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LIVISTONA rotundifolia

Image of Livistona rotundifolia

James Burghardt

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

LIVISTONA rotundifolia

Plant Common Name

Footstool Palm, Roundleaf Fountain Palm

General Description

Noted for its bold rounded evergreen leaves, this medium-sized, single-trunked fan-palm is native to Southeast Asia and New Guinea.

The large, emerald-green, circular fronds are edged with numerous rigid to arching, pointed lobes. Young plants have relatively shallow-lobed leaves; older plants have more deeply divided leaves with long lance-shaped segments that radiate like the spokes of an umbrella. More than 30 fronds are borne atop the trunk on long stalks ("petioles"), forming an open, spherical crown. The petioles are edged with short tooth-like prickles. Plants are initially stemless, developing a trunk after several years. Trunks of younger specimens are coated with matted fibers and bristle with the protruding, wedge-shaped petiole bases ("boots") of fallen leaves. Older specimens have gray trunks that are ringed with reddish leaf scars. Large branching inflorescences with numerous spike-like clusters of small pale yellow flowers droop from the leaf crown in spring and sometimes at other times of year. Although bearing apparently perfect flowers (with male and female parts), individual plants function as males or females, with only some producing fruit. "Female" plants produce small spherical fruits that ripen red and then black.

This palm grows best in full sun, moist well-drained soil, and high humidity. Some shade is required when plants are young or where humidity is low. It is frost-intolerant, and suffers considerable leaf damage in high winds. Use it as a vertical accent where its crown has ample room to show to full advantage. It also works well in containers, particularly when young.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-75' / 12.2m - 22.9m

  • Width

    18'-22' / 5.5m - 6.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Dark Red, Brown, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    White, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No