Hydriastele ramsayi

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Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
ramsayi (ramz'-ee)
Northern Territory, Australia. Photo by Philippe Alvarez.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Hydriastele (high-dree-Ah-STEL-eh)
ramsayi (ramz'-ee)
Old name Gronophyllum ramsayi.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Northern Kentia Palm, gronnos

Habitat and Distribution

Northern Territory, Australia. Open eucalypt forest and rainforest edges.
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo by Daryl O'Connor.



Domesticating this species has proved slow, mainly due to the horrendous germination rate, 1% being usual, and this after waiting 12 months or more. Seed is planted in deep trays, as long brittle roots are formed. When finally the first strap leaf appears, extra care is needed moving them into pots, using one big enough to accommodate two years growth. Lightly fertilize and keep damp until 4 to 6 stiff bifid leaves are produced. Then they are planted out in dappled shade, as further growth seems unlikely, After gaining only 1 or 2 leaves in their first year they accelerate into more than normal growth rates, producing longer, pinnate, arching leaves. Plentiful water, good drainage and light fertilizing are necessary. (Palms & Cycads), edric.

Comments and Curiosities

"Firstly let me explain something. Hydriastele ramsayi grows in one of the most inhospitable hot climates on earth and trying to germinate seed has proven to be almost impossible out of it's own backyard. If you do have a plant, your chances of growing one succesfully would or should normally prove to be very difficult indeed, one would have to emulate the same type of environment, same soil, same heat, same humidity when needed. So what has our newest bestest honorary ratpack friend Craig from near Noosa done ? Well ladies and gees, he has done just that, he is growing one of these beauties so well, you'd think we were in Kakadu national park." (Walter John Donovan), see photos "Craig's palm" below.

"This is a majestic palm that grows in open woodland under extreme heat conditions. When we were there, we measured the temperature and humidity with a highly accurate electronic scientific thermometer. At the time it was 39°C (102°F) with 40% relative humidity ...stifling temperatures. Everything was hot to the touch, and the ground temperature was way in excess of 50°C (120°F). The wet season is still another month away, so the landscape is not as green as it can be, but some recent showers have taken away the scorched look. These palms were growing in almost pure sand, and could be found in all stages of development, from seedlings, through to young plants, juveniles and age-old monsters. Anyway, here are a few photos to give you a better idea of the growing conditions and the natural beauty of these palms." (Daryl O'Connor)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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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