Piper Palm House

The Piper Palm House was created to house exotic varieties of tropical plants, including palms.  The Park Director, John Karel has carefully planned and executed every step to preserve this landmark for the future generations. In 2008 David Knoll the foremost tropical plant and palm expert was contacted to design an original and unique look. The new design captures the founder’s imaginative intent. The exotic plants have been gathered from all around the world. Please take a moment and browse the gallery below.

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The Piper Palm House is a non-for-profit organization, which accepts donations for continual care and new initiatives. Please consider a visit or hosting an event in this tropical paradise. Bring your camera to savor the moment.

Walter Knoll Florist can design and maintain a plant paradise for you.

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Below are picture and description of the actual plants in the Piper Palm House.

Alexander Palm

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Synonymy:
Seaforthia elegans (Ptychosperma elegans)

Common Names:
Solitaire Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Tropical rain-forest throughout northern Australia.

Description:
This is a single, slender, grey trunked palm to 10m. It carries a small head of semi-erect leaves, each pinnae notched in the typical Ptychosperma fashion, and produces bright red fruits.

General:

Solitaires are produced in the thousands by nurseries in the south as indoor or patio palms. Given a shady spot, they grow slim and elegant, holding a crown of dark green leaves above a green crown shaft. Irrigation, fertilizer and mulch are necessary. No garden would be without the odd corner to accommodate a specimen or two. Not used very much in public plantings, but popular locally (Northern Territory) as a tub palm. Becoming very popular with landscapers because the leaves aren’t as big and hard to deal with as the widely used Archontophoenix Alexandrae.

Wodyetia bifurcate

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Common Names:
Foxtail Palm

Habitat:
Exposed gravel hill tops on Cape Melville on Cape York, north Queensland.

Description:
Very attractive palm with long (2-3m.) plumose leaves (hence the name ‘Foxtail’), and up to 10m tall with a grey trunk. It produces large (about the size of a duck egg) orange fruit.

General:
This spectacular palm was only discovered in the late 1970’s and because of demand for seeds and it being endemic to only a very small area there developed a flourishing black market in its seed for several years. Even today, the Queensland Government still has the palm on its endangered species list, even though there are now tens of thousands of the palms growing throughout the world, many of which are now fruiting.


Adonidia merrillii

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Synonymy:
Veitchia merrillii

Common Names:
Christmas Palm

Distribution:
Philippines

Habitat:
Rainforest

Description:
A very attractive, medium sized, slender, solitary palm with a neat crown of arching bright green leaves. They also have large bunches of bright red fruit (@ 3cm long) which are produced around Christmas time in the USA, hence the common name.

Culture:
Sunny, moist, but well drained position. An excellent, fast growing garden plant but one which unfortunately is very cold sensitive, and so it is only really suited to the tropics.


Aiphanes horrida

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Synonyms:
A. aculeata,

A. caryotifolia,

plus many more.

Common Names:
Coyure Palm,
Ruffle Palm,
Aculeata palm

Distribution & Habitat:
South American rainforest.

Description:
A single trunked palm, which is covered in long black spines, which grows to about 10 m. It has a very attractive crown of light green, broad ruffled, spiny leaflets, (similar to Caryota, hence the old name), on pale spiny stalks. The fruits are bright red.


Chamaedorea metallica

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Common Names:
Metallic Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Mexican rainforest.

Description:
A very attractive small palm, with simple, undivided leaves, and a deep apical notch. The leaves are held upright, (like a shuttlecock) and have a very interesting and unusual metallic sheen.

General:
A very popular landscaping palm.

Culture:
A moist, well drained position, from deep shade, thru to full sun.


RhapisExcelsa
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Synonymy:
Coryphiodeae

Common Names:
Rhapis Palm

Distribution:
China

Habitat:
Clustering densely, up to several hundred stems, each with 4-10 leaves

Description:
As an indoor plant Rhapis Excelsahas no palm rival. (Not even Howea forsteriana) Its ability to handle low light intensities, low humidity, varying temperatures plus its suitability to pot culture, small to moderate size and slow growth rate make this palm ideal for indoor culture.

