Alsmithia longipes (= Heterospathe longipes)
A smallish palm with a slender, solitary trunk to 3.5 m (12 ft) tall that holds an open crown of ascending, bright green, pinnate leaves that unfold in a brilliant red. The fruits are rather large and bright red, the single seed is heavily sculpted and very easy to recognize. Alsmithia is very rare in cultivation as well as in its wild habitat on the Fijian Islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu, where only a few hundred individuals persist, growing on steep slopes in extremely wet, dense rainforest to about 500 m (1600 ft.) a.s.l. Originally described by legendary palm botanist Hal Moore as Alsmithia longipes, it has recently been transferred to the genus Heterospathe, a questionable move, despite some DNA data in support. In cultivation, Alsmithia does best in a sheltered spot in the tropics.