| Livistonia (liv-iss-TOH-nah) |
Temperate House. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, UK. Photo-Davis Landscape Architecture
Habitat and DistributionBermuda, China Southeast, Florida, Hawaii, Japan, Jawa, Kazan-retto, Marianas, Mauritius, Nansei-shoto, New Caledonia, Ogasawara-shoto, Réunion, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Japan, China and Taiwan.
Hermaphroditic, Solitay palm. Trunk to 15 m tall, 20-30 cm in diam. breast high, leaf scars obscure, roughened and with remnant tissue, light coloured, internodes narrow, irregular, brown to grey with age, petiole stubs not persistent, longitudinal fissures prominent. Leaves 40-60 in a globose to ovoid crown; petiole slightly arching, to 180 cm long, about 15 cm wide in the middle, adaxially flat or slightly ridged, surface glabrous; margins with single curved spines in the proximal one-half or less or sometimes absent, distal margins otherwise sharp and slightly winged; spines 2-20 mm long, subulate, green to black; leaf-base fibre not prominent, coarse, and disintegrating; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, subcircular to reniform, 120-200 cm long, 120-180 cm wide, light yellowish green on both surfaces, dull to glossy, nonwaxy; lamina divided for 45-55% of its length, with 50-90 segments, depth of apical cleft about 13% of the segment length, apical lobes pendulous; lower segments 2-5 mm wide, filamentous, parallel veins 8-9 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins; hastula about 3 cm high. Inflorescence unbranched at the base, 100-120 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, slightly curving, branched to 3 orders; 6-7 partial inflorescences; rachillae 10-18 cm long, to 9 mm in diameter, glabrous; peduncular bract(s) lacking; rachis bracts tomentose or scaly, loosely tubular, disintegrating into open chartaceous fibres with age, brown, apex acute. Flowers in clusters of 4-7, subglobose in bud, 2-2.5 mm long, white to yellowish; sepals imbricate, about 1.5 mm long, rounded, margins hyaline, inner surface striate; petals triangular, apically pointed, fleshy, about 2.2 mm long, about 2 mm wide; filaments united at the base, free in the upper part, connective thickish, about 0.5 mm long; anthers about 0.5 mm long; style sharply tapered, about the same height as the anthers. Fruit globose, subglobose, ellipsoid or pyriform,15-26 mm long, 9-18 mm wide, glossy blue-green to bright green; epicarp ceramic-like; suture line extends for full length of fruit, marked with lip-like structures; mesocarp about 1.5 mm wide, fleshy, slightly oily, moderately fibrous, endocarp woody, about 0.5 mm wide; pedicel 2-3 mm long. Seed globose, subglobose to ellipsoid, variously reniform in longitudinal section, about 14 mm long, about 10 mm wide; endosperm intruded by the testa to about one-half to two-thirds through to form a cavity filled with brown crystalline tissue; embryo supra-lateral to lateral. Eophyll 7-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Livistona chinensis was first described as Latania chinensis (Jacquin, 1801), from plants cultivated and subsequently naturalised in Mauritius and brought to Schoenbrunn Gardens, Vienna in 1788. It is lectotypified by the illustration in Jacquin (1801), Tab. 11, Fig. 1. The species name was taken from that used for the palm in Mauritius, "Latanier de la Chine". Bretschneider (1898) provided some evidence to suggest that the naturalist and traveller Pierre Poivre was responsible for introducing the palm, during the mid 1700s, to Mauritius where it soon became naturalised. Poivre had made extensive collections of plants from southeast China and Indochina during the period 1740-1767. Martius (1838) provided the transfer to Livistona, based on Brown (1810) who suggested it should correctly have been in Livistona, but without formal transfer. Other names have been applied to the species, including Latania mauritiana, L. borbonica and Chamaerops biroo (Martius, 1838); Saribus chinensis (Blume, 1838), the orthographic variation L. sinensis by Griffith (1845); and L. japonica (Nakai, 1928). Of these names, a lectotype is here chosen for C. biroo (Siebold, 1830), it being Siebold s.n., a specimen that was located in the Siebold collections at Leiden. Types for Latania mauritiana and Livistona japonica have not been designated, while Latania borbonica is a misapplied name. Livistona olivaeformis and L. subglobosa were established by Hasskarl (1842) from cultivated plants in Bogor Botanic Gardens as species of Saribus, but placed as Livistona species by Martius (1849). The species names were derived from the fruit shapes, being olive-like and subglobose respectively. Livistona olivaeformis was synonymised under L. chinensis by Beccari (1921), and the specimens collected by Beccari in May 1878 from plants in Bogor Botanic Gardens that Hasskarl based the name upon are here chosen as the lectotype. Those specimens are sheets 11331, 11331-B. and 11331-C in FI. However, L. subglobosa was retained by Beccari as a subglobosa was described as differing from his L. chinensis forma typical only by fruit shape (Beccari, 1921), it being subglobose to ovoid rather than olive-like. Although the original