Livistona humilis R.Br., Prodr. : 268 (1810)

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Australia. Northern Territory. From near Fitzmaurice R. across the Top End to Cape Arnhem and islands in north-western Gulf of Carpentaria, and as far inland as Katherine. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Most common in open forest and woodland growing in deep sandy soils, mostly at low elevation, 0-240 m alt.; occasionally on rocky ironstone or granite ridges. Usually occurs in extensive populations. Flowers May-Dec; fruits Nov-May. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A


  • Livistona humilis was one of two species described by Brown (1810) when establishing Livistona. Moore (1963a) chose it as the lectotype for the genus. Although Brown only provided a meagre description, Martius (1838) clearly established its identity, albeit the illustrations accompanying his description appear to be based on L. inermis or a combination of the two taxa. Bentham (1878) cited a specimen of L. rigida (Mueller s.n., Albert R.) as the one on which he based his description of L. humilis, but his description is certainly of L. humilis. Beccari (1931) provided a very thorough appraisal of the species, but however included two varieties, L. humilis var. sclerophylla from north-east Queensland and L. humilis var. novoguineensis from Merauke, Indonesia, that are attributable to L. muelleri (see Notes under that species). Mueller (1874b) described L. leichhardtii based on a collection made from MacAdam Ra., Mueller s.n., Northern Territory. Kuntze (1891) provided the combination Saribus humilis. Livistona humilis is a small sub-canopy dioecious palm to 7 m tall; leaves are small and regularly segmented; segment apices are rigid, and with a bifurcate cleft to 89% of the segment length; the inflorescence is unbranched in both male and female plants, extending vertically to sub-vertically well beyond the limit of the crown; male plants have up to 8 partial inflorescences, and female plants a single distal partial inflorescence; bracts are tightly tubular; flowers are yellow; fruit are ellipsoid, pyriform, to obovoid to 19 mm long, and shiny purple 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

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


  • Dioecious palm. Trunk to 7 m tall, 5-8 cm dbh, leaf scars raised, roughened and with remnant tissue, internodes narrow, grey, petiole stubs persistent or deciduous with extreme age or fire. Leaves 8-15 in a globose crown; petiole 40-70 cm long, 6-14 mm wide, margins with small, single, curved dark red spines; leaf-base fibres not prominent, coarse, persistent; lamina costapalmate, regularly segmented, circular, 30-50 cm long, chartaceous, adaxially dark green, abaxially lighter green, glossy; lamina divided for 60-87% of its length, with 30-44 segments, depth of apical cleft 35-89% of the segment length, apical lobes acuminate, rigid; parallel veins 6 each side of midrib; transverse veins thinner than parallel veins. Inflorescences unbranched at the base, sexually dimorphic, vertically erect in both sexes, extending well beyond the limit of the crown; those on fruiting plants (functionally female) straight, to 230 cm long, branched to 3 orders, with a single terminal partial inflorescence; peduncular bracts 5-8, scurfy pubescent; inflorescences on nonfruiting plants (functionally male) arcuate, to 180 cm long, branched to 3 orders; peduncular bract(s) lacking; partial inflorescences 4-7; rachis bracts are tightly tubular, scurfy pubescent; rachillae 3-12 cm long, pubescent. Flowers, male and female similar in gross morphology, in clusters of 2-4, globose, 1.5-1.8 mm long, yellow; sepals broadly ovate, 1-1.3 mm long, membranous, cuspidate; petals broadly ovate, 1.5-1.8 mm long, fleshy, acute; stamens ca 1.3 mm long. Fruit ellipsoidal or pyriform to obovoid, 11-19 mm long, 8-10 mm diam., shiny purple-black; epicarp with scattered lenticellular pores; suture line extends for full length of the fruit, marked with lip-like structures; mesocarp fleshy; endocarp thin; pedicel 0.5-1 mm long. Seed ellipsoid, 7-9 mm long. Eophyll 3-ribbed. (Dowe, J.L.: A taxonomic account of Livistona R.Br. (Arecaceae))A

