Rhapis cochinchinensis

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Figure 1. R. cochinchinensis var 'Otohime'



R. cochinchinensis, a species from Laos is reportedly grown in the U.S. and possibly Japan where, in the latter, possibly as a supposed variety of R. excelsa.

Distribution & Habitat:

It is found in Laos, growing in alluvial river banks, and sandstone soils from 200 to 530 m, in evergreen and degraded semi-evergreen forest.


This species may grow to 2 metres and has multiple slender stems covered in fine fibrous leaf sheaths, similar to R. subtilis. The light shining green palmate leaves usually have three leaflet segments, that may be up to 250mm long and 60mm wide. Its leaflets are thin in section, multi ribbed, pointed and tends to droop at the ends. Leaf stalks are up to 350mm in length and are slender. The inflorescence emerges from within the foliage and is finely branched. As all plants in cultivation in the U.S.A. are said to be female, little is known about the fruits.


R. cochinchinensis appears to require similar cultural practices to R. sublilis.

Figure 2. R. cochinchinensis var 'Otohime'

Rhapis cochinchinensis cultivar 'Otohime' - grade 4, discovery 1963, parent plant R.I.

Contributed by:

Heinz-Dieter Froehlingsdorf, South Australia. (from Palms & Cycads No. 39, Apr-Jun 1993).
Colin Wilson (Figure 1&2)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk