Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Hydriastele wendlandiana (F.Muell.) H.Wendl. & Drude

Palm, pandan or cycad
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Male flowers. © Barry Jago
Male and female flowers [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Mature fruit [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Inflorescence with flowers in bud [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Fruit and infructescence. © CSIRO
In lowland rainforest [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Pinnae with apex appearing torn (praemorse) [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Wendland, H. & Drude, C.G.O. (1875) Linnaea 39: 209.

Common name

Palm, Wendland's; Wendland's Palm


Usually grows more than 6 m tall but often flowers and fruits as a shrub 3-6 m tall. Usually multistemmed or with the stems in clusters.


Leaflets up to 40 per compound leaf. Leaflet blades 25-55 x 1.5-6 cm, apex praemorse, sessile on the compound leaf rhachis, ca. folded lengthwise, convex on the upper surface. Compound leaf rhachis ca. triangular in cross section, angular on the upper surface, clothed in white or brown scales. Apical leaflets fused together and thus much broader than most of the lateral leaflets.


Flowers borne in an inflorescence which resembles a cat-o'-nine-tails and emerges from sheaths 20-25 cm long on the stem below the leaves. Each inflorescence consisting of a short peduncle to which are attached 10-20 spikes each ca. 20 cm long. Flowers borne in triads on the spikes with one female flower between two male flowers. Stamens six, three attached to the tepals and three free. In the female flowers all tepals are similar and embrace the ovary so that only the top and the stigma are exposed.


Fruits borne in an infructescence which resembles a cat-o'-nine-tails. Fruits globular, ca. 7 mm diam., calyx persistent at the base. Seeds globular, ca. 4 mm diam. Testa surrounded by a layer of long needle-like fibres extending from one end of the seed to the other. Embryo conical.


First leaves deeply bilobed. Leaf blades 6.5-8.5 cm long, petioles 3.5-4.5 cm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade deeply bilobed, leaf blade 19-20 x 10 cm, petiole ca. 4.5 cm long.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 150 m. Grows as an understory plant in lowland rain forest often found in or on the margins of swamps or permanently wet areas.

Natural History & Notes

Sometimes cultivated in tropical lowland gardens.

Distinguished from other species of Hydriastele by the clumping habit, irregularly arranged pinnae, and curved leaves.

Hydriastele wendlandiana (F.Muell.) H.Wendl. & Drude var. wendlandiana, Linnaea 39: 210(1875). Hydriastele wendlandiana var. microcarpa H.Wendl. & Drude, Linnaea 39: 210(1875), Type: Australasiae ora septentrionalis circum sinum Carpentaria, scilicet: ad flumina Liverpool River! (leg. Gulliver); Pioneer R.!, OConnell R.!. Kentia wendlandiana F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 7: 102(1869), Type: Ad flumen Liverpools River; B. Gulliver; holo: ?. Hydriastele douglasiana F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 1(3): 232(1897), Type: Queensland, Polo Creek, Somerset, Cape York Peninsula, F. M. Bailey; holo: BRI?.
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