Licuala elegans

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Figure 1. L. elegans at the Roma Street Gardens, Brisbane.


Distribution & Habitat:

This species is native to Sumatra where it has not been sighted for many years. It could be that the palm in cultivation in Australia and parts of U.S.A. is actually Licuala peltata var. sumawongii from the Malay Peninsula.


A very attractive, solitary fan palm up to 5m (16 ft) tall, with large, undivided, dark green leaves to 1.5m (4.5 ft) across, on petioles up to 2m (6 ft) long.


The palm we have reaches a height of about 3m (9 ft) in 15 years. It can handle quite a lot of sun but not wind because of the large undivided leaf. It is best suited to a sheltered position which usually means shaded. Providing it is out of the wind it is very rarely marked in winter in temperatures down to 3&degC. It is the most cold tolerant of the large, undivided leaf Licualas.

Royal Botanic Gardens, SydneyFigure 2. L. elegansin the glass house of the
Figure 3. L. elegansleaf close-up

Contributed by:

Greg Smith, Palms For Brisbane (Figure 1)
Mike Gray (Figure 2&3)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk