Carpentaria acuminata

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Figure 1. C. acuminata on the Gold Coast.



Northern Territory, Australia.


Creek and river banks in lowland rainforest.


Tall, solitary, pinnate palm with green crownshaft and recurved dark green leaves. Known around the Northern Territory as 'Carpies' it is the most widely used palm there. Cultivated specimens are usually more robust than wild palms.


The red fruit is planted in trays, defleshing is wise but not essential, as the flesh can burn sensitive skin. Bifid leaves will appear in 3 or 4 months, the seedlings are then tubed. Heavy shading results in long red petioles and large dark bifid leaves for 18 months before a pinnate leaf develops. Once they have filled a 200mm pot they will be about 2 years old, 2m tall, have some pinnate leaves and be ready to plant out. Heavy irrigation, fertilizer and mulch are required for best results. It establishes easily in gardens and is handsome in all stages of its rapid growth.

Figure 2. Plant in fruit.


Until the palm reaches maturity, the leaves are spaced evenly up the trunk, with the leaflets lying flat. As it ages, a crownshaft develops, the leaves arch and the pinnae rise to form a "V". Transplanting older specimens is usually successful. Carpentarias can be used indoors, being popular with plant hire companies triple planted. In a community of mixed species they will outgrow the others, adding height to the garden quickly. When spaced out in the sun as an avenue, the Carpie will grow uniformly, its self cleaning habit a bonus. Figure 3. C. acuminata in habitat,at Adelaide River, N.T.

Carpentaria acuminata04.jpg
Figure 4. C. acuminata
Figure 5. A nice curve of Carps in front of the main mosque, Kuching, Sarawak.

Contributed by:

Alan White, (from Palms & Cycads No. 20 July-Sept 1988) (Text, and Figure 4)
Daryl O'Connor, (Figure 1)
Rolf Kyburz (Figure 2)
Australian Botanic Gardens (Figure 4).

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown, ATRP

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk