Metroxylon warburgii commonly called the natangura palm. It is a medium-large solitary palm tree that can grow up to about 30 feet tall. It has spiny leaf bases and leaves that bend backward slightly. The plant reaches maturity around eight years old, and is also monocarpic, which means that it can only flower once before it dies.
The genus name Metrozylon is formed from the combination of two Greek words: metra, meaning “womb,” commonly translated as “heart” in this context, and xylon, meaning “wood,” referring to the large proportion of pith contained in the plant’s stem. The species name warburgii is given in honor of renowned German botanist Otto Warburg.
The fruit, covered in tough scales, are relatively large for palms and contain one seed.
The leaves are used as roof thatch in Vanuatu, and they are now also trying to develop an industry of nut carving. The nuts are extremely hard and carvers produce things like animal figures, jewelry and napkin rings from them, which are then exported.
There are two Metroxylon warburgii thriving in the Merwin Palm Collection.
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