| Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah) |
Blackdown National Park, Blackdown Tableland, central Queensland, Australia. Photo by Dianne Hoy
Habitat and Distribution
Livistona fulva is from the Blackdown Tablelands west of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. Grows in moist sites in open forest and woodland, in gullies and gorges near streams and waterfalls at cliff bases; confined to sandstone areas, 400-900 m alt. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.
Livistona fulva occurs mainly along sandstone cliff-lines, on rocky foot-slopes below cliffs, in shallow rocky gullies of the Blackdown Tableland, and in deep sandstone gorges below major waterfalls around the edge of the plateau. Most occurrences are at altitudes between 300 and 600 m asl. The species grows in moderately tall eucalypt forest, dominated principally by a stringybark, Eucalyptus sphaerocarpa.
- A very colourful Livistona, the lower surfaces of the leaves are an orange-bronze colour, as shown in these photos.
Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 13 m tall, 20-25 cm in diameter; breast high, leaf scars raised, internodes narrow, grey or brown, petiole stubs deciduous. Leaves 25-35 in a globose crown; petiole 150-250 cm long, 12-15 mm wide, adaxially moderately ridged, basal margins armed with single, curved black spines; leaf-base fibres moderately prominent, fine, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, circular in outline, 90-100 cm long, coriaceous, adaxially greyish green to glaucous, coppery brown floccose tomentum abaxially; lamina divided for 50-55% of its length, with 60-66 segments, depth of apical cleft 3-5% of the segment length, apical lobes acute to acuminate, rigid; parallel veins 8-9 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not exually dimorphic, 100-230 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 4 orders; partial inflorescences 7-9; peduncular bract 1, loosely sheathing, with orange-brown scales; rachis bracts loosely sheathing, with orange-brown scales; rachillae 5-16 cm long, papillose. Flowers solitary or in clusters of 2-3, funnel-shaped, yellow, 1.6-2 mm long; sepals narrowly triangular, 1.0-1.3 mm long, membranous, acute; petals broadly ovate, 1.6-2 mm long, thick, acute; stamens about 1.6 mm long. Fruit globose, 12-16 mm in diam., pruinose dull black; epicarp smooth; suture line not obvious; mesocarp thin, fibrous; endocarp thin, crustaceous. Seed globose, 10-13 mm wide. Eophyll 5-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Livistona fulva was described by Rodd (1998) based on Rodd 3062 from Blackdown Tableland, and named for the coppery brown floccose tomentum on the abaxial surface of the leaf. The relationships of L. fulva are unclear, but it is most similar to L. muelleri in having a flat rigid lamina, to L. decora in inflorescence size and morphology, and to L. victoriae in overall size and fruit morphology. Livistona fulva is a moderate sub-canopy palm to 13 m tall; leaves are moderate and regularly segmented, and with coppery brown floccose tomentum abaxially; segment apices are rigid, and with a bifurcate cleft to only 5% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 9 partial inflorescences; bracts are loosely sheathing; flowers are yellow; fruit are globose to 16 mm in diam., and pruinose dull black at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.
Growth rate: slow. Sunlight: full sun. Water: moderate. Cold Tolerance: 26° F. Seed or plant availability: rare in cultivation.
- This has proven to be a very hardy palm throughout Queensland, surviving heat, cold, drought without so much as a brown leaf tip.
Comments and Curiosities
Phenology: Flowers Sep-Feb; fruits Dec-May.
Conservation: Lower risk, conservation dependent. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.
Processes that are threats to Livistona fulva include: too frequent fires that prevent seed set and kill juveniles; high visitor usage may introduce invasive plants and trampling of seedlings may occur; restricted distribution of the species makes it prone to stochastic events and; inappropriate legal collection practices (Halford, 1997; Forster, 2009).
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Livistona, this Australian species has a very different appearance with an orderly crown of circular fan leaves with stiffly held segments, perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the Argentinian Copernicia alba. A particularly attractive feature is the striking golden or orange brown fur on the leaf undersides. (RPS.com)
"This is one of my favorite Livistonas- has less divided and stiffer palm leaves than most other species, and the newest leaves have an ornamental rust to coppery color on the underside of the leaves. As a seedling it is especially attractive having a relatively sparse head of slight drooping leaves, stiff, nearly circular leaves and a thin trunk (max diameter a foot). From an area of northern Australia called Blackdown Tableland. Moderately fast grower with some good cold tolerance, but certainly not nearly the most cold tolerant Livistona, at least in Southern California. Temps down to 25F for 7-8 hours defoliated and killed the spike on this palm, so seriously doubt it could tolerate anything down below 20F." (Geoff Stein)
Blackdown Tablelands, Queensland - Latitude 23 Deg south -Dry Tropics.
In central Queensland, are the the Blackdown Tablelands. These tablelands rise to 3000 ft above sea level. Although they are located right on the Tropic of Capricorn, their height and inland location cools the climate down, and the weather is substantially cooler and wetter than the surrounding plains.
There are many unique plants growing on these tablelands, and from a palm perspective, they are the home of Livistona fulva, also known as Livistona sp. "Blackdown". This palm is one of the more attractive members of the genus, with stiff leaves which have a bronze waxy surface under the leaf. On the tablelands they grow to approximately 60ft tall, the trunk smooth and approximately 10-12 inches thick.
"This palm is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, from high heat and humidity down to below freezing temperatures. Given suitable water and fertiliser, it grows at a reasonable rate." (Daryl O'Connor)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- Click on Arecaceae, for list of photos
- Revision of Livistona (Arecaceae) in Australia, By Dr. A.N. Rodd
- Australian Palms, By John Leslie Dowe
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).
Dowe, J.L., A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae). A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.