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Species profile—Livistona nitida


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → Arecaceae (palm) → Livistona nitida

Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Arecaceae (palm)
Scientific name
Livistona nitida Rodd
WildNet taxon ID
Alternate name(s)
Carnarvon fan palm
Dawson fan palm
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Near threatened
Conservation significant
Pest status
Short Notes
three sheets
Livistona nitida is a tall, single stemmed palm to 20 m (rarely to 35 m) tall, with a basal diameter of 25-40 cm. The trunk is grey in colour with prominent petiole stubs at the base, and smooth at the top. The crown is open to dense consisting of 35 to 50 leaves. The petiole is 170 to 200 cm long and 20 to 26 mm wide, smooth or with marginal thorns. The lamina may be circular, 160 to 190 cm long by 0.2 to 0.3 mm thick, coriaceous, dark green in colour, glossy, and may be divided up to two thirds of its length. The lamina is divided into 68 to 80 segments, which droop distally, and are deeply bifurcate with acute lobes.
The inflorescences are 150 to 200 cm long, branched to 4 orders, with scaly bracts. The flowers are yellow in colour, funnel-shaped, solitary or in sympodial clusters of 2 to 4. The sepals are triangular, 1.5 mm long, subacute and fleshy. The petals are broadly ovate, 2 to 2.2 mm long, acute and thick. The fruits are globose, 13 to 20 mm in diameter, glossy and black. The seeds are globose, 10 to12 mm in diameter (Rodd, 1988; Dowe and Jones, 2011).
Livistona nitida is distinguished from L. australis on characters which include: a highly glossy surface of the ripe fruits, in contrast to the reddish brown or dull black fruits of L. australis.
Livistona nitida is confined to woodlands and forests along banks and channels of larger semi-permanent streams, in sandy, silty or gravelly alluvium, and occasionally on cracking clay. The species may also be found at cliff-bases and on cliff-ledges in sheltered sandstone gorges, most notably in Carnarvon Gorge. In the eastern part of its range it is most found associated with Eucalyptus tereticornis and E. microtheca, but to the west it is frequently associated with E. tereticornis, E. melanophloia, E. camaldulensis, Corymbia maculata, C. citriodora, Angophora floribunda, Corymbia tessellaris and Macrozamia moorei (Rodd, 1988; Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Pollination of Livistona nitida is probably by wind and perhaps by generalist insect pollinators such as bees. Seed dispersal is undoubtedly facilitated by birds and fruit bats, as found for related species elsewhere (Corlett, 2005).
Livistona palms form well structured populations where it is simple to determine size structure classes based on trunk height, thus allowing a quantitative surrogate for population health (Hnatiuk 1977; Forster, 2009). The effect of fire on both recruitment and persistence of Livistona nitida is largely unknown, with only anecdotal observations currently available. There is evidence of seedling establishment for L. nitida away from sheltered gullies and creek lines (often rocky) where pockets of fire exclusion occur. Virtually all adult and subadult individuals show extensive evidence of fire scorching on the trunks, indicating that they are able to resist the majority of 'cooler' fires (Forster, 2009).
The species may have genetic inbreeding depression as a result of small population size, particularly in some remote populations (e.g. Precipice and Palmgrove National Parks
Livistona nitida flowers from August to December and fruits from November to March (Dowe and Jones, 2011; Queensland Herbarium, 2012).
Threatening processes
Processes thought to present ongoing threats to Livistona nitida include: too frequent fires that prevent seed set and kill juveniles; timber harvesting on leasehold land where the species occur which is likely to result in the occasional destruction of adults and juveniles, and harvesting from private land (Forster, 2010).
There are no measures currently taken to specifically reduce these threats with respect to this species (Forster, 2010).
Status notes
Livistona nitida is listed as Near Threatened under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Management recommendations
Forster (2009) notes that Livistona nitida requires accurate survey to determine the number of subpopulations, geographical range, area of occupancy, and number of individuals. In addition as there is little or no information available on the genetics, reproductive biology, dispersal, recruitment or population structure of this species, research into these areas is also recommended (Forster, 2009).
Bostock, P.D. and Holland, A.E. (eds) (2010). Census of the Queensland Flora 2010. Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.
Corlett, R.T. (2005). Interactions between birds, fruit bats and exotic plants in urban Hong Kong, South China. Urban Ecosystems 8: 275-283.
Dowe, J.L. and Jones, D.L. in Wilson, A.J.G. (Ed) (2011). Flora of Australia 39: 173.
Forster, P. (2009). Conservation Status Assessment for Livistona nitida Rare and Threatened Species Technical Committee November 2010.
Hnatiuk, R.J. (1977). Population structure of Livistona eastonii Gardn., Mitchell Plateau, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 2: 461-466.
Queensland Herbarium (2012). Specimen label information. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 04/01/2012.
Rodd, A.N. (1998). Revision of Livistona (Arecaceae) in Australia. Telopea 8 (1): 96.
Profile author
Lynise Wearne (04/01/2012)

Other resources

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Last updated
8 March 2022