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Actinokentia divaricata (Watermelon)
Even though one of the more commonly seen palms in New Caledonia, where it is found in rainforests at low and high elevations to 1100 m (3600 ft.), mostly in the southern half of the island, Actinokentia is definitely rare in cultivation, mainly because of the lack of seeds for propagation. It is slow but not difficult to grow and will adapt to most tropical and many warm temperate climates. It is a smallish palm with a slender, solitary, smooth trunk. A reddish crownshaft holds a sparse crown of pinnate leaves which are stunning dark red when unfolding. The showy fruits mature through yellowish to a dull purple. The "Watermelon" form is known only from a small, recently discovered population and displays a very attractively mottled crownshaft.