Chambeyronia macrocarpa (Houailou)
Houailou Red Leaf Palm
A rare, highly ornamental and much sought after palm that grows in a remote valley near Houailou on New Caledonia’s east coast together with Kentiopsis oliviformis. It sports a yellow-green crownshaft and red emergent, stiffly recurved and strongly keeeled leaves with very thick, leathery leaflets. Young plants have very large, bifid, entire leaves. The seeds are much larger than those of regular Chambeyronia macrocarpa and have a smooth, even layer of fibers covering them, much like in Hedyscepe, rather than the ornate fibers so typical of the regular form. In fact, the seeds and the whole plant are quite different from the common Chambeyronia macrocarpa, so much so that the Houailou Chambeyronia may become a separate species altogether when more research gets done to shed some light on the genus. In cultivation it is very easy and adaptable. To reach their optimum shape, Mature plants are best grown in full sun. Warm temperate, subtropical, or cool tropical climates suit the Houailou Red Leaf Palm best, and it can even take an occasional light frost.