Metroxylon vitiense

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Metroxylon (meht-ROKS-ih-lohn)
vitiense (vee-tee-EN-seh)
Metroxylon vitiense.jpg
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, FL. Photo by Dr. Scott Zona.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Metroxylon (meht-ROKS-ih-lohn)
vitiense (vee-tee-EN-seh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Soga, Fiji Sago Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Fiji Islands, and Wallis-Futuna Is. Metroxylon vitiense commonly grows in Lowland swampy forests. Formerly,
South Florida. Photo by Kyle Wicomb.
it was common near Navua, Viti Levu, but is now found only in the more inaccessible swampy valley forests. The locations on Viti Levu, specifically in the Rewa River Delta, where M. vitiense has been historically common, coincide with areas that have recently experienced increased human population growth.

Metroxylon vitiense, On Viti Levu Island (Fiji) it is very abundant on lowland clay 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 clay soils, Metroxylon vitiense forms a distinctive vegetation type. It also occurs on adjacent hillsides in association with a variety of trees. (


Metroxylon vitiense will grow between 5 m to 15 m (16 ft to 50 ft) tall and its trunk will grow to a diameter of 36 cm to 50 cm (14 in to 20 in). The leaf base and petiole are covered with rows of pointy spines. It takes approximately 20 years of growth before the palm begins to bear fruit. Its fruit can vary in color and shape, even within the same stand of trees, similar to other species of Metroxylon. The fruit is round but not always spherical; it can be elliptical or ovular in shape. The fruit has scales, similar to a pineapple, but whose color varies from green to golden yellow to dark brown to grey. Like other species of species of Metroxylon, M. vitiense propagates by seed, which germinates from its fruit.

Metroxylon vitiense; Solitary, hapaxanthic (monocarpic); stem 5-10 (-15) m tall, up to 50 cm in diameter; leaves up to 5 m long, with brown spines, leaflets in one plane, petiole short (long in seedling leaves); inflorescence suprafoliar, first-order branches erecto-patent, 2-2.5 m long, second-order branches pendulous, 20 cm long, each with 8-9 rachillae (third-order branches); fruit conical, 7 cm long, 5 cm wide, with 27-28 rows of yellow-brown scales. ( Editing by edric.


Fast growing, approx. 20 year lifespan. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

External Links


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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