Native to the island rainforests of southeast Asia, specifically Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi, the Pinaga coronata is a palm that occurs on very steep hillsides in montane forest and on flat areas in lowland forest, ranging from sea level to nearly 4,000 feet above sea level. It bears the common names “Kuhl’s Palm” and the “Ivory Cane Palm”. The tree grows to about 24 feet tall in clusters , and is often seen as an understory tree.
The Pinaga coronata is among the most ornamental of the palms, and it’s easy to see why. It develops a white crown shaft and slim, ringed green trunk with feather shaped leaves. The bright red, foot-long, branched flower stalks hang below the crownshaft throughout the year and display small pink flowers, sprouting out just below the crownshaft in a bright pink inflorescence. These blooms give way to dark purple and red sprays of half-inch-long fruits which ripen year round.
The Ivory Cane Palm is best grown in part to full shade, and is mainly grown in the tropics, but this palm has some tolerance to cold and can withstand cold temperatures for short amounts of time. In the Merwin Palm Forest, this palm prefers a sheltered and moist position.
There are 56 of this species in the Merwin Palm Collection.
Want to “virtually explore” the Merwin Palm Collection? Search through our archive of Palm Facts of the Week, featuring palms hand-planted by W.S Merwin. To search through the Online Merwin Palm Database, visit this link.
If you’re inspired to help The Merwin Conservancy preserve and care for the world-renowned Merwin Palm Collection into the future, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.
Photos by Forest and Kim Starr are used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License (CC BY 2.0).