Item #: 5972-1
Availability: In Stock
In Stock Quantity: 98

If you're looking for a tropical stunner that closely approximates a pinnate palm, but tolerates the heat and cold of Southern California, look no further. The Ribbon fan palm, native to the coast of Queensland, Australia, occupies a class all its own, with a peculiar morphology that looks more feather than fan palm.

The L. decipiens thrives in the Southern California climate, from the coast to the hot inland valleys (though the extreme heat of the desert may prove much for this palm) and is easily the fastest grower in our collection, adding at least 24 inches every year. Standing below this tree, one cannot help but admire the unique look formed by its leaf bases - which shed quite easily - exposing a shiny reddish-brown, obliquely ringed trunk. 10 to 12 foot-long leaf stalks, or petioles, protrude from the trunk like the thin spokes of a wheel allowing ample light to shine through and forming a ringed crown of lush, dense drooping leaflets. The leaf segments of the Ribbon fan palm are divided almost completely to the costa and stream down from a third to half way in the summer heat, with a beautiful, pendulous form. The look is very tropical and lush - similar that of the much less drought and heat tolerant pinnate palms.

A few examples of this palm can be found in Balboa Park, San Diego, just south of the Botanical Building along the reflecting pool path on the west side of the Casa del Prado building. There are also three much older Livistonia palms on the north east side of the road behind the Botanical Building. I am told these once had a placard identifying them as Livisonia decipiens. But that placard is gone, and while the leaf form is that of the L. decipiens, this variety has significantly shorter petioles and a smaller diameter crown.

Price: $120.00
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    Clear Trunk Height:

    How we measure palms

    Conditions for Growth

    Native conditions for this palm are tropical to temperate in moist soil with good drainage. However, this plant thrives at our grove in Riverside, where temperatures range from the 30s in the winter up to 112 in the now hotter than ever summer. These palms thrive in heat, with adequate water, loam soil in full sun. Their water requirements will very depending on costal to inland conditions. It is unknown if the palm will endure the extreme heat of the desert, though it is doubtful absent regular water and partial shade.

    Growth Rate and Size

    Most literature suggest this palm grows at a slow to moderate pace, but in Riverside, these palms - along with their very similar cousin, L. saribus - are the fast growers in our collection, increasing at a rate of well over a foot per year.


    Solitary palm with redish-brown trunk with obliquely ringed leaf scars, swollen at base. Leaf bases fiberous, persisent, but easily pulled off on young specimens and self-cleaning on mature specimens. Costapalmate, induplicate, with long petiole (nearly 10 feet). Leaf is probably 5-6 foot in diameter and equally long when laid flat. Leaf has narrow segments deeply divided nearly to the costa.

    Livistona decipiens

    Ribbon Fan Palm

    Landscape Environment

    Grow Region:

    Origin: Queensland, Australia

    Drought Tolerance: High

    Cold Tolerance: Low

    Salt Tolerance: Moderate

    Soil: Adapatable

    Light: Paritial shade to full sun


    Mature Height: 30 feet

    Trunk: redish-brown with obliquely ringed leaf scars, swollen at base , Solitary

    Leaf: leaf segments deeply divided segments nearly to the costa, 4-5 feet long, narrow segments, hanging from about half to two thirds

    Leaf Petiole: up to 10 feet long

    Armature: Sharp, short teeth


    Flowers: 4 feet long, shorter than leaves.

    Fruit: globose, .7 inches, black

    Human Uses: Specimen


    Subfamily: Coryphoideae

    Tribe: Corypheae

    Subtribe: Livistoninae