Licuala sallehana

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Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
sallehana (sahl-leh-AHN-ah)
December expedition to eastern Malaysia. Photo by Jeff Marcus of Floribunda Palms
Scientific Classification
Genus: Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
sallehana (sahl-leh-AHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Entire, costapalmate.
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Peninsular Malaysia Terengganu, Hulu Terengganu, Ulu
Poonsak, Thailand.
Terengganu. Eastern rainforests.


Clustering palm with stem to 1 m tall. Stem postrating or reclining in older individuals. 6 to 15 leaves to crown. Leaf-sheath net-like. Petiole to about 70 cm long, base green in colour. Blade undissected, rhomboid in shape. Leaves very distinct. Flowers yellow in colour, young fruits bright pink in colour. Maturing fruits globose with coarse surface, dark colour almost black. Lowland dipterocarp forest. Growing sympatrically with Licuala malayana. ( Editing by edric.


Tropical Moist Forest, Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b Not often seen in cultivation.

Comments and Curiosities

There are two subspecies, Licuala sallehana var. sallehana, and Licuala sallehana var. incisifolia.

One of the most sublime and amazing of all palms, this dwarf species from the understory of lowland rainforests in Terengganu on the Malay Peninsula easily rivals such gems as Licuala cordata or L. mattanensis "Mapu". It forms a dense cluster of underground stems that produce many upright, narrow, completely undivided, paddle-shaped leaves to about 1.5 m tall which are dark green above and silvery white scaly below. This leaf shape is unique in Licuala and the plants stunningly resemble a cluster of small Johannesteijsmannia magnifica. Licuala sallehana is very rare and endangered by deforestation and uprooting by wild pigs. (

"Licuala is tolerant of being in a deep shade to a rather exposed location and L. sallehana is no exception.Plants grown in shade develop longer petioles which I find to be more attractive. The trade off is that the palms seldom flower in a very shady location. Light exposure produces a more compact plant and encourages it to flower." (K T Yap)

External Links


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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