Family: Arecaceae
Common Name: Atherton Palm

Native to the coastal rainforests of northern Queensland in Australia, Laccospadix is a feathered palm related to Howea, the young plants particularly being quite similar in appearance and cultivation needs. In its natural habitat, it is generally found as an understorey plant. Because it originates from areas of rea­sonable altitude, it is more cold-tolerant than many tropical palms, and may do well in more temperate regions. However, it is not readily available outside its native Australia.


L. australasica, the single species, usu­ally forms clumps of up to about ten stems, 5 cm (2 in) or so in diameter and 2-3 m (6-10 ft) tall, but sometimes has only a single stem to 15 m (50 ft) tall and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter. The leaves grow up to 2 m (6 ft) long and ascend steeply, and the narrow, deep green leaflets sit in two, neat rows. Erect flower spikes, arising from among the leaf bases, are followed by juicy-fleshed fruits which ripen through yellow to bright scarlet.


In frost-prone climates, grow in an intermediate to warm greenhouse or conserva­tory in a pot or tub of soil-based potting com­post. Provide maximum light, but shade from direct sun. Propagate from seed, which must be sown fresh. Germinate at 27°C (81°F). Germ­ination can be rapid (for a palm), as little as six weeks in ideal conditions. This palm is gener­ally slow growing.


Zone 10 plus.

Laburnum      Lachenalia