Livistona australis (R.Br.) Mart., Hist. Nat. Palm. 3: 242 (1838)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
New South Wales present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Queensland present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Society Is. present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Victoria present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Australia. Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. In the northern part of its range in Queensland confined to high elevation on Paluma Ra., Seaview Ra., Mt Elliot, Mt Abbott, and Eungella Ra. with a major disjunction to Fraser Is., and then more or less continuously at low to moderate elevation south through south-eastern Queensland, through coastal New South Wales and with a minor disjunction to the Brodribb eastern Victoria. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Grows in moist areas of open forest, swamp forest, moist sclerophyll forests, along stream banks and in rainforest, 0-1000 m alt. Often locally common and may grow in large colonies. In the north confined to high elevation above 400 m and in central and southern parts in coastal and near-coastal lowland areas. Flowers all year; fruits all year. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Brown (1810) described L. australis, as Corypha australis, from a specimen that he collected from Port Jackson, New South Wales, and which he distinguished from his Livistona species by the character of embryo position. Martius (1838) was the first to place it in Livistona. Previously, Solander (1768-1771) had included the species as another manuscript name in his hand-written and unpublished Plantae Novae Hollandiae, based on plants he saw at Botany Bay, the specimens of which are located in BM. This species is the first palm to be mentioned in European accounts of Australia. Banks (Beaglehole, 1962) noted during Cook's Endeavour voyage of the Australian coast in 1770 in southern New South Wales: "... trees were not very large and stood separate from each other without the least underwood; among them, we could discern many cabbage trees, but nothing else which we could call by any name...". These ?cabbage trees? refer to L. australis. Livistona australis is a tall canopy palm to 25 m tall; leaves are large and regularly segmented; segment apices are pendulous, and with a bifurcate cleft to 63% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, and with up to 9 partial inflorescences; bracts are loosely sheathing; flowers are white to cream to pale yellow; fruit are globose to 22 mm diam., and dull reddish brown to black at maturity. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Least concern. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Common Name

  • Cabbage Palm, Cabbage Tree. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Functionally dioecious palm. Trunk to 25 m tall, 25-40 cm dbh, leaf scars raised, internodes broad, brown, longitudinal fissures prominent, petiole stubs retained in the lower 2 m or so, otherwise deciduous. Leaves 35-60 in a globose crown; petiole 150-250 cm long, 10-20 mm wide, adaxially moderately ridged, margins smooth or with short single black curved spines congested in the proximal portion, a thin yellowish-green longitudinal stripe present on the abaxial surface; leaf-base fibres prominent, finely woven, sheet-like, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, ± circular, 100-130 cm long, chartaceous, adaxially dark green, glossy, abaxially slightly lighter green, nonwaxy; lamina divided for 49-69% of its length, with 80-100 segments, depth of apical cleft 50-63% of the segment length, apical lobes acute, pendulous; parallel veins 8 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, not sexually dimorphic, 140-250 cm long, not extending beyond the limit of the crown, branched to 5 orders; partial inflorescences 6-9; peduncular bract(s) lacking; rachis bracts loosely sheathing, densely floccose; rachillae 5-25 mm long, glabrous. Flowers solitary or in clusters of 2-4, funnel-shaped, white to cream to pale yellow; sepals triangular, 1.2-2 mm long, fleshy, acute; petals triangular to ovate, 2-3.5 mm long, fleshy, subacute to obtuse; stamens ca 2.5 mm long. Fruit globose, 12- 22 mm diam., dull reddish-brown to black, occasionally glaucous; epicarp with scattered lenticellular pores; suture line extends almost the length of the fruit; pedicel 2-3 mm long. Seed globose, 10-16 mm wide. Eophyll 5-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Materials Examined

