The warm spell of weather over the last few weeks has not only encouraged the flowers to bloom, but in the Glasshouses our Chambeyronia macrocarpa has put forth a new leaf, illustrating why it is known as the Red leaf or Flamethrower Palm.
Chambeyronia is a genus of only two palms, both endemic to New Caledonia; a cigar shaped island in the Pacific Ocean, 750 miles off the East Coast of Australia.
The genus was named by French botanist Eugène Vieillard in 1873 in honour of the French naval officer Charles Marie-Léon Chambeyron (1827-1891) who mapped much of the coast of New Caledonia as well as helping Vieillard to collect palms from the island.
C. macrocarpa grows in the wet rainforests of New Caledonia between 610-900m and at maturity produces a single trunk 12m tall with gracefully crown of only 8-10 leaves. The feather shaped leaf can grow to 3.6m and emerging leaves are often highly coloured purplish red to bronzy red , changing daily and fading to green on maturity.
It can take a while to establish and it does not like root disturbance so it’s best to think about it’s long term location rather than moving it once planted. When it has established, it grows well but they are slow only producing 1-3 leaves a year.
They require a rich, well-drained soil and plenty of water, if grown in a pot they often suffer due to an inadequate water supply. They will grow in full sun or partial shade and while it is said they can survive with a winter temperature as low as -4 °C they grow best in warm conditions between 10 & 25°C.