Lady Palm
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Lady Palm
P Introduced Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Broadleaf lady palm
Botanical name: Rhapis excelsa    Family: Arecaceae (Palm family)
Synonyms: Rhapis major, Rhapis cordata , Rhapis javanica

Lady Palm grows up to 4 m tall and 3 cm in diameter in multi-stemmed clumps with glossy, palmate evergreen leaves divided into broad, ribbed segments. Leaf segments are single or few in young plants and increase to a dozen or more in mature plants; segments are divided up to the leaf-stalk. Leaf-ends are saw-toothed unlike most other palms, occurring on slender leaf-stalks ranging from 20 to 60 cm in length. New foliage emerges from a fibrous sheath which remains attached to the base. As the plants age, the sheaths fall, revealing the bamboo-like trunks. This usually dioecious palm species produces a small inflorescence at the top of the plant with spirally-arranged, fleshy yellow flowers containing three petals fused at the base. Ripe fruit are fleshy and white, though Lady Palm more readily propagates via underground rhizome offshoots. Lady Palm is native to China, Japan and SE Asia, cultivated worldwide.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in cultivation at TNAU, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

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