Livistona inermis

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Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah)
inermis (ee-NEHR-miss)
Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. Scan from color slide (Aug. 1979) Photo by Paul Meir
Scientific Classification
Genus: Livistona (liv-iss-TOH-nah)
inermis (ee-NEHR-miss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Wispy Fan Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Australia. Northern Territory and Queensland. In the northern part of the Northern Territory from the headwaters of the Daly R. across the Top End inland to Katherine.
Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. (Aug. 1979) Photo by Paul Meir
In northwest Queensland, including nearshore islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Grows in open forest and woodland and in sandstone gorges and outcrops, 2-300 m alt. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.


Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 10 m tall, 6-10 cm in diameter; breast high, leaf scars prominently raised, internodes narrow, grey, persistent petiole stubs in the lower portion only. Leaves 10-30 in a globose crown; petiole arching, 60- 90 cm long, 6-10 mm wide, adaxially flat or shallowly concave, margins with small single curved reddish to black spines to 5 mm long restricted to the proximal portion, distally smooth or with widely spaced small reddish to black calli to 1 mm long; leaf-base fibres moderately prominent, coarse, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, circular to subcircular, 30-70 cm long, coriaceous, adaxially light green to greengrey, abaxially lighter green-grey glossy to lightly pruinose, segments extended along the costa; lamina divided for 80-97% of its length, with 24-48 segments, depth of apical cleft 70-84% of the segment length, apical lobes acuminate to filiform, rigid to semipendulous; parallel veins 8-10 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not sexually dimorphic, 40-90 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 3 orders; partial inflorescences ca 3; the most basal partial inflorescence about as long as the remainder of the inflorescence; prophyll 12-28 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, papyraceous, glabrous; peduncular bract(s) lacking; rachis bracts loosely tubular, papyraceous, glabrous, slightly pubescent toward the apex; rudimentary bracts subtend the distal partial inflorescences; rachillae 1-9 cm long, glabrous. Flowers solitary or in clusters of 2-3, funnel-shaped, 1.5-2.3 mm long, white to cream or yellow; sepals narrowly triangular, 0.7-1.4 mm long, membranous, acute; petals triangular to broadly ovate, 1.5-1.9 mm long, thick, acute to apiculate; stamens 1.5-1.6 mm long; anthers bright yellow. Fruit obovoid to pyriform, 10-13 mm long, 6-7 mm in diam., glossy black; epicarp smooth; suture line extends the length of the fruit, marked with lip-like structures; mesocarp fleshy; endocarp thin. Seed ellipsoid, 8-9 mm long. Eophyll 3-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb. Edting by edric.


Comments and Curiosities

Phenology: Flowers Aug-Mar; fruits Jun-Sept.

Conservation: Least concern. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.

"I've tried small ones here quite a few times and none make it through the summer, they all get bud rot." (Eric; Botanist H.P. Leu Gardens, Orlando, FL.)

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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