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Tropical/sub-tropical rainforest swamp, north-east Madagascar
A stunning palm, up to 15 metres high, with large (3.5-5 metres long), entire leaves up to 1.2 metres wide, held stiffly erect, shuttlecock fashion.
This extraordinary palm was only discovered in 1983 by Mardy Darian, and is only slowly making its way into cultivation. Because of its relative newness, there are no large plants in cultivation, but even small potted plants make quite a stunning display.
This plant is a swamp dweller, so it very much likes wet conditions, and can also take full sun from an early age (as long as the water is kept up to it). It has a reputation for being difficult, altho I think is rather undeserved if its conditions are adequately met. It has also been found to grow better in South-East Queensland, than in the wetter, more tropical north which is rather surprising given its pedigree. It might be that it likes the cooler winters of south-east Queensland, since it has been found to be frost resistant. It can be rather slow to take off, but once going it is quite a strong grower, with each new leaf being up to 15cm longer than its predecessor.
Mike Gray (Text)
Alistair Bostrom (Figure 1)
Daryl O'Connor (Figure 2)