Livistona nasmophila

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Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah)
nasmophila (nahs-moh-FILL-ah)
Mt. Gladys, Western, Australia.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah)
nasmophila (nahs-moh-FILL-ah)
Old name, Livistona mariae subsp. occidentalis (2004)
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Palmate
Survivability index
Common names
Mt. Gladys Palm

Habitat and Distribution

These palms occur in the central Kimberley region of Western Australia and western Northern Territory.
Livistona nasmophila, Palmetum, Townsville, QLD, Australia. 21/10/14. Photo by Russell Cumming.
There are good populations on at Zebedee springs on El Questro station, north-western Western Australia.

Western Australia. In the Durack Ra. and Cambridge Gulfarea. Along intermittent or permanent water courses, in open forest, occurs in very large colonies in some areas, 50-200 m alt. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.


Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 30 m tall, 30-65 cm in diameter; breast high, leaf scars raised, internodes broad, grey, petiole stubs persistent in basal 1 m or so, otherwise deciduous. Leaves 35-55 in a globose crown; petiole 165-230 cm long, 4-10 cm wide, adaxially flat, margins with single or double retrorsely recurved reddish spines confined to the proximal portion, margin distally smooth; leaf-base fibres moderately prominent, coarse, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, circular, 130-175 cm diam., undulate, rigidly coriaceous, adaxially glossy grey-green, abaxially dull grey to glaucous; lamina divided for about 48% of its length, with 52- 58 segments, depth of apical cleft ca 48% of the segment length, apical lobes at first rigid, becoming semi-pendulous with age or damage; parallel veins 7-9 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not sexually dimorphic, 260-300 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 5 orders; partial inflorescences 9-11; peduncular bracts 1 or lacking; rachis bracts loosely tubular, with scattered long scales, becoming fully glabrous with age, not disintegrating or becoming marginally lacerate; rachillae 5-9 cm long, glabrous. Flowers in clusters of 4-6, globose, angular in bud, 1.4-1.5 mm long, cream to yellow; sepals broadly ovate, about 1.2 mm long, thin, acute; petals triangular, 1.4-1.5 mm long, obtuse; stamens about 0.9 mm long. Fruit globose, 11-14 mm in diam., purple-black; epicarp with scattered lenticellular pores; mesocarp fibrous, dry; endocarp thin, crustaceous; pedicel to 1 mm long. Seed globose, 7-11 mm wide. Eophyll not seen. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Rodd (1998) established this taxon as L. mariae subsp. occidentalis, based on the collection Rodd 2868, from Mt King, Western Australia. In the protologue, Rodd wrote: "Recognition of this population as a separate subspecies on the basis of a single wild collection (and one from cultivation) is arguably rather premature". Following subsequent fieldwork in the Kimberleys, with collections of fruit and flowers from both wild and cultivated sources, it became apparent that this taxon was distinct enough from both L. mariae and L. rigida to be raised to species rank. However, the correct nomenclatural procedure would have been to take Rodd's varietal name 'occidentalis' and use it as the specific epithet, but the name 'Livistona occidentalis' had previously been used by Hooker (1884) as a synonym for Brahea dulcis Mart. and was therefore unavailable. The new name, 'nasmophila' was chosen to illustrate the palm's habit of occupying permanent watercourses fed by springs through much of its range. Livistona nasmophila is a large canopy palm to 30 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are rigid to semi-pendulous, and with a bifurcate cleft to 48% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 11 partial inflorescences; bracts are loosely tubular; flowers are cream to yellow; fruit are globose to 14 mm in diam., and purple black at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

Phenology: Flowers Jul-Oct; fruits Oct-Dec.

Conservation: Lower risk, conservation dependent. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.

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).

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.

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