Livistona australis

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Livistona australis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Tribe: Trachycarpeae
Genus: Livistona
L. australis
Binomial name
Livistona australis

Livistona australis, the cabbage-tree palm, is an Australian plant species in the family Arecaceae. It is a tall, slender palm growing up to about 25 m in height and 0.35 m diameter.[2] It is crowned with dark, glossy green leaves on petioles 2 m long. It has leaves plaited like a fan; the terminal bud of these is small but sweet. In summer it bears flower spikes with sprigs of cream-white flowers. The trees accumulate dead fronds or leaves, which when the plant is in cultivation are often removed by an arborist.

Seeking protection from the sun, early European settlers in Australia used fibre from the native palm to create the cabbage tree hat, a distinctive form of headwear during the colonial era.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Mostly this plant is found in moist open forest, often in swampy sites and on margins of rainforests or near the sea. It is widely spread along the New South Wales coast and extends north into Queensland and southwards to eastern Victoria, growing further south than any other native Australian palm.


The cabbage-tree palm grows best in moist, organically rich soils, and thrives in both sheltered and well-lit situations. It is also salt, frost and wind tolerant, with populations occurring in exposed coastal situations along the east coast of Australia from Queensland to Victoria. The most southerly stand is near Cabbage Tree Creek 30 kilometres east of Orbost, Victoria (37° S).

Reproduction is by seeds. At first the fruit is red, finally turning black, at which point it is ready to be peeled and planted.

Significance in Aboriginal culture[edit]

The cabbage-tree palm was called "Dtharowal", where the Tharawal language gets its name from. New growth of the tree could be cooked or eaten raw and the heart of the trunk could be cooked as a medicine to ease a sore throat. Leaves of the cabbage-tree palm were used for shelter and fibres for string, rope and fishing lines.[3]




  1. ^ "IPNI: Livistona australis". International Plant Name Index. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  2. ^ Boland et al., pp. 71–72.
  3. ^ Watt, Bruce (2014). The Shire : A journey through time. China: Everbest. p. 11. ISBN 9780646920191.


  • Boland, D.J.; Brooker, M.I.H.; Chippendale, G.M.; Hall, N.; Hyland, B.P.M.; Johnston, R.D.; Kleinig, D.A.; & Turner, J.D. (1984). Forest Trees of Australia. (4th edition). Thomas Nelson, Australia; and CSIRO: Melbourne. ISBN 0-17-006264-3.

External links[edit]