Livistona mariae F.Muell., Fragm. 8: 283 (1874)

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Australia. Northern Territory. Endemic to the Finke R. system in the Macdonnell Ranges. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Grows along creek lines and watercourses with a permanent shallow water supply, and in sandstone gorges, at 600-650 m alt. The total population includes about 2000 mature individuals confined to Palm Valley and Little Palm Ck. Flowers Jul-Dec; fruits Nov-Feb. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • The name Livistona mariae was first used by Mueller (1874b) in notes under L. leichhardtii, with which he considered that it may be conspecific. Previously, Mueller (1874b) had mentioned it only as the palm from the "Glen of Palms" collected by Gilles. These instances had no descriptions and in the former were considered as a provisional name only. A complete description in Mueller (1878) provided validation of the name. He named it in honour of the "... Grandi-principi Mariae, Ducissae Edinensi, cultus hortorum nobilioris tam in Russia quam nunc in Brittania patronae imperiali...". However, Mueller's description included elements ofanother species ("... Mill-stream fluminis Fortescue-River satis numerosa, F. Gregory, J. Forrest..."), later described as L. alfredii from Western Australia (Mueller, 1892). Subsequently, the identities of L. mariae and L. alfredii remained unclear to some botanists, with Gardner (1923) referring to the Millstream Palm (i.e. L. alfredii), as L. mariae and applying L. alfredii to yet another taxon in the Kimberleys. However, other taxonomists distinguished the two taxa (Drude, 1893; Beccari, 1931). The closeness of L. mariae to L. rigida has been recognised by some authors. Johnson (1981) wrote of the relationship of L. rigida:" very closely related to the Fan-Leaved Palm (L. mariae) of central Australia and may even be conspecific". Rodd (1998) resolved this by placing L. rigida as a subspecies of L. mariae, but noting his action as a temporary measure pending a thorough investigation. Considering the above, and while acknowledging that L. mariae and L. rigida are closely related, I have reinstated the latter to specific status. The leaves of L. rigida are comparatively smaller, the folding into a ?v? along the axis of the costa is considerably more pronounced and the segment apices are most often rigid rather than semi-pendulous. The fruit are also comparatively smaller. Although occasionally L. mariae produces smaller than average fruits and L. rigida larger than average fruits. Livistona mariae is a large canopy palm to 30 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are pendulous, and with a bifurcate cleft to 65% 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 and covered with dense white-grey scales; flowers are greenish cream to yellow; fruit are globose to 18 mm diam., and semi-glossy black at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Lower risk, conservation dependent (IUCN, 2006). (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Common Name

  • Central Australian fan palm, Central Australian cabbage palm, Palm Valley Livistona. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 30 m tall, 30-40 cm dbh, leaf scars stepped, raised, internodes broad, grey, petiole stubs persistent only in the basal 1 m or so. Leaves 30-50 in a globose crown; petiole erect to arching, 150-250 cm long, 20-45 mm wide, adaxially ridged, margins with small, single, curved, black spines in the proximal portion, smooth distally; leafbase fibres moderately prominent, coarse, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, circular in outline, 100-220 cm diam, rigidly coriaceous, adaxially grey green, glossy, abaxially lighter grey green, waxy pruinose; lamina divided for 45-55% of its length, with 50-86 segments, depth of apical cleft 45-65% of the segment length, apical lobes attenuate, pendulous, proximal margins of outer segments with small spines; parallel veins 7-9 each side of the midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not sexually dimorphic, 125- 250 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 4 orders; partial inflorescences 10-14; peduncular bract 1, loosely tubular with dense white-grey scales; rachis bracts loosely tubular with dense white scales; rachillae 3-8 cm long, pliable to flexuose, glabrous. Flowers in clusters of 3-6, campanulate, 1.0-1.8 mm long, greenish cream to yellow; sepals ovate, 0.8-1 mm long, membranous, bluntly acute; petals broadly oblong, 1.2-1.5 mm long, acute; stamens ca 1.2 mm long. Fruit globose, 12-18 mm diam., semi-glossy black; epicarp with scattered lenticellular pores; suture line extends for ca ¾ the length of the fruit, marked with liplike structures; mesocarp fibrous; endocarp thin, crustaceous. Seed globose, 8-12 mm wide. Eophyll 3-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Materials Examined

  • Specimens examined: AUSTRALIA: Northern Territory. Macdonnell Ranges, undated, Giles s.n. (MEL holotype); Palm Valley, 1897, Stirling s.n. (K); Palm Valley, 17 Aug 1929, Cleland s.n. (AD); Palm Valley, Colliver 5281 (QRS); Palm Valley, Lothian 315 (AD); Palm Valley, ca 8 miles SSW of Hermannsburg Mission, 16 Sep 1965, Willis s.n. (MEL); Palm Valley, Beauglehole 10460 (MEL); Glen of Palms (Palm Valley), Beauglehole 23850 (MEL); Palm Valley, Beauglehole 27516 (DNA, MEL, NSW); Palm Valley, Mitchell 84 (DNA); Palm Valley, Rodd 3215 with Jacobs (DNA, QRS); Palm Valley, Rodd 3216 (K); Palm Valley, 4 Aug 1978, Latz s.n. (QRS); Palm Valley, Oct 1951, anon s.n. (BRI); Palm Valley, Maconochie 1665 (BRI); Finke Gorge NP, Palm Ck, 2 km W of carpark, 24º02'S, 132º41'E, Dowe 352 (DNA); Finke Gorge NP, Palm Ck, 2 km W of carpark, Dowe 353 (JCT). Specimens from cultivated material: Australia: New South Wales. Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Rodd 136879 (DNA, K). (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


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