Licuala rumphii

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Figure 1. L. rumphii


Common Names:

Celebes fan palm,
Lontar tree (from Ambonese Herbal, see below)

Distribution & Habitat:

Rainforest in Sulawesi (Celebes) and the Moluccas in Indonesia.


A medium sized, tightly clumped fan palm, that develops slim trunks to about 3m tall. The numerous, large, semi-circular to circular leaves are made up of 6 to 10 wedge-shaped sections.


This plant is mentioned in the Ambonese Herbal, a 1657 catalogue of medicinal plants of Ambon, an island in the archipelago of present-day Indonesia. It was a guide to 1,300 plants used to treat diseases in 17th-century Indonesia, which was compiled by an employee of the Dutch East Indies Company. It says L. rumphii was used to treat tuberculosis and colitis, and modern day medical researchers are now looking at it as a possible source for antibiotic, antidiarrheal, and anti-infective drugs.


Warm, sheltered and moist. Tropical or warm sub-tropical.

Contributed by:

Luke Nancarrow (Figure 1)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk