Habitat: Rainforest, swamp forest, mangroves, littoral forest and diverse riparian and riverine habitats

Conservation status: Not listed, but many areas where it occurs are protected 

Scientific name: Licuala ramsayi

Common names: Chakoro, native fan palm, Australian fan palm, Queensland palm, wedge-leaflet fan palm

Typical height: 10-20m

Climate: Grows best in frost-free, tropical or subtropical climates

Growing conditions: Moist fertile soil in part shade/shade


The fan palm (Licuala ramsayi) is an icon of the Daintree. This medium-sized, single-stemmed palm usually grows up to 15m in height, though it can reach 25m. It features a single, upright, and slim trunk that can be up to 20 centimetres thick. The top of the palm is adorned with expansive, fan-like foliage. These leaves, extending up to two meters, display delicate, feather-like segments that contribute to the palm's elegant look. The leaf segments are a vibrant green on the top side and have a silvery colour beneath. 

The palm also boasts an attractive floral display of cream blossoms, which are succeeded by red berries. It is commonly known as the wedge leaflet fan palm or the hessian hair fan palm. 


The Queensland fan palm (Licuala ramsayi) thrives in shaded areas of rainforest with abundant moisture.

While young, it has a preference for dense shade, but as it matures, it becomes capable of withstanding sunlight. Its growth rate is notably slow, requiring patience from the grower, but the outcome is rewarding. Licuala ramsayii is capable of enduring temperatures in the single digits for brief durations during the winter months, but it cannot survive frost.

This palm species is native to the north-eastern region of Queensland, ranging approximately from Cooktown to Ingham. The primary habitats of Licuala ramsayi are around Mission Beach (notably the Licuala Rainforest), as well as in Tully, near the Daintree River, and around Cape Tribulation.

Growth and threats

Typically, this palm begins its growth in the lower forest layers and ascends to brighter areas as it surpasses the tree canopy. In South-East Queensland, where humidity levels are often low, excessive sunlight can harm the plant. Similar to its Licuala counterparts, the Queensland fan palm is sensitive to wind. It's worth noting that for this species, having split leaves is a common trait. 

This palm experiences minimal issues with pests and diseases. It tends to attract mealybugs at certain times throughout the year and has a slight vulnerability to scale insects. Although it is a riparian plant, it is susceptible to oedema and root rot if the soil remains overly wet, particularly during the colder season.

Protection of freehold land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest ensures populations of iconic Daintree plants and animals, including the fan palm (Licuala ramsayi), are managed for conservation. Please, donate now to help us protect this vital habitat. 

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