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Monday, December 23, 2013

Rhopalostylis baueri - Norfolk Island Palm

An unbelievably beautiful plant, I love this palm. The first time I saw Rhopalosytlis was at the Strybing Arboretum. I came around this little path and pow, right into a grove of young palms.  Okay, It's actually a different species, R. sapida but who cares! 



The Norfolk Island Palm or (Naiu) grows as a solitary stem up to 30' (nice big ones at Strybing arboretum) with a beautiful smooth stem and green crown shaft.



Trunks hold the foliage very tightly spaced creating a dense head.



The leaves are pinnate, stiff, dark green, erect, V shaped, up to 9' long and 2-3' long leaflets. There is a short petiole (clear area with no leaflets). On young plants the foliage is shorter and much more upright.



I really like a palm with distinct crown shaft.



Male and female flowers on the same inflorescence coming out of the stem under or out of the crown shaft. You can see the start of the inflorescence below.



Almost smooth stem when older. I love this trunk.



Misidentification:
If you see more than one of these let me know, according to Luen Miller of Monterey Bay Nursery, it differs from the other species P. sapida by wider angled fronds. Other reference suggest R. baueri  has a less swollen crown shaft and a short petiole where R. sapida has none.

Location
4100 Opal Cliff Dr
Along with Pindo Palm, a cool cycad, pygmy date palms, queen palms

There are a few  Rhopalosytlis in the New Zealand garden at the Arboretum of UCSC.

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