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Licuala ferruginea


Licuala ferruginea Becc.

Family Name: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Common Name: Fan Palm, Palas, Ferruginea Fan Palm


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
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Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Palm (Solitary Palm)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, and Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a short-stemmed, understorey palm that occasionally produces suckers and is up to 5 m tall. Its medium to large-sized, fan-shaped leaves have long leaf stalks and blades that are round and palmate. There are 5–20 leaves in the crown, that originate from the base of the plant, and are erect or arching.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked, medium- to large-sized leaves are erect or arching, fan-shaped, palmate, and up to 5 m long. The leaf stalks are about 1.5–3 m long, with narrowly triangular, reflexed spines in the margins of the lower portion. The leaf blades are round, 1–1.8 m wide, palmate with 10–25 linear leaflets, and dull green on both surfaces.
Crown Shaft Absent.
Flowers Its small flowers are 4–5 mm long and borne on a branched, spreading inflorescence that is erect or arching, often shorter than the leaves, and 0.5–1 m long. The inflorescence stalk is densely covered with rusty red hair.
Fruit Its crimson to pink fruits are dark purple to black when ripe, round, and 15–17 by 12–15 cm.
Habitat It grows in seasonal swamp and moist alluvial lowland forests. It occurs locally in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. Its fruits and seeds are probably eaten and dispersed by birds.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed or suckers.
Etymology Makassar (Moluccan) leko wala, referring to Licuala spinosa; Latin ferruginea, rusty red colour, referring to the rusty red hair covering the inflorescence

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable for parks. This plant is suitable for planting in moist, partially-shaded or shaded areas for its attractive, fan-shaped foliage.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Leaf

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Fruits)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Sucker


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Shape(s) Palm Fronds (Fan / Costapalmate)
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 2.5 (Palm - Solitary)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Palm) Solitary Habit, Aboveground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Pink, Purple, Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1348
Species ID 2641
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 10 December 2021.