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Chambeyronia lepidota (High Elevation)

Highland Red Leaf Palm

This rare and little-known cousin of the Red Leaf Palm is a moderately large palm to 15 m (50 ft.) tall, with a slender, smooth trunk and a very neat, compact crown of ascending to slightly arching, distinctly keeled leaves with thick, leathery, stiff, very regularly arranged leaflets. A spectacular, thick, velvety reddish brown crownshaft supports the crown. Overall it resembles such palms as Rhopalostylis, Hedyscepe and Ceroxylon parvifrons. The high elevation form grows in cloudforests in east-central and northeastern New Caledonia mainly between about 900 and 1500 m (3000 and 4900 ft.). It looks generally somewhat more robust than the mid elevation form of this species and seems to have a more reddish crownshaft, but these differences in appearance may be due to the different habitats of montane and cloud forest and whether the plants are emergent above the forest canopy or not. One consistent and surprising difference, however, are the fruits: The fruit of the mid elevation form is partly filled with a strange, gelatinous substance that seems to have no function other than filling the space in the fruit that is not occupied by the endosperm. The fruit of the high elevation form, however, has a regularly developed endosperm. In cultivation, Chambeyronia lepidota is still extremely rare. Seeds of the high elevation form are particularly difficult to obtain as they are heavily predated upon by introduced rats. The seeds are very easy to germinate (no heat please), but rather slow growing afterwards. The high elevation form would do particularly well in cool tropical and many warm temperate climates, especially those where palms such as Rhopalostylis, Hedyscepe or Howea are known to succeed.

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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