Licuala cabalionii

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Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
cabalionii (cah-bah-lee-OHN-ee)
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Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, Pattaya, Thailand. Photo by Dr. Scott Zona
Scientific Classification
Genus: Licuala (lik-oo-AH-lah)
cabalionii (cah-bah-lee-OHN-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Vanuatu, on the islands of Vanua Lava (in littoral forest at sealevel on volcanic soils)
Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens, Pattaya, Thailand. Photo by Paul Craft.
and Malekula (in rainforest to 250 m above sea level on volcanic soils). Endemic. (John L. Dowe 1993)


Stem solitary, erect to slightly reclining, to 5 m tall, to 8 cm in diam., portion below leaves retaining decaying leaf-bases, proximal portion smooth, light brown,/gray. Leaves to 12 in a loose crown; petiole very long and thin, to 3 m long to I cm wide in distal portion, irregular marginal spines only at the base; leaf-blade segmented; segments to 12, symmetrically arranged, central segment twice or more times broader than lateral segments which become progressively narrower toward the leaf margins, all segments slightly pendulous. Inflorescence interfoliar, pendulous, to 1.8 m long, five once-branched branches; bracts subtending primary and seiondary branches tubular, remaining green during fruit development and maturity. Flowers pedicellate, single, spirally arranged, sepals fused to one-third their length, apex rounded, to 12 mm long, petals fused badally, apex valvate, pointed to 4 mm Iong. Fruit yellow,/orange when ripe, globose, to l0 mm in diam.; endocarp brittle with few longitudinal ridges. Seed to 6 mm in diam., testa intruding into endosperm below the raphe. Eophyll plicate, Ieaf dividing early. (John L. Dowe 1993) Editing by edric.


Tropical Moist Forest, Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Licuala cabalionii is named for Pierre Cabalion (born 1947), French ethnopharmacologist whose work in Vanuatu has been an important contribution to the Flora of Vanuatu Project. (John L. Dowe 1993)

A medium-sized fan palm native to the islands of Vanua Lava and Malekula, Vanuatu, in the South West Pacific, where it forms dense populations at low elevations in littoral forest and rainforest respectively. It grows a slender, solitary trunk to about 5 m tall which holds a spreading crown of large, circular fan leaves that are split to the base into several broad, wedge-shaped segments. (

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. 1989a. Palms of the south-west pacific: their origin, distribution and description.

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

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