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Sommieria leucophylla

The genus Sommieria used to contain three species, all native to northwestern New Guinea. In 2002, however, botanist Charlie Heatubun joined the three into a single species, Sommieria leucophylla. It is a variable, smallish undergrowth palm native to wet lowland rainforests. It grows with an underground or shortly emergent, solitary trunk, about 3 cm (1 in.) in diameter. The crown holds numerous, usually entire, deeply bifid leaves that are dark green above and silvery white to golden below. It is closely related to Pelagodoxa, with which shares the same curious, warty, albeit much smaller fruits. In cultivation it is still very rare. It is slow growing and requires a protected spot in the tropical garden with ample moisture. Even though under botanical criteria, the reduction to a single species makes sense, horticulturally the three original species are somewhat distinct. Sommieria leucophylla in the original sense, as offered here, is found in Western New Guinea (formerly Irian Jaya). It differs by usually having two leaflets on either side of the leaf midrib, which are dark green above with a bluish cast. The leaf underside is a superb silvery white. It grows to about 2 m (6 ft.) tall.

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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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