Basselinia gracilis

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Basselinia (bas-seh-lin-EE-ah)
gracilis (grah-SIHL-iss)
Mt Warning Caldera Nth NSW Australia. Photo by Pete, edric.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Basselinia (bas-seh-lin-EE-ah)
gracilis (grah-SIHL-iss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate/Bifid
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Basselinia gracilis is endemic to the island of New Caledonia, Basselinia gracilis
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grows in rain forest from sea level up to about 5000 feet/1524 meters. This species is widespread throughout the mainland. habitat In humid forest. Substrate: On ground more or less deep or rocky substrate on ultramafic and sedimentary.


A highly variable palm, Basselinia gracilis is usually a clustering palm relatively small in stature. Leaves may be entirely pinnate or as simple as just bifid. Pinnate varieties exibit few leaflets that are a bit cupped and slightly "S" shaped. The crownshaft may exibit many colors including grey, purple, yellow, green & orange accented w/ black spots. Small palm stem simple, or more often in tufts of 2-8 stems repeated, up to 8 m with a trunk 1 to 10 cm in diam. cicatrices visible leaf separated by internodes to 3 cm. Leaves 5 ​​to 11 per crown, ascending and spreading, 9 to 120 cm long, bearing 15 February quills more or less stiff, divided or not, variable in shape; sheath of 9-45 cm long, densely covered with scales dark purple or blackish outside, yellow, orange or orange-red within. Phenology (flower) 1 to 3 inflorecences present at different stages of maturation on one stem, erect or pendulous, from 11 to 42 cm long, with 9-13 branches, more or less densely covered with brown or reddish scales. fruits Fruit dark red to black when mature, spherical, 5-6 mm in diam., With the stigmatic residue offset laterally in the upper third; seeds globose. Editing by edric.


Reportedly the easiest Basselinia species to grow, B. gracilis still takes very specific conditions in order to look its best. Exposure to sun (or even too bright of light) coupled with low humidity levels will lead to burnt leaves or at least leaf tips. Constantly moist soil in a well protected spot will lead to the best results. This palm is a good candidate for indoor culture if regularly misted or taken outside and sprayed off.

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Comments and Curiosities

Variations in leaf forms coincide with the elevation at which they are found. Larger pinnate palms, being found closer to sea level and smaller simple leaf palms being found at higher elevations.

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).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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