Arenga engleri

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Figure 1. A. engleri


Common Names:

Formosa Palm
Formosa Sugar Palm
Taiwan Sugar palm
Taiwan Arenga palm
Dwarf sugar palm

Distribution & Habitat:

It grows on slopes in forest on Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands (south of Japan).


A small, clumping palm palm to about 3m (10 ft) tall, and 5m (16 ft) across, with attractive pinnate leaves that are dark green above, and silver below. The stems are covered with delicate black fibres. Virtually unmentioned in the literature is the intense 'canned apricot nectar' smell of the flowers.


This species is probably the most cold tolerant of the genus and apparently grows well in San Francisco, and as far south as Nowra NSW, albeit plants have not flowered after 25 years in the ground. Seed MUST be handled with care (gloves) as the sap causes severe itching and irritation to the skin.


Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Frost tolerant. Thrives on red basalt soil in warm subtropical Northern Rivers NSW. Gregarious self-sower. A very nice plant for a large garden. Prolific self-seeder beneath forest canopy N.E. NSW.

Figure 2. A. engleri inflorescence, Sydney
Figure 3. A. engleri infructescence, Sydney


Palms Throughout The World, David Jones.

Contributed by:

Angelo Porcelli (Figure 1)
Ian Edwards (Figure 2&3).
Garry Daly

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, eMonocot, Floridata, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk