722 Carpentaria acuminataCommon Names: Carpentaria palm Family: Arecacea (palm Family)
Similar in appearance to Christmas palm (Veitchia merrillii), Carpentaria Palm has an advantage in its faster growth. This tall, slender palm grows to 40 ft (12 m) on a single smooth gray trunk. The attractive crown is composed of 10-12 gracefully arching leaves, which are deep green on top and blue-green below. Each leaf has a pinnate or feather shape and is 5-6 ft (1.5-2 m) long with 2 ft (60 cm) long leaflets. Carpentarias have a smooth green crownshaft. Both male and female flowers occur on the same inflorescence and are green to white in color. The fruit is 0.5 in (12 mm) in diameter, red in color, and should be avoided as it is an irritant.
Carpentaria acuminata is native to the rain forest areas of Australia's Northern Territory, where it grows in flat lowland areas near lakes and rivers, and at the heads of salt water estuaries.
CultureDespite requiring frequent watering, the Carpentaria Palm has flourished both in its native habitat and in cultivation. With wide soil adaptability and fast growth, this palm is a favorite. Light: Carpentaria palm needs a bright, sunny location. Moisture: Carpentaria Palm requires high moisture and/or irrigation and generally will not withstand periods of drought. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 12. This palm is very sensitive to cold and can be killed outright by heavy frosts. Propagation: The seeds must be fresh - they will germinate in 1-3 months.
The Carpentaria Palm has been highly regarded in the nursery trade because of its attractive form and fast growth. Although it can be planted alone, it is best when planted in groups of 3 or more to create a "forest" setting. Because of its ultimate height, this palm should not be grown next to small buildings as its size will only make the structure appear that much smaller.
This graceful palm looks very attractive when used in street plantings. In tropical Darwin, Australia, it is a popular landscape item for lining boulevards and avenues. Note that the relatively short life span of Carpentaria palm requires that specimens be replaced about every forty years.
Carpentaria Palms are a quick and easy way to landscape a residential or commercial area. Their graceful fronds give a great tropical feel and quickly grow to form an impressive accent to any area.
A point of possible confusion is the genus name. A very attractive North American evergreen shrub, called the California anemone, is named Carpenteria californica - note that this genus is spelled with an 'e'. This plant was named for an American professor named Carpenter. The palm genus was named after Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria, a landmark that actually lies at some distance east of this palm's native habitat which is near Darwin.
The fruit of the Carpentaria Palm is an irritant and should be avoided.
Steve Christman 6/25/00; updated 06/05/06