APS Sutherland: Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve Virtual Tour

9 - Palm garden

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There are over 60 species of palms in Australia, and over 2,000 species worldwide. Most of them are from tropical rainforests, but some grow in deserts and some in snow-covered mountains. The tallest can reach 60 m, while the smallest are less than 60 cm. Their leaves can be palmate (like a fan) or pinnate (like a feather) in shape. Some palms have a single trunk, others grow with a cluster of stems.

Many of Australia’s 60 palm species can be found labelled throughout this Reserve. Two species of palms are native to the Sydney region: the Bangalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) with pinnate leaves and the Cabbage Tree Palm (Livistona australia) which has palmate leaves. Both have singe trunks and can grow to 25 m or more.

Palms are a valuable economic crop, providing food, alcohol, oil, wax, fibres and timber. They all flower and set seed and provide an important source of food and shelter to many species of birds and insects.