Chuniophoenix hainanensis

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hainanensis (high-nah-NEN-sis)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chuniophoenix
hainanensis (high-nah-NEN-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Chuniophoenix hainanensis is found only in the Sub-tropical rainforest on Hainan Island,
South China Botanical Garden.
Southern China. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Very ornamental clustering palmate palm, with remarkably white petioles and undersides of leaves. stems up to 4m tall and 15 cm in diameter, and with large, deeply cut leaves up to 120 cm across. leaves are much more divided and spread out than in the other Chuniophoenix: nana. No spines are sharp edges on this plant. Stems are about 4-5 cm in diameter. This palm grows to well over 10' tall in a tropical climate, but it is unknown how tall it can grow in a Mediterranean climate such as Southern California, where its growth rate is a tiny fraction of what it is in the tropics. (Geoff Stein 17:52, 18 September 2007 (PDT) Editing by edric.


Southern California experience: This is one of two species of Chuniophoenix, and though it is the larger one, it is by far the more slow-growing. Palms take many years to even reach 4' in height, which is only 1/2 or less of their potential height. It is surprisingly cold tolerant handling temps in the mid 20Fs for extended periods of time with little or no damage. I don't think the true low temp is known yet. It likes a lot of water, and is not too happy about full sun, particularly in inland climates. Wind shreds the leaves a bit, but it is surprisingly tolerant otherwise. (Geoff Stein September 2007)

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

A very special palm from Hainan Island, China which everyone will want to grow. It is probably one of the best palms for container growing and is excellent in the conservatory. In warm temperate to tropical areas, it makes a superb specimen palm and with its deeply cut fan-shaped leaves, it resembles nothing more than a huge Rhapis excelsa. However, in summer, large bunches of bright red, cherry-size fruits are produced, transforming it from the merely unusual to the frankly spectacular. Bushy in habit, its maximum height is only about 10-15 feet. (

This is a tillering palm, it exhibits saxophone style root growth (it has a heel), keep top third of heel above soil elevation!

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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