Materials Examined

  • Specimens examined: AUSTRALIA: Northern Territory. Gulf of Carpentaria, Blue Mud Bay, Morgans Is, 20 Jan1803, Brown (Bennett no. 5796) (BM lectotype, FI, K); Melville Is, Jul-Aug 1911, Spencer s.n. (MEL, NSW); Coburg Peninsula, 13.5 miles S of Danger Point, Chippendale 8220 (MEL); ca 2 miles NW of Caiman Ck, 11º12'S, 132º12'E, Byrnes 1014 with Maconochie (DNA, K, LAE, NSW, PERTH); 19 miles NW of Mount Norris Bay, Chippendale 8164 (BRI); Port Denier, Hill 41 (K); Wessell Islands, Latz 3470 (CANB, DNA); Elcho Is, Maconochie 2179 (CANB, DNA, K, NSW); Arnhem Land, 10.5 km NNE of Murgenella, 11º26'S, 132º58'E, Ross 3306 (MEL); 160 km from Pine Ck, Oenpelli Rd, Gittens 2646 (BRI); Arnhem Land, Schultz 7 (MEL); Arnhem Land, undated (ex Herbarium Hookerianum 1867), Mueller s.n. (K); MacAdam Ra., 1855, Mueller s.n. (MEL); 5 km S of Gove Airport, 12º19'S, 136º48'E, Eurell 78714 (L); 21 km from Gove Airport on Katherine Rd, Forster PIF6028 (BRI); Gove Peninsula, half way between Gove Airport and Nhulanbuy, Rodd 2926, 2927 & 2928 (CANB, DNA, K, NSW); Yirrkala, 12º12'S, 136º47'E, Specht 901 (A, BRI, K, L, MEL, PERTH, US); Munmarlary Stn., Latz 3729 (BRI, CANB, DNA, K); 36.3 miles N of Oenpelli, Chippendale NT8108 (DNA, NSW); Oenpelli, 12º18'S, 133º40'E, Specht 1221 (AD, BRI, K, L, LAE, US); ca 80 km E of Oenpelli, 12º20'S, 133º56'E, Maconochie 1598 (AD, BRI, DNA, PERTH); ca 20 km SE of Maningrida, Rodd 2923 & 2924 (BH, DNA, K, NSW); Gunn Point, Dunlop 3035 (BRI); Near Darwin, ironstone ridges near coast, Allen 158 (K); Port Darwin, Schultz 372 (K); Cannon Hill Airstrip, Martensz 617 & 618 with Schodde (BRI, CANB, DNA, K, L); Darwin, CSIRO Research Stn, Irvine 1674 (QRS); 5 km NWW of Humpty Doo, McKean 39 (K); MacMillan Rd, 8 miles SE of Darwin, Chippendale NT4391 (DNA, NSW); Palmerston Escarpment Reserve, 12º29'09"S, 130º59'24"E, Smith 4334 (DNA, JCT); Palmerston, Stapleton, Nov 1915, Hill s.n. (BM); Palmerston, 10 Jun 1886, Lea s.n. (BM); 35-40 miles from Darwin, on turnoff to Berry Springs, Moore 9227 (BRI); 11 miles S of Berry Springs, turnoff on Stuart Hwy, Beauglehole 10997 (MEL); 2 miles SSW of Mudginberri Stn, Adams 2725 (CANB, K); 34 miles SE of Midginberry HS, 12º45'S, 133º20'E, Lazarides 7795 (K); 30 km W of Jabiru on Kakadu Hwy, Kakadu NP, Dowe 203 (BRI, FTG); Kakadu NP, Craven 5572 (L, MEL); Kakadu NP, 6 km N of Barramundi Ck, Dowe 207 (JCT); Kakadu NP, Lazarides 9090 (MEL); 3 km S of Kakadu NP Headquarters, 12º40'S, 132º43'E, Munir 5590 (NY); 10 miles W of Jim Jim, Byrnes 1725 (CANB, DNA); Obiri Rock, Maloney 2 (NSW); Between Rum Jungle and Batchelor, Shaw 868 (BRI); ca 35 km N of Batchelor, Stuart Hwy, Eichler 17887 & 17888 (AD); ca 160 km SSE of Darwin, Stuart Hwy, Jackson 1050 (AD); 4 miles E of Lake Evella turnoff, 12º45'S, 135º51'E, Maconochie 1513 (DNA, MEL, NY, PERTH); ca 15 km W of BHP Camp, near Caledon Bay, 12º47'S, 136º22'E, Maconochie 1560 (CANB, DNA, K, NSW); Cox Peninsula, 10 km E of Finniss R Stn turnoff, Dowe 214 (JCT); Cox Peninsula, 1.5 km S of Belyuen, Dowe 215 (JCT); Daly Ra., 14 km S of Manton Rd, on Stuart Hwy, Rodd 2910 & 2911 (BH, DNA, K, NSW); Dorisvale Rd, 41 km W of Stuart Hwy, Dowe 213 (BRI, DNA); 140 miles ESE of Darwin, Everist 9267 (BRI); Macdonnell Airstrip, 67 miles N of Katherine, Maconochie 1300 (B, BRI, CANB, DNA, L, K); 16 miles NE of Tipperary Homestead, Lazarides 6687 (BRI, CANB, K, NSW, US); near Grove Hill, 13º28'S, 131º35'E, Blake 16347 (A, BRI, K, L); 3 miles S of Adelaide R., Trapnell 99 (BRI); Daly R. Rd, 30 km SSW of Adelaide R. township, 13º30'S, 131º01'E, 150 m alt., Streimann 8956 with Curnow (L); Adelaide R., 18 Jun 1943, Tyack Bake s.n. (BRI); Stuart Hwy, 11 km NW of Pine Ck, 13º46'S, 131º45'E, 240 m alt., Streimann 8955 with Curnow (L); 22 miles NW of Pine Ck, Perry 1948 (BRI); ca 4 miles W of Pine Ck, Lazarides 227 & Adams (CANB); 36 miles N of Wilton R., Bumen Crossing, 13º55'S, 134º35'E, Maconochie 1457 (BRI, CANB, DNA, K, L, NY); Liverpool R., Gulliver s.n. (MEL); Castlereagh Bay, Gulliver s.n. (MEL); (Darwin), Leanyar, Bosshart 1 (QRS); (Port Darwin), 1855, Mueller s.n. (BO); Wood Is., 1855, Mueller s.n. (BO, MEL); Liverpool R., 1855, Mueller s.n. (BO); MacAdam Ra., 1855, Mueller s.n. (MEL); Strauss Airstrip, 28 miles S of Darwin, Must 957 (BRI, CANB, DNA, K, L); Port Darwin, Schultz 373 (MEL); Woodah Is, Apr 1922, Tindale (US); N of Pine Ck on Stuart Hwy, Walter 3494 (B); (Northern Territory), 1892, Holtze s.n. (MEL); (Port Darwin), Holtze 332 (MEL).


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