Howea forsteriana

Common name

kentia Palm, forster sentry palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect to 20 m tall and 15 cm in diameter, bulging at the base; young stems green but turning gray with age; ring scars are prominent, raised, and undulating. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, to 4 m long, with drooping, linear, dark green (lighter green below) leaflets regularly arranged in a single plane. The petiole is not armed and no crown shaft is formed from leaf sheaths, but they disintegrate into a conspicuous mass of woven brown fibers. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences are pendulous spikes, to 2 m long, with several spikes growing from a leaf axil. Staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on the same inflorescences and are white in color. Fruits are up to 4-5 cm long, ovoid, and red or maroon when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Solitary, erect palms with oblique ring scars on green stems, slightly arching pinnate leaves, leaflets medium green above and lighter below, with prominent secondary veins and yellowish midrib, and drooping inflorescence spikes

Lab: Small scales on the abaxial leaflet surface and tan ramenta along midrib

May be confused with

Howea belmoreana which is smaller, has leaflets that are held in a V-shape and are dark green above and below, and a single inflorescence spike from a leaf axis

Distribution

Native to Lord Howe Island

Additional comments

This species is often grown as an indoor ornamental.

Scientific name

Howea forsteriana (C. Moore & F.J. Muell.) Becc.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Denea forsteriana O.F.Cook

Grisebachia forsteriana H.Wendl. & Drude

Kentia forsteriana F.Muell.

Last Updated May 2014

idtools.org