Livistona rigida Becc., Webbia 5: 19 (1921)

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Australia. Queensland and Northern Territory. In north-western Queensland in the catchments of the Gregory, Leichhardt, Nicholson, Albert and Flinders Rivers, and in the Northern Territory on the Roper R., South Alligator Rivers and east Arnhem Land. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Grows as a riparian element along stream margins, on seasonally inundated banks, in creek lines and watercourses, sometimes with intermittent flow, but with a permanent shallow water supply, 2-300 m alt. Flowers Jun-Dec; fruits Nov-May. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Livistona rigida was described by Beccari (1921), based on a collection, at that time by an unknown collector, from Albert R. in the Gulf of arpentaria, and named for the 'spadix rigidus'. This specimen, conserved in K, is most likely one that was collected by Mueller during the 1855 North-Australian Expedition and sent to Kew. Mueller (1858) reported on the expedition, in which he noted: "Livistona inermis and an allied species supplied us occasionally with palm cabbage", but whether the 'allied species' relates to L. rigida cannot be verified. But it is known that in August of 1855 Mueller traversed the area in which L. rigida is now known to occur and collected extensively (Mueller, 1857). Bentham (1878) included this same specimen as one of his reference specimens in his description of L. humilis, citing Mueller as the collector. However, his description certainly does not account for the size of the leaf in the Mueller specimen, as his description placed the radius of the leaf at ?about 1½ ft? (ca 45 cm) whereas the leaf of L. rigida is 150-170 cm long. Beccari (1931), not knowing the size or habit of L. rigida as he described it on the unannotated Mueller specimen, suggested that Plate 145, Fig. 4 and Plate 146 in Martius (1838) could belong to L. rigida based on the apparent large size of the leaf. Beccari correctly determined that the leaf of L. inermis, the species that the illustrations were supposed to represent, were much smaller that those illustrated. Livistona rigida is a large canopy palm to 28 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are rigid to semi-pendulous, and with a bifurcate cleft to 63% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 14 partial inflorescences; bracts are loosely tubular, with the peduncular bract with moderate to dense white-grey scales and the rachis bracts withsparse white-grey scales; flowers are cream to yellow; fruit are globose to 14 mm diam., and semi-glossy black at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Lower risk, conservation dependent. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Common Name

  • Mataranka Palm, Gregory R. Cabbage Palm. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 28 m tall, 30-40 cm dbh, leaf scars raised, internodes narrow, grey, petiole stubs persistent in the basal 1 m or so, therwise deciduous. Leaves 30-50 in a globose crown; petiole 150-250 cm long, 20-35 mm wide, adaxially concave, margins with single curved reddish-black spines to 6 mm long in the proximal portion, otherwise smooth; leaf-base fibres moderately prominent, coarse, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, circular in outline, 125-170 cm long, 100-150 cm diam., rigidly coriaceous, adaxially grey to glaucous, midgreen, semi-glossy, abaxially lighter green, glaucous; lamina divided for 50-55% of its length, with 50-78 segments, depth of apical cleft 30-63% of the segment length, apical lobes acuminate, rigid or semi-pendulous; parallel veins 5-7 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not sexually dimorphic, 100-250 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 4 orders; artial inflorescences 9-14; prophyll 25-38 cm long, 8-9 cm wide; peduncular bract 1, loosely tubular with moderate to dense white-grey scales; rachis bracts loosely tubular with sparse white scales; rachillae 3-8 cm long, rigid, glabrous. Flowers in clusters of 3-8, globose, ca 1.8 mm long, cream to yellow; sepals broadly ovate, ca 2 mm long, thin, acute; petals triangular 1.0-1.4 mm long, obtuse; stamens ca 1.2 mm long. Fruit globose, 12-14 mm diam., semi-glossy black; epicarp with scattered lenticellular pores; suture line extends for ca ½ the length of the fruit, marked with lip-like tructures; mesocarp fibrous; endocarp thin; pedicel ca 2 mm long. Seed globose, 9-11 mm wide. Eophyll 5-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Materials Examined

  • Specimens examined: AUSTRALIA: Northern Territory. Mataranka, Must 1499 (DNA); Kapalga, Dunlop 5052 with McKean (CANB, DNA, NSW); Goyder R., Dunlop 7259 (DNA, NSW); Roper Hwy, 20 k E of Stuart Hwy, Latz 7828 (DNA, NSW); Near Roper R. crossing, Salt Ck, Dowe 209 & 211 (JCT); Mataranka Stn, Salt Ck, 5 Jul 1964, Schneider s.n. (AD); Roper R., road crossing 1.5 km W of Mataranka Homestead, 14º55'S, 133º06'E, 120 m alt., Dowe 210 & 212 (JCT); S of Mataranka, Warlock Ponds Bridge, Symon 10358 (NSW); Elsie Ck, 20 km SE of Mataranka, Beauglehole 58320 with Errey (MEL). Queensland. Burketown-Camoweal Rd, Gregory R. between crossing of Beames Brook and Planet Downs Stn, 17 Aug 1973, Williams s.n. (BRI); Gregory R., 10 km N of Gregory Downs, Irvine 1856, 1857, 1858 & 1859 (QRS); Lawn Hill Ck, SW of Burketown, Jun 1963, Gittens s.n. (BRI); Lawn Hill NP, Jan 1988, O'Keefe s.n. (BRI); Lawn Hill Ck, 3 km above Lawn Hill Homestead, Rodd 2937 & 2938 (BRI, K, QRS, NSW); Lawn Hill Stn, Babbling Brook, Latz 1619 (BRI, CANB, DNA); Adels Grove, de Lestang 233 (QRS); Adels Grove, Lawn Hill Ck, 500 m W of camping grounds, 18º41'55"S, 138º31'062E, Dowe 630 with Kazandjian (BRI, JCT, K); 34 miles S of Burketown, Webb 10634 (BRI); Albert R., Aug 1855, Mueller s.n. (K holotype); 30 km E of Highland Plains, 18º43?S, 138º28?E, Maconochie 1656 & 1657 (BRI); Palm Springs, junction of Police Ck and Leichhardt R., ca 40 km NNE of Mt Isa, Farrell TF815 (BRI); Lake Julius Dam, 12 Feb 1977, Schmid s.n. (BRI); Dugald R., tributary of Flinders R., 20°12'08.8"S, 140°14?'14.02E, 178 m alt., Dowe 749 with Martin (BRI, JCT). (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


    A. Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae)