Caryota flowering at Kew gardens

Posted: 16 Feb 2008

16 Feb 2008

The winter 2007 issue of the Kew gardens magazine has a fascinating write up on the flowering of a fishtail palm at Kew that is now underway in the world famous Palm House... I hope to get along to see it myself as it will be flowering for much of the year I expect.

The article by Palm House curator Wesley Shaw is really interesting...

It is a palm that is 20m tall with a spread of 10m but amazingly it is only 12 years old from seed! The species is Caryota rumphiana and the seed from which it was sprouted was collected in Western New Guinea in 1995. During 2007 the palm was in danger of being culled as it was pressing against the roof of the house with no more height left above it to take more growth. Just as it was coming to decision time Wesley noticed that it was starting to make an infloresence at the top of the stem signalling that its vegetative growth had ended and it would now start it's gradual demise in a stunning and prolonged period of flowering over many months.

Male and female flowers are produced at separate times so it is unlikely it will be able to make seeds by itself so the plan is to collect pollen and try and pollinate some of the flowers by hand when ready.

Amazing rate of growth and the palm should make a stunning site during the course of 2008 so if you in London and can get to Kew do go along to see it!

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