General:

One of the reasons for this palm’s popularity is its ease of culture. Rhapis Excelsa is very adaptable to soil types although neutral to slightly acid soils with good drainage and organic matter is recommended for best results. This palm as is the case with most Rhapis species is an under storey plant so for best results a partially shaded spot under trees or a pergola is ideal. Rhapis Excelsa can be grown in full sun as long as soils are good and adequate water is available. Leaves however will lose their deep green coloring, will become yellowish green and on the hotter days will probably burn.


Howea Forsteriana

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Common Names:
Kentia Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Lord Howe Island where it is widely distributed over the island, from low on the coastline, up onto the mountains.

Description:
A very graceful, solitary, medium sized palm, with a dark green ringed trunk, to about 10m tall. It has beautifully drooping, dark green leaflets, and a brown hessian like thatch around the leaf bases.

General:
Probably the most commonly grown indoor palm through out the world, and with good reason, being incredibly tolerant of neglect, and capable of withstanding very low light situations, as well as air-conditioning.

Chamaedorea elegans

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Synonymy:
Neanthe bella

Common Names:
Parlour Palm

Distribution:
Mexico and Guatemala

Habitat:
Understory plant of the rainforests.

Description:
A very attractive, small, single stemmed palm, to about 2m tall, with light green wide, pinnate leaves. Its usually seen in clumps, since it looks more attractive this way, however this is just due to multiple seeds being sown together.

General:

Probably the most commonly grown indoor palm in the world. Very resilient to low light, air-conditioning, drying out, and over watering

Culture:
Shaded, sheltered, and moist.

 

 

 

Syagrus Botryophora

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Synonymy:

Arecatrum romanzoffianum var borryophra

Common Names:
Pati Queen Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Coastal woodlands of Brazil

Description:
Very similar in appearance to S. romanzoffiana, although slightly more robust to about 18m tall, S.botryophora has re-curved leaves, in which the leaflets are ridged, ascending, forming a V shape. They are regularly arranged and spread in one plane.

General:
A very fast grower. In Florida this palm grows at twice the rate of the common Queen Palm

Gaussia Maya

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Common Names:
Maya Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Central America, Mexico: AM sun, Full sun in Coastal areas.  Inland, filtered sun

Description:
A unique species that is known for the bulge at the base of the trunk.  Then, miraculously, this bulge shrinks as the palm matures, eventually giving a somewhat thin-trunked palm. Grows to a height of 20 feet, Single trunk, when young has a prominent bulge at the base of the trunk. Leaf type is pinnate (feather shape), usually only hold 4 to 5 frowns.

General:
Cold tolerant to 25 degrees

Trachelospermum jasminoides

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Synonymy:
Apacynaceae Family

Common Names:

Star jasmine

Habitat:
China

Description:

Distinctive white 4-petaled flower, fragrant, early summer. Size: 1-2.5ft, spread to 20ft

Leaves: opposite, oval, thick and leathery, 2in long, dark green on top, lighter underneath

General:

Hardiness to 16°F

 

Caryota mitis


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Common Names:
Fishtail Palm

Climate Zones:
Warm temperate to tropical areas. Can tolerate light frosts.

Habitat:
Tropical rainforests from India through to Southeast Asia.

Description:
This is a clustering palm, which can form a clump up to 8 meters (24 feet) high and 4 meters (12 feet) across at the top. The trunks are about 150 mm (6ins) across, are light green/grayish color with quite widely spaced leaf nodes. Each trunk produces flowers for several seasons, starting from the top of the trunk and moving downwards, but then dies after its final seeding. The leaves are light green, bipinnate, and triangular, closely resembling a fish’s tail in shape. The leaves don’t absciss when spent, but they are easily removed due to the palms size. The flowers are pale cream, while the fruit are reddish-orange, 10 – 20mm (3/8 – 3/4in) long.

Note: The fruit contain crystal oxalate, which is an irritant to eyes and skin.

Culture:
This attractive palm prefers a shaded, well-drained position. It doesn’t like full sun and being tropical, it also doesn’t like to get too dry. It is a very useful and attractive plant for the gardener, its leaf color and shape making it quite distinctive. Propagation is by seed, which usually takes 3 – 4 months to germinate.

