Cyphosperma balansae

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balansae (bah-LAHN-seh)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Australia. Photo by Dr. Jean-Christophe Pintaud/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Cyphosperma
balansae (bah-LAHN-seh)
Cyphokentia bractealis
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Cyphosperma balansae is endemic to New Caledonia, this species is found in northeastern,
Photo by Daryl_O'Connor.
and central part of the Grande Terre, (the main island). In the undergrowth of the rainforest Substratum: In deep ultramafic substrate, but primarily in vulcano-sedimentary substrate.


Hight: Up to 12 m., with a dark green to purplish black trunk, prominently ringed by leaf scars, light gold, almost white, environmental conditions determine variability of these features, 9-20 cm. in diam., crown holds 10 to 20 leaves, tristichous, (in sets of 3), slightly spread but erect, and un-arched, 1.5 to 3 m. long, 24 to 35 pinnae on each side, with a petiole 7.5 to 40 cm. long, it has an extended petiole, almost no crownshaft, again environmental conditions determine this feature, but it is covered with a purplish brown tomentum at the base, green towards the top. Inflorescences 1-16, arise from beneath the petiole, arched and hanging, with a stalk 1-2 m. long, brown, from 22 to 34 branches, glabrous, more or less forked. Fruit nearly globular, 1 to 1.2 cm. in diam., Red when ripe; seed thick, 9 x 8 x 6 mm. Editing by edric.


An easy grow, once past the seedling stage, save Hawaii, as long as the temps. don't get to high, or to low, or too much sun when young. Seeds germinating readily, however it is very rarely seen in cultivation. I know that with the South Florida heat and humidity, or perhaps the minimum temperature range between the daytime high and the evening low temperatures, this palm suffers here. I planted one out as a seedling in shade, and even there, it is failing.

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Comments and Curiosities

A palm from New Caledonia that is easily distinguished from others on the Island by its stiffly ascending leaves, its lack of a crownshaft and its long, arching infloresecences. Even though very rare in cultivation, it is not difficult to germinate and maintain. (

"So far all the New Caledonia palms I have grown have fared well here. They have a bit of hardiness and proved to be cool hardy after the 2009-10 winter. So barring a severe, 12/89 type freeze or a drop below 25F the NC palms should be well here in protected locations. Hopefully Cyposperma balansae isn't any different." (Leu Gardens Botanist Eric S.)

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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