- San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
Bloom time (approximate):
Palm: King Palm Archontophoenix cunninghamiana
FAMILY: ARECACEAE (Palm Family)
Native to rain forests along the central eastern coast of Australia, the king palm Archontophoenix cunninghamiana is also called the bangalow, an Aboriginal word meaning "water-carrying basket." It seems that the tree's crownshaft, out of which the leaves grow, can be cut out and fashioned, with a few clever folds and tucks, into a watertight vessel. These attractive palms also put on quite a show when they flower, with cream-colored stalks presenting a flurry of mauve flowers. The round, green fruit that emerges then turns bright red at maturity.
King palms are truly majestic. With heights of 50 feet (15 meters) or more, and a 10 to 15 foot (3 to 4.5 meter) leaf spread, the palms are an imposing sight any time of the year. But in the fall, when they all begin growing "skirts" made of white flowering tendrils, they look especially impressive, and even more so in winter, when the tiny flowers change to bright red berries.