Archontopheonix alexandrae (ARECACEAE) Alexandra Palm

Weeds to Whack

A tall palm when fully grown (to about 25 m) the Alexandra Palm is closlely related to the locally native Bangalow Palm A. cunninghamiana but is a North Queensland plant. The palms found in bush regeneration sites have typically escaped from residential gardens. Leaves to 2 metres are stiff pinnately compound fronds. Leaflets are all in the same plane, bright green above with a silvery underside. The base of the petioles form a bright breen crownshaft. The trunk is smooth and ringed with noticable leaf scars and the base is usually swollen (to about 300 mm). Successful because they can grow rapidly In any well-watered situation including shade. It is unlikely that suburban Brisbane was home to palms at all, though pockets of rainforest on the fringes may have contained Bangalows. Archontophoenix means prince (chief) and phoenix (date palm) pronounced ar-kon-toh-FEE-niks.

Juveniles. Photo: Robert Whyte

Flower (Infructescence)

Flowers are formed below the crownshaft. Creamy flower stalks hold purplish flowers. Fruit to about 12 mm across, turn bright red . The locally native Bangalows are less swollen at the base and often better suited to more sheltered areas. There are sometimes brown scales on the undersides of the leaves of the Bangalow, its trunk usually thinner with wider apart rings, and it is more tolerant of cold than the Alexandra. This weed is on the rise and is high risk.

Photo: Robert Whyte