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Rhopalostylis sapida pics

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cbmnz

Here are some was surprised to find at a local nursery this weekend. The larger ones show their growth habit in deep shade. These must have been planted decades and decades ago.

These would be planted, as they don't occur naturally under that type of  endemic white pine (known locally by the Maori name Kahikatea)  as where it dominates, the ground under would be too wet even for R. Sapida.

Human draining of the surrounding land has created a middle ground of drainage allowing the two species to occur together here.

 

 

 

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PalmCode

That's interesting. There's plenty of ancient nikau growing under two very large old Kahikatea (estimated around 700 years old) in a swampy gully not far from where I live. I took a few photos when I first saw those impressive trees a few years back. Sorry for the bad photo quality but It's pretty dark down there and my cameras not very good, but better than nothing I guess.

I don't think Rhopalostylis sapida can ever get too much water.

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cbmnz

Those are ancient beautiful Nikau specimens indeed, must be hundreds and hundreds of years old. I guess when I think about it there are some pockets of Kahikatea on Mt Pirongia where Nikau are prolific so in places they would be only a few metres apart.

As a rule though I've never seen R. Sapida in the understory of the full on swamp forest that Kahikatea  and Pukatea completely dominate (e.g the Hauraki plains), so suspect mud loving as they are, they have a limit and can't grow where the ground is literally standing water the majority of the time. Could be wrong however and mabe there is another reason why they have been absent in the swamp forests that I have seen.

 

 

 

 

 

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PalmCode

Yeah I'd say you're correct.  I'f there's no Nikau growing in those parts of the swamp forests then it's just too constantly wet, and muddy for them to establish there.

If you planted mature palms there they could possibly survive but any seedlings would just rot away probably.
 

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cbmnz

I found this just in the past week and posted this on the European Palm Forum. If even some of these observations are correct, the range of R. Sapida is much wider than I thought. Crucially it means there are some isolated groves way inland, way past where I thought the limits were. If the Ulva Island observation is genuine, it extends the natural (or at least naturalised) range to 47S.

Of more interest to those looking for a cold hardy variant though would be the groves reported in 1987 deep in thew Tongariro forest in North Island. That's heavy frost country in there and heavy wilderness. Be a solid day to walk in to where they are reported, would need to camp night to walk out next day.

http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/plant_distribution_results.aspx?Species_Name=Rhopalostylis+sapida

Just leave all fields blank and hit search. Then zoom in on New Zealand on the map.

Caution though, I went to check out a reported population in the Jim Barnett reserve today as that was only 30min drive from home and drew a blank. The only one I could find was a single  very obviously planted specimen. I've sent feedback to the site about that.

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cbmnz

Thanks to the map above, found another natural population right nearby, with public assess,  that I did not know was there. Nice surprise as thought I had explored every natural area within 1hr's drive. This population extends very slightly their inland limit that I have personally seen. It's really pushing their range as the forest is more a temperate inland mix- a lot of smaller leaf evergreens. Tawa, Kamahi, Pittosporumn form the canopy.

This little visited reserve has no tracks,  so you have to push through a jungle of supple-jack vines and very easy to walk in circles when you think you are heading straight . Real risk of getting lost if did not have gps/smartphone  . On the first short visit I saw plenty of seedlngs up to this size,  but no seeding adults.

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This time took a different route up a ridge and eventually found to these old beauties. (Which ironically are near the reserve boundary hence the exotic trees in background.) Here are these est. 200-300 year old specimens right at the edge of their inland range where the forest does not look as tropical as other parts of this country, yet they darn well look like Coconut palms. This species sure is a freak of nature that somehow cold adapted and survived ice ages at 35-44S lat when all other palms retreated back to the tropics.

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cbmnz

Have only explored about 1/5 of the reserve so far, be interesting to see what this sub-population looks like in more sun, if can find some that have breached the canopy.

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sipalms

Beautiful. Most beautiful palm in the world after coconut (no bias of course!)

They look so darn incredible under canopy, and then once they breach the canopy they take on such an incredibly different, signature shuttlecock look. I'm pretty sure no other palm does this in such a dramatic contrast.

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