description of L. subglobosa was from cultivated plants in Bogor Botanic Garden, Beccari (1931) applied the name to specimens collected in the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan. Beccari visited Bogor Botanic Gardens in May 1878 and collected specimens from the plants upon which Hasskarl established the name. These specimens, sheets 11333 and 11333-B in FI are here chosen as the lectotype. The taxon was elevated to specific status by Nakai (1935) and Kanehira (1936), but it otherwise was referred to most commonly as a subspecies (Moore & Fosberg, 1956; Li, 1963; Ohwi, 1965; Walker, 1976; Li, 1978; Suzuki, 1982; Yoshida et al., 2000). Collections from the distributional range of L. chinensis var. subglobosa (cf. Horikawa, 1972) exhibit such variation in fruit shape that no reasonable taxonomic distinctions can be made between L. chinensis forma typica and L. chinensis var. subglobosa. Accordingly, L. chinensis var. subglobosa is placed as a synonym of L. chinensis. A third subspecies, L. chinensis var. boninensis, was also described by Beccari (1921, 1931) and its taxonomic history is discussed in Notes under L. boninensis. Livistona chinensis is a moderate sub-canopy palm to 15 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are pendulous, and with a bifurcate cleft to 13% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 7 partial inflorescences; bracts are loosely sheathing; flowers are white to yellow; fruit are globose, subglobose, ellipsoid, to pyriform, to 26 mm long to 18 mm wide, and glossy blue green to bright green at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.)/Palmweb.
Chinese fan palm is not particular about soil. Fertilize twice a year in spring and summer with a good quality slow release fertilizer that contains micro-nutrients. Light: Likes direct sun and bright situations. Young plants look better when grown in part shade. Moisture: This palm forms a long tap root and can survive extended periods of drought. Provide adequate moisture for more rapid growth. This palm may be hardier than Zone 8 where I have grown several for more than 20 years. Sheltered under live oak trees, these specimens routinely survive temperatures in the mid twenties with no ill effect. They have survived temperatures as low as 15 degrees which burnt the leaves but they recovered and all are still flourishing! They also seem resistant to the fungus diseases that attacked other "semi-hardy" palms after sustaining cold damage. Propagation:By seed. If kept warm they will germinate in about 2 months time. USDA Hardiness, zone: 9B (Floridata.com)
Comments and Curiosities
Phenology: Flowers Feb-Apr; fruits Apr-Sept.
Etymology: Livistona chinensis; the genus is named for the baron of Livingston and the species name chinensis is Latin for 'of China'.
There are two subspecies; Livistona chinensis var. chinensis, China Southeast, and Vietnam. And Livistona chinensis var. subglobosa, Bermuda, Florida, Hawaii, Japan, Jawa, Marianas, Mauritius, Nansei-shoto, New Caledonia, La Réunion, and Taiwan. Conservation: Vulnerable.
Our ancestors did not have the prosperous material life as we do now, but they knew how to utilise various natural resources as different tools, and Chinese Fan Palm is a good example. Its leaves are composed of tough fibres, so people bound the leaves on the tip of a wooden stick to make a durable broom. Also, as its name suggested, some used its leaves to make fans, or hats, to cope with the hot summer. (conservancy.org.uk)
A much-loved fan palm that has been popular since Victorian times and makes a superb potted palm for the home or terrace. In warmer climates and over a period of years, it grows into a handsome, medium-sized tree with a slender trunk. The common name is something of a misnomer since it is actually native to Japan's Ryukyu Islands and Volcano Islands. The broad, lime green leaves have elegantly drooping and curled tips, which gives rise to its other name, "Fountain palm." The fruits, which are produced in large numbers, are blue. Livistona chinensis shows a good tolerance to cold and frost and may be used in the sheltered temperate garden, but will also happily accept hot and humid tropical conditions. (RPS.com)
"Last week I got an early morning tour of the landscape at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is in the new 14 acre Pandora section. It is based on the Avatar movie. They have done a spectacular job with the landscaping using many, many unusual and odd plants. They have also added "fake" alien plants and the blend is seamless. The detail of this park is just incredible. In addition to the Caryota obtusa (they planted over 200 of these) which I posted in a separate post, they planted some other nice palms and most aren't the common specimens found here. Bismarckia nobilis, most of these were 25-30ft tall and several were green forms". Orlando, FL. Photo by H.P. Leu Gardens Botanist Eric S.
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- Don't Miss
- A Must See
- Revision of Livistona (Arecaceae) in Australia, By Dr. A.N. Rodd
- Australian Palms, By John Leslie Dowe
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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.