One look at the new fronds on this palm and you’ll quickly see why it is called Flame Thrower palm. As the new spears open they flush a bright red which contrasts beautifully with the green foliage. Their wide leaflets and glossy surface make this palm really stand out from a distance.
No wonder it is the national tree of New Caledonia.
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Originating in New Caledonia, a “mere” 750 miles away from Australia in the South West of the Pacific Ocean, Chambeyronia macrocarpa is a fascinating palm which evolved in a completely different fashion than other members of the Arecaceae family because of millions of years of isolation.
The Chambeyronia genus has evolved into 9 species all endemic to the New Caledonia, contributing to a rich and diverse flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Of all the family members, the Chambeyronia macrocarpa was the only one introduced into cultivation, however it stays a rare occurrence on the nursery’s shelves. Due to its limited natural habitat and slow growth, Chambeyronia macrocarpa is considered vulnerable in the wild. Habitat loss and potential overharvesting for the horticultural trade pose significant threats to its population.
One of the most striking features of Chambeyronia macrocarpa is its foliage. The leaves emerge in bright red or pink hues, gradually changing to a glossy green colour as they mature.
Care & Size Guidance
Despite originating in the understory of rainforests, in the UK, the Flame Thrower palm will be happy in a brightly-lit position. Chambeyronia will appreciate a few hours of direct sun every day in order to keep them looking their best. The reddening of new leaves lasts approximately 10 days, after which they turn into a beautiful blue-green.
Chambeyronia macrocarpa is a slow-growing palm tree. This slow growth rate makes it a prized ornamental plant, often cultivated by enthusiasts and collectors. These palms spread out horizontally from a young age so give them plenty of room to allow them to look their best.
Use a rich potting mix, but allow the top few centimetres of soil to dry out between watering. Feed regularly with a palm fertiliser from April-September.