Hydriastele ramsayi

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Figure 1. H. ramsayi in cultivation, Darwin, NT.


Common Names:

Northern Kentia


Gronophyllum ramsayii, Kentia ramsayii

Distribution & Habitat:

Open eucalypt forest and rainforest edges in the Northern Territory, Australia.


Popularly known as the Northern Kentia, these tall, robust, solitary pinnate palms are majestic in the wild. Their glaucous dull leaves arch strongly, the stiff leaflets rising from the rachis to form a trough or "V". Cultivated specimens show a thicker trunk.


Domesticating this species has proved slow, mainly due to the horrendous germination rate, 1% being usual, and this after waiting 12 months or more. Seed is planted in deep trays, as long brittle roots are formed. When finally the first strap leaf appears, extra care is needed moving them into pots, using one big enough to accommodate two years growth. Lightly fertilize and keep damp until 4 to 6 stiff bifid leaves are produced. Then they are planted out in dappled shade, as further growth seems unlikely, After gaining only 1 or 2 leaves in their first year they accelerate into more than normal growth rates, producing longer, pinnate, arching leaves. Plentiful water, good drainage and light fertilizing are necessary.

Rarely available from nurseries, most H. ramsayi are grown by enthusiasts for their own use. Once established, the Kentia is a lovely, easily maintained addition to the garden, its blue-green foliage contrasting with the creamy crownshaft.

Figure 2. H. ramsayi

Contributed by:

Alan White (Text from Palms&Cycads No. 20, July-Sept 1988)
Daryl O'Connor (Figure 1)
Colin Wilson (Figure 2).

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, eMonocot, JSTOR, Trebrown

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