Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Livistona australis

Arecaceae

Cabbage Tree Palm or Cabbage Palm or Fan Palm

daranggara (ta-rang-gera) to Eora people

Description

This beautiful palm grows up to 30 m high and is crowned with shiny leaves 3-4.5 m long. In summer it bears flower spikes with sprigs of cream-white flowers. The fruit is red, turning black when it is ready to be peeled and planted.

Where it is found

The Cabbage Tree Palm occurs in moist open forest, often in swampy sites and on margins of rainforests. It is widespread along the New South Wales coast and extends north into Queensland and south into Victoria.

Uses

  • The growing tip of the palm is edible; however, harvesting of this tip kills th plant because if cannot regrow from another point
  • The Aboriginal people of the Sydney area use the leaves as roof thatch and for weaving baskets. They also used the fibrous bark to make fishing lines (Turbet 1989).
  • In Cape York, shallow bag-like nets are made from the bark fibres.

When we were old enough, we used to hold dances down in the old shed and we used to row across to the Commerong Island to be Cabbage Tree Palms and tomato vines to decorate the hall. Wed come back home and rig up a light bulb and wed pretty it up. Wed have an old man there who used to play the accordion, and we used to enjoy it very much.
Barbara Timbery

Further information

Click here for further information on Livistona australis.

Livistona australis
The growing tip of the Cabbage Tree Palm (Livistona australis) is edible. Its fibrous bark is used to make fishing lines. Palms play an important role in Dreaming stories of the Aboriginal people of the NSW coast.

Livistona-australis
Livistonia australis: habit, leaf.