  • Specimens examined: AUSTRALIA: Queensland. Paluma Ra., 6 km NW of Paluma Dam on forestry road, Dowe 291 (JCT); Paluma Ra., Dotswood Holding, Irvine 901 (QRS); Paluma Ra., Dotswood Holding, 22 km W of Bluewater Forestry Rd, 19º13'S, 146º25'E, 620 m alt., Irvine 1928, 1929 & 1930 (K, MEL, NSW, QRS); Paluma Ra., Dotswood Holding, 22 km W of Bluewater Forestry Rd, 19º13'S, 146º25'E, 620 m alt., Irvine 1929 (K); Bluewater Ck Forest Rd, 22 km from Bruce Hwy, Rodd 3758 with P. Lavarack (NSW); Bluewater Ra., 0.5 km past SF sign, Dowe 171 (JCT); Bluewater Ra., 1 km past Rangers Hut, Dowe 520 (JCT); Cathu State Forest, Clarke Ra., North Rd, 16 km along road to Palm Tree Lookout, 20º45'S, 138º35'E, 800 m alt., Dowe 313 (BRI, FTG, JCT); Eungella Ra., SFR 679, Irvine 1839 (QRS); Broken R. NP, Webb 3322 (BRI); Eungella Ra., ca 2 km SE of Eungella on Broken R. Rd, Rodd 3073 with Jacobs (NSW); Eungella Ra., ca 3.5 km S of Broken R. crossing, S of Eungella, Rodd 3798 & 3799 (BRI); Fraser Is, E side inland from Happy Valley, Baxter 901 (BRI); Tin Can Bay, 20 Oct 1946, Clemens s.n. (A, K); 13 km E of Cooroy on Tewantin Rd, Rodd 3030 & 3031 with Jacobs (BRI, K, NSW, QRS); Nambour, Tuckers Ck, Irvine 1893, 1894, 1895 & 1896 (QRS); 4.8 km N of Nambour, Moriarty 671 & 672 (BRI); Forest Glen, 2 km SW of Buderim, 26º48'S, 153º00'E, Dowe 310 (FTG); 18 km from Landsborough towards Nambour, Carroll 1140 & Telford (CANB); Yandina, 1 Mar 1891, anon. s.n. (BRI); Mooloolaba, 70 miles N of Brisbane, Moore 9229 with Everist (BRI); Between Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo, Blake 21484 (BRI); Cabbage Tree Ck, 1 Mar 1888, Simmonds s.n. (BRI). New South Wales. Seal Rocks, 32 km E of Bulahdelah, 1 Aug 1964, Briggs s.n. (NSW); N of Ferny Ck, W of Wallis Ck, Salasoo 3322 (NSW); Warrah, Pearl Beach, Rodd 2672 (BRI, NSW, QRS); Bayview, Cabbage Tree Rd, W of golf course, Rodd 3615 (NSW); Myall Lakes, Aug 1934, Osborn s.n. (K); Kuring-gai NP, McCarrs Ck, Rodd 2671 (NSW); Royal NP, above Garie Beach, 34º10'S, 151º03'E, 60 m alt., 28 Aug. 1975, Rodd s.n. (K, NSW, QRS); Upper Kangaroo Valley, Rodd 2398 (NSW); Port Jackson, undated, Brown s.n. (BM holotype, FI); near Sydney, anonymous s.n. (MEL); Botany Bay, Kurnell, May 1906, Boorman s.n. (NSW); near Mt Dromedary, 1881, Bates s.n. (MEL); (Australia), Nov 1806, Caley s.n. (BM); (New South Wales), 1864, Daemel s.n. (MEL); (New South Wales), Johnson s.n. (MEL); Kiama, 1872, Henry s.n. (MEL); Illawarra, Kirton s.n. (MEL); Mt Cambewarra, NW of Nowra, 7 Dec 1950, Constable s.n. (NSW); 13 km from West Bodalla, Evans 96 (NSW); Tanja, ENE of Bega, Jul 1954, anon. s.n. (NSW); Ash Is., 25 Nov 1842, Leichhardt s.n. (MEL); (Australia), undated, Lhotsky s.n. (BM); Royal NP, Meebold 2631 (M). Victoria. Gippsland, Cabbage Tree Ck, near Marlo, Webb CBG010319 (CANB, NSW); Palm Ck, S of Cabbage Tree, Beauglehole 34001 with Beaton (MEL); Palms Reserve, 5.4 km S from Princes Hwy along Palm Track on Palm Ck, 37º44'45"S, 148º39'E, 40 m alt., Forbes 3222 with Worboys (MEL); East Gippsland, 1888, French s.n. (MEL); East Gippsland, 1889, French s.n. (MEL); East Gippsland, Jan 1889, Searle s.n. (MEL); East Gippsland, Weindorfer 2396 (MEL); NE of Marlo, Brodribb R., Curlip Jungle, Melville 2933 with Wakefield & Hunter (K); 16 km E of Marlo, Cabbage Tree Ck on Cabbage Palms Track, Carroll 264 (CANB).
    Specimens from cultivated material: Australia: Queensland, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, White 7764 (A, BRI, K); United Kingdom: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 1891, anon. s.n. (K); Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Feb 1862, anon. s.n. (K); Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Temperate House, Dransfield 392-26-23904 (K); India: Madras, 4 Jun 1900, Bourne s.n. (K); Locality not provided, Mar 1900, Kerchove de Deterghem s.n. (K). (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


    A. Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae)
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae