Feb 2011 – Archontophoenix Alexandrae

Alexandra Palm

Alexandra Palm
(King Palm, Pinang Raja)

A popular, fast-growing palm which is widely grown in tropical and subtropical countries, Plants usually have a swollen base to the trunk, a light green crown-shaft, leaflets which are dark green above, silvery grey beneath and oriented in a vertical plane towards the leaf apex. Flowers are creamy white and are followed by clusters of bright red fruit, each about 1.4 cm x 1 cm.

The species is endemic to Queensland where it is distributed between Gladstone and the Melville Range near Bathurst Bay on Cape York Peninsula. It commonly grows in lowland swamp forest but is also found up to 600 meters altitude in the ranges. An excellent, handsome garden palm which looks especially decorative when in fruits. Plants are often sold for indoor decoration but are generally unsuitable for this purpose, having high light requirements and disliking the often dry atmosphere inside offices and dwelling.

They do make a very attractive tub plant and are suitable for verandas or patios. The variety Beatrice, which has a prominently stepped trunk, is no longer regarded as being botanically distinct but is still commonly propagated and sold in the nursery trade.

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