Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Arenga australasica (H.Wendl. & Drude) S.T.Blake ex H.E.Moore

Palm, pandan or cycad
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Male flowers [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Female flowers [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Mature fruit [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Pinnae [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
In cultivation, Centenary Lakes, Cairns [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe

Moore, H.E. (1963) Gentes Herbarum 9(3): 268.

Common name

Australian Arenga Palm; Southern Arenga


Multi-stemmed palm up to 20 m tall with numerous suckers around the base, stems up to 30 cm DBH. Older stems are light coloured and ringed with leafbase scars in the younger part, trunks clothed in dark fibrous leaf sheaths.


Leaves pinnate, up to 3.5 m long. Leaflets 78-142 per leaf, narrow, stiff, pleated, dark green above and lighter below, apices notched and grows from the rachis at a 30° angle to create a V-shaped leaf. Terminal leaflets are fused at their bases and fishtail-like. Pinnae silver-grey on underside.Crownshaft absent.


Inflorescence from the upper leaf bases and progressively down the stem, 1-2 m long with 38-44 unbranched pendant panicles of yellowish male and female flowers. Sepals 3, petals 3. Flowers in clusters of 3, one female flower and 2 male flowers.


Fruit globular and red to purple when ripe, ca. 8-26 mm long x 8-28 mm wide. 2-3 seeds per fruit. Seeds hard and smooth, 10-15 mm long x 10-15 mm diam, tear-shaped to angled.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in the CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 240 m. Grows in rocky soil in rainforest, vineforest, monsoon forest,

Natural History & Notes

Flesh from the fruit is highly caustic (Cronin 1989).

Saguerus australasicus H.Wendl. & Drude, Linnaea 39: 219(1875), Type: Australia, Queensland, Rockingham Bay, Garden Island, Aug 1865, J. Dallachy.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.