 

PhoenixRoebelenii

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Common Names:
Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Rainforest of Laos/Vietnam/Thailand.

Description:
Small to medium sized palm to about 3m, although older plants can be quite tall. Have very attractive dark green feather leaves, and spined petioles. Not self-cleaning, so old fronds need to be manually removed (it can get be painful, due to the spines).

General:
Quite a popular plant due to its hardiness, attractiveness and small size (good for small areas).

Interestingly enough, all the cultivated plants are single trunked, yet in the wild, they are all clumping, and single trunked specimens haven’t been found.

Culture:
Full suns thru to heavy shade, and likes lots of water (although not wet feet). Seedlings can be quite slow, but speed up considerably once they start to trunk.

Dypsis lutescens

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Common Names:
Areca Palm

Habitat:
Madagascar

Description:
A clustering palm, with up to about a dozen golden colored trunks, but no main trunk as the Ptychosperma have. The trunks curve out from the base while the feather leaves a quite re-curved as well.

General:
One of the most popular palms in the tropics and sub-tropics, due to its ease of growth, and attractiveness. Used for both landscaping duties, as well as an indoor plant.

Culture:
A very adaptable palm, but grows best in full sun, in a well drained, but moist spot. Drought tolerant, but not very frost tolerant.


Ravenea rivularis

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Common Names:
Majestic Palm

Habitat:

Along (and in) rivers of central Madagascar.

Description:
A very large (massive) palm, with a large, untidy crown.

General:
Is becoming a very popular palm in Queensland, but few people are aware of just how large this palm can get, and one often sees it planted in places where its going to cause real problems later on.

 

Licuala grandis

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Common Names:
Ruffled Fan Leaf Palm,
Vanuatu Fan Palm,
Palas Payung

Distribution & Habitat:
Lowland rainforest of the Soloman Islands, and Vanuatu

Description:
A very attractive, single trunk Licuala, to about 2.5m, with glossy, dark green, entire leaves.

Culture:
A very popular plant among palm collectors. Likes moist soil, and can stand full sun in the tropics (high humidity), though requires shade in the sub-tropics.


Chamaedorea Seifritzi

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Synonymy:
C. seiberti,
C. erumpens

Common Names:
Bamboo Palm

Distribution:
Central America

Habitat:
Rainforest

Description:
A tall, (to about 3m) densely clumping palm, with canes up to about 1cm in diameter.

Culture:
Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Needs shade when young, but can take full sun as it gets older. The most cold tolerant of the bamboo Chamaedoreas.


Strelitzia Nicolai

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Common Names:
White Bird of Paradise

Distribution & Habitat:

native to South Africa

Description:
Their large banana-shaped leaves and can reach heights of 20 feet

General:
The flowers can reach a size of 10-12 inches, but plants need to be a few years old before they will flower. It is used outdoors in Florida and California as a landscape plant.

Cycas Revoluta

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Common Names:
King Sago Palm, Sago Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
native to southern Japan

Description:
This very symmetrical plant supports a crown of shiny, dark green leaves on a thick shaggy trunk that is typically about 20 cm (8 in.) in diameter, sometimes wider. The trunk is very low to subterranean in young plants, but lengthens above ground with age. It can grow into very old specimens with 6–7 m (over 20 feet) of trunk; however, the plant is very slow-growing and requires about 50–100 years to achieve this height. Trunks can branch multiple times, thus producing multiple heads of leaves.

General:

It is not a palm at all, but a cycad. The Sago Palm is the most popular in horticulture. It is seen in almost all botanical gardens, in both temperate and tropical locations. In many areas of the world, it is heavily promoted commercially as a landscape plant.


Livistona Chinesesis

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Common Names:
Chinese Fan Palm, Chinese fountain Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

China

Description:
The Chinese fan palm may reach 50 ft (15 m) tall, but is generally smaller, with a more modest size of 20-30 ft. (6-9 m) It has a smooth grey stripe, and a dense canopy made of slightly drooping palmate leaves.

General:

This palm is a slow grower, especially in temperate climates. It will withstand negative temperatures of 20-15°F (-7 to -9°C) for brief periods. It thus can be grown in USDA zones 9 and warmer.

