Metroxylon salomonense

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Metroxylon (meht-ROKS-ih-lohn) salomonense
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French Guiana. Photo by jpflatres.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Metroxylon (meht-ROKS-ih-lohn)
Species: salomonense
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Solomon Ivory Nut Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea, Santa Cruz Is., Solomon Is., and Vanuatu.
Las Marias, Puerto Rico. Photo by Cinday Adair.
Lowland forest and freshwater swamps, usually near sea level but also found at elevations up to 700 metres. Metroxylon palms usually occur in lowland swamps, but occasionally also on hillsides.; - Metroxylon amicarum. Thrives inland on hill slopes, and in dry conditions.; - Metroxylon salomonense; Is often cultivated well away from swampy areas, sometimes on high ridges.; - Metroxylon vitiense, On Viti Levu Island (Fiji) it is very abundant on lowland gley soil, and occurs occasionally in dryland forest. In one of the major wetland sites, the Vunimoli wetlands, there are almost pure stands on the wet gley soils on the colluvium and alluvium in the valleys upstream of the coastal plain. This is the only extensive wetland forest (262 ha) in Fiji and includes most of the Metroxylon vitiense population. On wet gley soils, Metroxylon vitiense forms a distinctive vegetation type. It also occurs on adjacent hillsides in association with a variety of trees. (


A very large and immensely fast growing palm from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands with a thick trunk to 20 m (66 ft.) tall and an erect crown of leaves arching at the tip. The baseball-sized fruits have scaly, snakeskin-like appearance and are produced on a large, terminal inflorescence. (

Metroxylon salomonense is a solitary-stemmed palm, growing up to 25 metres tall. The un-branched stem can be 25 - 55 cm in diameter, topped by a rosette of leaves that can each be 7 metres or more long. A very important tree for the local economy of native people, providing them with food, medicines and a wide range of other materials. The hard seeds are exported to Alaska, where the Inuit carve them in place of sea-mammal ivory. Editing by edric.


Growing Climate: -Temperature best above 10 C. but will handle short periods down to as low as 2 C. and up to 40 C. (Utopia Palms &

Comments and Curiosities

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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