Plant of the Week

Rhopaloblaste augusta (Kurz) H.E.Moore is naturally found in the Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean growing in dense wet rainforests in lowland areas, along water courses and exceeding the height of all other trees. It appears from sea level to an elevation of around 160 m (524 ft). It is regarded as endangered in its native habitat but is widely cultivated in tropical regions such as Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Hawaii, and  New Guinea. It prefers a well drained but reliable moist organic rich sandy to loamy soil that is acidic to neutral with a pH range from 5.0 to 7.0 but is adaptable. It grows in a humid tropical climate in an open sunny position when mature but prefers some shade when young. It is drought, strong wind and frost-cold tender with a preferred minimum winter temperature of 18ºC (65ºF).

 

The Nicobar Majestic Palm is grown for its elegant pendant leaflets, bright red fruit and its slender trunk. It is planted in large gardens and parks solitary or in group plantings as a specimen or used along avenues. It is also used in rainforest settings as an emergent or as a potted specimen when young. In cold regions it is cultivated in a heated glasshouse or conservatory and can be used as a house plant with bright indirect light. It is suitable for tropical and subtropical regions and has a moderate growth rate establishing in 3-5 years as a small plant and maturing in 10-20 years. Once established it has a high water requirement (Scale: 3-drops from 3) preferring reliable organic rich moist soil and high humidity.

I.D. 4298

UK hardiness zone H1a

Sun zone H2, 24

USDA Zone 11-12

 

Rhopaloblaste (ro-pa-lo-BLAS-tee) augusta (aw-GUS-tuh)

 

Etymology

Genus: Greek - Rhopaloblaste – from ‘rhopalon’ meaning (club or bat) and ‘blastos’ meaning (embryo) referring to the shape of the embryo

Species: Latin - augusta – from ‘augustus’ meaning (majestic) referring to the habit of the plant



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