Aglaonema-Silver Bay

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Common Names:
Chinese Evergreen

Distribution & Habitat:
Native to the tropical swamps and rainforests of southeastern Asia from Banglasdesh east to the Phipippines and north to southern China.

Description:
They are heraceous perennial plants growing to 20-150 cm in height. The leaves are alternate on the stems, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, dark to medium green, 10-45 cm long and 4-16 cm broad, depending on the species. The flowers are relatively inconspicuous, white or greenish-white spaths that can give way to red berries.

 

Nephrolepis exaltata

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Common Names:
Boston fern, S
word fern, or Fluffy ruffles fern

Distribution & Habitat:
Boston fern is a shade-tolerant plant that grows best in moist soils and warm, humid conditions. It is found near swamps, forests, damp hammocks and along roadsides. While it prefers well-drained soil, it can also grow as an air plant, attaching itself to cabbage palms and other trees.

Description:
The leaves, called fronds, arise in clusters from the base and have an elliptical outline, with many, alternately arranged, shallow-toothed leaflets, or stripes. Leaflets are bright green and scaly at first, becoming smoother, as the plants grow. Leaflets near the leaf base may be more sickle-shaped. The reddish-brown to brown stems shoot out in different directions from the base of the plant and are often covered with slight fuzz.

General:
Boston fern is common in tropical hammocks and areas with lots of light and moisture, where the plants may form thick blankets on the forest floor. It can often be seen growing on the trunks of cabbage palms, or other trees across Florida. The vegetative growth has the ability to filter pollutants out of the air and is sometimes planted to help purify and humidify an environment. In South Florida, Boston fern is an evergreen plant. In more northern areas, it is killed by frost in the winter, but reemerges in the spring.


Chambeyronia Hookerii

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Synonymy:
This plant is correctly known as Macrocarpa Hookerii form, but it is often sold as C. Hookerii

Common Names:
Hookerii form of C. Macrocarpa

Distribution & Habitat:

New Caledonian rainforest.

Description:
C. Hookeriihas a reliable red/bronze new leaf, turning to light green with purple petiole, rachis and lamina (veins) – and with the white/yellow crown.

General:
In Queensland the white/yellow form is sold as C. Hookerii, which is not a true species, but it does appear to be a useful sub-classification name since the plants are of a uniform coloring.

Culture:
This plant prefers a slightly shady position, in contrast to the ordinary C. Macrocarpa, which is a full sun lover. It also likes lots of water, and doesn’t mind slightly wet feet.


Osmanthus fragrans

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Common Names:
Sweet Osmanthus; also known as Sweet Olive, Tea Olive and Fragrant Olive

Habitat:
N
ative to Asia, from the Himalaya east through southern China (Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan) and to Taiwan and to southern Japan. Sweet osmanthus is also the ‘city flower’ of Hangzhou, China.

Description:
It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 3–12 m tall. The leaves are 7–15 cm long and 2.6–5 cm broad, with an entire or finely toothed margin. The flowers are white, pale yellow, yellow, or orange-yellow, small (1 cm long), with a four-lobed corolla 5 mm diameter, and have a strong fragrance; they are produced in small clusters in the late summer and autumn. The fruit is a purple-black drupe 10–15 mm long containing a single hard-shelled seed; it is mature in the spring about six months after flowering

Culture:

Commonly seen as an ornamental plant in gardens in Asia, Europe, North America, and elsewhere in the world, for its deliciously fragrant flowers which carry the scent of ripe peaches or apricots. A number of cultivars have been selected for garden use, with varying flower colour

Kangaroo Paw Fern

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Synonymy:
Microsorium diversifolium, Phymatosorus diversifolius

Common Names:
Kangaroo Vine

Distribution:
Canberra region

Habitat:
It prefers sunny spots, covering the tops and flanks of large granite boulders, for example in the higher reaches of ferny creeks in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. It scrambles thickly over the sides of the boulders with the rhizomes sometimes hanging down to the creek.

Description:

Striking fern with leathery, dark green fronds.

General:

Can be grown in ground or in pots or on trees in humid situations Size 10 to 60cm, temperature Range Subtropical

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