Grown for its decorative nature, this species of palm, the Chinese fan palm, is also known by its other names such as “fountain palm”. A slow grower, it doesn’t appreciate being moved. It is therefore advisable to find it a permanent spot where it can really flourish.
Livistona is a genus named after the botanist and plant hunter Patrick Murray, Baron of Livingston. Chinensis means “from China”.
Description and flowering period
Livistona chinensis is an extremely slow-growing palm tree (100 years to reach a height of 5 meters), which can nevertheless reach heights of up to 12 meters. Its stipe (robust stem resembling a tree trunk) is thin, greenish-brown and enlarged at the base. The upper part of the stipe is marked with numerous rings which are leaf-scars. The crown is very dense and consists of persistent palmate leaves (all the leaflets radiate from the end of the leafstalk like a Chinese fan: hence its common name). The pointed end of each leaflet has a drooping habit. The creamy flowers are borne on large panicles. The fruits are berries which range from blue to purple in colour.
It is well-suited to nutrient-rich, well-drained sandy soils in full sun or part shade. While younger specimens are utterly frost-intolerant, older subjects will survive short spells of light frosts.
In Europe, since the start of the 21st century, it has been subject to attacks of the caterpillar Paysandisia archon. The “Palm-moth” feeds on palm leaves and stems, often to the point of causing irreparable damages.
Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN