Livistona eastonii

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Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah)
eastonii (east-tohn'-ee)
Rare Palm
Scientific Classification
Genus: Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah)
eastonii (east-tohn'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Palmate
Survivability index
Common names
Lalayi, Mitchell Plateau Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Australia. Western Australia. In the Kimberley Region confined to the Mitchell Plateau to as far south as Doongan Stn. Grows in a strongly monsoonal climate in open woodland, usually on flat sites or depressions and forms extensive colonies, 100-380 m alt. Soils are lateritic in origin. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.

Mitchell Plateau, Kimberley, Western Australia.


Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 15 m tall, 10-15 cm in diameter; breast high, leaf scars raised, internodes narrow, grey, leaf-bases often persistent. Leaves 10-20 in a globose crown; petiole 50-200 cm long, 1.4-2 cm wide, arcuate, margins with single or double curved brown spines throughout its length but larger and closer in the proximal portion; leaf-base fibres moderately prominent, coarse, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, subcircular, 60-90 cm long, coriaceous, adaxially pale greyish green, abaxially lighter green, yellowish with age, pruinose, waxy; lamina divided for 50-90% of its length, with 40-50 segments, depth of apical cleft 49-63% of the segment length, apical lobes acute, rigid; parallel veins 5-9 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not sexually dimorphic, 100-200 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 4 orders; partial inflorescences 5-6; prophyll not seen; peduncular bract 1, tubular; rachis bracts tubular with scattered appressed scales; rachillae 1-9 cm long, glabrous. Flowers solitary or in clusters of 2-4, 1.6-1.9 mm long, campanulate, cream to yellow; sepals broadly ovate, 0.2-1 mm long, fleshy, acute; petals narrowly ovate, 0.5-1.9 mm long, thick, acute; stamens ca 1.5 mm long. Fruit obovoid, infrequently approaching ellipsoid, 12-16 mm long, 8-9 mm in diam., glossy purple-black; epicarp smooth; pedicel 0.5-2 mm long. Seed ellipsoid, 10- 13 mm long. Eophyll not seen. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.

Livistona eastonii was described by Gardner (1923) from Lower King Edward R. in Western Australia, and named for William R. Easton, who directed the Kimberley Exploration Expedition in 1912 of which Gardner was the botanist. Gardner cited no specimens in the protologue, and Rodd (1998) chose Gardner 1544, a specimen collected from the Lower King Edward R. in Western Australia, as the lectotype. Livistona eastonii most closely resembles L. humilis, but it is distinguished by its larger size, and by not having sexually dimorphic inflorescences. Wilson (1992) described L. eastonii as dioecious, but provided only a description of ?male flowers?, and noted that the ?female flowers? were not seen, however providing an illustration of a ?female inflorescence?. Livistona eastonii is a moderate sub-canopy palm to 15 m tall; leaves are moderate and regularly segmented; segment apices are rigid, and with a bifurcate cleft to 63% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 6 partial inflorescences; bracts are tubular; flowers are cream to yellow; fruit are obovoid to ellipsoid, to 16 mm long to 9 mm wide, and glossy purple black at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.


Consistently moist soil.

Comments and Curiosities

Phenology: Flowers Mar-Sep; fruits Dec-June.

"The palm Livistona Eastonii is entirely restricted to the North Kimberley. It occurs as a dense understorey in open eucalypt woodland. Where is has been removed during bauxite exploration, it has failed to regenerate. The Traditional Owners regard it as a sacred `lalayi` (dreaming) tree. It occurs in ancient rock art, testimony to its significance." (Alex Petersons)

Livistona eastonii on the Mitchell Plateau of northern Western Australia forms a dense, multi-aged understorey to an open eucalypt woodland. The palm population has the characteristics of a species that comprises a climax vegetation type. Reproduction of the palm appears to have been stimulated in recent years, perhaps by annual burning. The present palm population has been reproducing throughout its life with only minor though significant fluctuations. The average maximum age is estimated to be about 280 years, based on an average increment of 2.85 cm/year for plants taller than 30 cm and 1.15 cm/year for the first 30 cm of height growth. Exceptionally tall plants of 21 m (Gardner 1923) and 10.4 in (Beard 1976) may be about 720 years and 360 years old respectively. (Australian Journal of Ecology, By R. J. HNATIUK.

A medium-sized, slender fan palm native only to the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley Ranges in northern Western Australia, where it grows in open, seasonally dry Eucalypt forest, occasionally in very dense stands. It forms a very slender, solitary trunk which with age can reach 20 m tall and supports a small, open crown of stiff leaves on long stalks. It is particularly well adapted to fire, which is a rather frequent occurrence in its habitat and helps the palm to compete with Eucalyptus and other trees. It is rarely seen in cultivation, perhaps on account of its slow growth, but would make a nice, robust and drought tolerant ornamental for the small, tropical garden. (

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., A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae). A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae).

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

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