Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Family Profile
Family Description

A family of about 212 genera and 2800 species; pantropic with a few species extending into warm temperate regions; 19 genera occur naturally in Australia.


Archontophoenix - An endemic genus of 6 species from the moist subtropical and tropical regions of northern Queensland.

Arenga - A genus of 24 species of palms, native to tropical regions of southern and southeastern Asia; two species occur naturally in Australia.

Calamus - A genus of about 375 species in mainly tropical regions of SE Asia but also in Malesia and Australia; eight species occur naturally in Australia. Jones (1984).

Carpentaria - An endemic genus of only one species from the Northern Territory of Australia.

Caryota - A genus of 13 species distributed from India, China, Malesia, New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji; one species occur naturally in Australia.

Cocos - A monotypic genus whose origin is a point of debate but it is believed to be originally from India.

Corypha - A genus of six species native to India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea; a single species occurs naturally in Australia.

Hydriastele - A genus of 48 species in Indonesia, New Guinea, Fiji and Australia; three species occur naturally in Australia. Dowe (2010).

Laccospadix - A monotypic genus endemic to Australia. Jones (1984); Dowe (2010).

Licuala - A genus of 135 species found in tropical rainforests of southern Asia, New Guinea and the western Pacific Ocean islands; one species (with two varieties) occurs naturally in Australia.

Linospadix - A genus of 7 species in Australia and New Guinea; five species occur naturally in Australia. Dowe (2010); Dowe & Irvine (1997); Jones (1984).

Livistona - A genus of ca. 36 species with a wide distribution through the tropics and warmer temperate regions of eastern Asia, Australasia and the Americas and Africa; 18 species occur naturally in Australia, 14 are Australian endemics with 2 extending into New Guinea.

Normanbya - A monotypic genus endemic to Australia.

Oraniopsis - A monotypic genus endemic to Australia.

Ptychosperma - A genus of 29 species in eastern Malesia, Australia and the islands of the SW Pacific. New Guinea appears to be the major centre of species diversity; two species occur naturally in Australia, one endemic. Essig (1978); Jones (1984); Dixon et al (2003); Dowe (2010).

Wodyetia - A monotypic genus endemic to Australia.


Ashburner, G. R., W. K. Thompson, et al. (1997). RAPD analysis of South Pacific coconut palm populations. Crop Science 37(3): 992-997.

Barfod, A.S. & Dowe, J.L. (2005). The enigmatic Australian fan-palm Licuala ramsayi. Palms 49(1): 19-20.

Dixon, D., Cowie, I. & Kerrigan, R. (2003). Ptychosperma macarthuri or. P. bleeseri? The taxonomic status of P. bleeseri considered. The Beagle 19: 81-86.

Dowe, J.L. & Hodel, D.R. (1994). A revision of Archontophoenix H.Wendl. & Drude (Arecaceae). Austrobaileya 4:227-244.

Dowe, J.L. & Irvine, A.K. (1997). A revision of Linospadix in Australia with a description of a new species. Principes 41: 192-197, 211-217.

Dowe, J.L. & Barfod, A.S. (2001). New species of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae) from north Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Austrobaileya 6(1): 166-169.

Dowe, J.L. (2010). Australian Palms. Biogeography, Ecology and Systematics.

Dransfield, J. & Cooke, D. (1999). Cocos nucifera. Arecaceae. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 16(1): 2-9.

Du Puy, D.J. & Telford, I.R.H. (1993). Arecaceae. Flora of Australia. 50(2): 433-434.

Essig, F.B. (1977). A Systematic Histological Study of Palm Fruits Part 1 the Ptychosperma Alliance. Systematic Botany 2: 151-168.

Essig, F.B. (1978). A revision of the genus Ptychosperma Labill. (Arecaceae). Allertonia 1:415-478.

Evans, O.D. & Johnson, L.A.S. (1962). Palmae. Flora of New South Wales 21: 4-5.

Hull, D. (1978). Carpentaria-Acuminata a New Palm for the South Florida USA Dooryard. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 91: 84-85.

Inkrot, D., Sattler, Geyer, C. & Morawetz, W. (2007). Flowering and fruiting phenology of Normanbya normanbyi (W. Hill) L. H. Bailey (Arecaceae), a palm endemic to the lowland tropical rainforest of north-eastern Australia. Austral Ecology. 32(1): 21-28.

Jones, D. (1984). 'Palms in Australia.' (Reed Books Pty Ltd: Frenchs Forest.), 279 pp.

Moore, H.E. (1963). Gentes Herbarum 9: 266.

Rodd, A.N. (1998). Revision of Livistona (Arecaceae) in Australia. Telopea 8:49-153.

Shapcott, A. (1998). The patterns of genetic diversity in Carpentaria acuminata (Arecaceae), and rainforest history in northern Australia. Molecular Ecology 7: 833-84.

Uhl, N.W. & Dransfield, J. (1987). Genera Palmarum: A Classification of Palms Based on the Work of Harold E. Moore: 368.

Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.