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Lady Palms
Rhapis humilis1.jpg
Rhapis humilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Coryphoideae
Tribe: Corypheae
Genus: Rhapis
L.f. ex Aiton

Rhapis is a genus of about 10 species of small palms native to southeastern Asia from southern Japan and southern China south to Sumatra.[1] The species are commonly known as Lady Palms. They are fan palms (Corypheae tribe), with the leaves with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets. The plants have thin stems growing to 3–4 m tall, branching at the base, forming clumps and are dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate plants. Rhapis is closely related to the Maxburretia and Guihaia genera and with them form a taxon within Thrinacinae represented by carpel specialization.[2][3]

  1. Rhapis cochinchinensis (Lour.) Mart. - Thailand, Laos, Vietnam
  2. Rhapis excelsa (Thunb.) A.Henry - Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Yunnan, Vietnam; naturalized in Thailand, Japan, Ryukyu Islands
  3. Rhapis gracilis Burret - Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Vietnam
  4. Rhapis humilis Blume - Guangxi, Guizhou, Vietnam; naturalized in Japan and Java
  5. Rhapis micrantha Becc. - Laos, Vietnam
  6. Rhapis multifida Burret - Guangxi, Yunnan
  7. Rhapis puhuongensis M.S.Trudgen, T.P.Anh & A.J.Hend. - Vietnam
  8. Rhapis robusta Burret - Guangxi, Vietnam
  9. Rhapis subtilis Becc. - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Sumatra
  10. Rhapis vidalii Aver., T.H.Nguyên & P.K.Lôc - Vietnam

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Several species are cultivated as ornamental plants, of which Rhapis excelsa is the most common. Rhapis excelsa and some other species are relatively cold tolerant and can be grown outdoors in subtropical or warm temperate climates. Rhapis excelsa was listed by NASA as one of the best plants for removing toxins from the air.[4]


  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  3. ^ Flora of China, Vol. 23 Page 146, 棕竹属 zong zhu shu, Rhapis Linnaeus f. ex Aiton, Hortus Kew. 3: 473. 1789.
  4. ^ "Plants for Sustainable Living". 2014.