| Veitchia (veet-KEE-ah) |
Floribunda Nursery, Hawaii. Jeff Marcus giving scale. Photo by Geoff Stein.
Habitat and DistributionFiji Islands ( Viti Levu, Kandavu, Ovalau and Beqa). It grows in small
Veitchia vitiensis is a small attractive but rarely grown Fijian palm closely related and perhaps not distinct from Veitchia filifera. Trunk: Solitary, slender, very thin, slightly tapering, up to about 15 m tall and 7-20 cm in diameter (4-5 cm in diameter below the crownshaft), base not swollen. Crown: With about 8 arching fronds. Crownshaft: The petioles are totally encircling the stem and from a nice purply, speckled crownshaft about 32 cm tall. Leaves: 2-4 m long, petiole short densely tomentose with brown hairs as is the rachis, laminas 120-350 cm long, pinnae (leaflets) 30-40 on each side of the rachis, the median ones about 40-45 cm long and 6-6,5 cm wide, upper leaflets smaller, the terminal pair 12 cm long, opposite or alternatively inserted, widely spaced and nearly horizontal, narrow at the base more or less truncaded toward the apex, almost glabrous or with minute hairs at the base near the rachis. Inflorescence: Infrafoliar, much branched, glabrous, panicle; peduncle short; branches 1or 2-branched, nearly straight; rachillae 5-15 cm long with 12-25 flowering nodes in a spiral pattern. Flowers: Staminate flowers (Male) subtended by a 0,5 mm long bracteole each with about 24 stamens. Pistillate flowers (female) sepals 1,5 mm high, 2,5 mm wide. Petals 3,5-4 mm high, 3,5-4 mm wide, the margins minutely ciliolate toward the base. Fruits: Small roundish to ellipsoid about twice as long as broad tapered to the base (11-)13-14(-19) mm wide and 5-7 mm in diameter. Subtended by a loosely cup-shaped perianth when dry; exocarp drying, endocarp very thin, papery, adherent in whole or in part to the seed. Seeds: Ellipsoid 8 mm long, 5 mm in diameter. (llifle.com) Editing by edric.
Not very commonly grown this palm is an excellent fast growing plant suited for warm, sheltered and moist tropical gardens. Soil: It is suitable for well-drained soils (clay; loam; sand; slightly alkaline or acidic) except those that are constantly soggy.
Light: Prefers half-sun but will take some shade. If home-grown, give some morning sun as with most tropical palms. Seedlings like a more sheltered area.
Drought tolerance: In cultivation it hates low humidity. This palm appreciates regular waterings but once established will tolerate periods of drought if not prolonged.
Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements.
Aerosol salt tolerance: It has a scarce salt tolerance, it does a lot better inland then it does on the coast.
Hardiness: Very cold sensitive, and so it is only really suited to the tropics in frost-free regions (USDA Zones 10-12)
Maintenance: Remove dried fronds if needed, but usually it is self cleaning.
Roots: Surface roots are usually not a problem.
Propagation: Fresh seeds germinate quickly within 1 to 3 months and the seedlings are attractive. (llifle.com)
Comments and Curiosities
Use: This is an excellent palm sought after by palm collectors, but scarcely known in cultivation. Its neat appearance and stature makes it perfect for use in courtyards, atriums, specimen and close to swimming pools. It is may also be closely planted in groups of two or three or planted as a landscape palm along streets or sidewalks, highways, roadsides, roundabouts and road dividers. Food uses: Palm heart, seeds, and inflorescences are all edible.
Disease & Pests: Hardly bothered by diseases and pests . Scales can infest and spoil young palms.
Conservation: On the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1998 (Lower Risk/least concern). (llifle.com)
A smaller Veitchia native to Viti Levu, Fiji, closely related and perhaps not distinct from V. filifera.
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.