. Crownshaft smooth, green. Inflorescence arise from the upper leaf bases, and then progressively hanging down 1-2 m long, with flower clusters. 90-120 cm long peduncle, heavily branched, beneath the crown shaft bearing white male and female flowers. Flowers about 10 mm across. Sepals 3, petals 3 and the flowers in groups of 3, with 1 female between 2 male flowers. Male flowers with 30-40 stamens. Fruit globular and up to 20 mm in diameter, scarlet when ripe with up to 3 seeds within. Seeds smooth. Editing by edric.


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The red fruit is planted in trays, defleshing is wise but not essential, as the flesh can burn sensitive skin. Bifid leaves will appear in 3 or 4 months, the seedlings are then tubed. Heavy shading results in long red petioles and large dark bifid leaves for 18 months before a pinnate leaf develops. Once they have filled a 200mm pot they will be about 2 years old, 2m tall, have some pinnate leaves and be ready to plant out. Heavy irrigation, fertilizer and mulch are required for best results. It establishes easily in gardens and is handsome in all stages of its rapid growth. Until the palm reaches maturity, the leaves are spaced evenly up the trunk, with the leaflets lying flat. As it ages, a crownshaft develops, the leaves arch and the pinnae rise to form a "V". Transplanting older specimens is usually successful. Carpentarias can be used indoors, being popular with plant hire companies triple planted. In a community of mixed species they will outgrow the others, adding height to the garden quickly. When spaced out in the sun as an avenue, the Carpie will grow uniformly, its self cleaning habit a bonus.

Comments and Curiosities

This is a monotypic genus.

May be confused with Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, which has pink to lavender flowers and all linear leaflets, rather than white to greenish-white flowers and broad apical leaflets in Carpentaria acuminata; Veitchia sp. which have leaflets that are drooping, rather than held in a V-shape.

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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