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Florence Falls Palm
Distribution & Habitat:
Monsoonal rainforest, Northern Territory, Australia
Florence Falls palm is being adopted as a common name for our shade loving Hydriastele. An Arecoid species with short flat leaves and uneven pinnae, two or three slender stems, 7-20m tall, dominating each small clump.
This palm has the frustrating habit of fruiting heaviest when access roads are impassable in the wet season. Very fresh seed is needed, pre-soaked for a week before defleshing and planting in shallow trays, germinating is six to twelve months. Small bifid seedlings are slow growing and prone to attacks of fungus. They do best in a humid atmosphere, heavy shade, and lightly fertilized. After approximately three years a 1m main stem with 2 or 3 basal suckers is ready to be planted in a sheltered position. Hydriastele can be moved if necessary, quite large specimens transplanting well. Cultivated and irrigated specimens fruit throughout the year.
Not as well known outside enthusiasts gardens as the Carpentaria acuminata, this species is gradually gaining acceptance as a moderately sized attractive palm for suburban gardens at the stage of "filling-in" beneath established plants. Only suitable indoors if protected from fans and breezes.
Alan White (Text - from Palms & Cycads No. 20 July-Sept 1988)
Robert Tucker (Figure 1) from Palms of Subequatorial Queensland
Ian Edwards (Figure 4&5)