Ptychosperma macarthurii (H. Wendl. ex H.J. Veitch) H. Wendl. ex Hook. f.

Etymology Genus Cleft seed
Species After Sir William Macarthur, an Australian botanist
Family Arecaceae
Synonyms Kentia macarthurii H.Wendl. ex H.J. Veitch, Ptychosperma bleeseri Burret
Common Names MacArthur Palm, Hurricane Palm
Status Exotic: Naturalised
Form Multi-stem palm
Native Distribution New Guinea and Northeastern Australia


Ptychosperma macarthurii can be found extensively as a cultivated palm in urban areas or naturalised in young secondary forests. It can be recognised very easily from its multi-stem form, as well as the leaflets which possess somewhat flat or jagged tips.

Interesting Facts:

This is the most abundant palm being cultivated in Singapore, according to a botanical survey within 5 towns which I conducted in 2011. The high planting intensity, ability to tolerant shade, together with efficient seed dispersal by frugivorous birds, caused it to be widely naturalised around Singapore. A study by Yeo (2011) found them growing in 27 out of the 30 forest fragments investigated. Records were also known in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and even in an offshore island, Pulau Sakijang Pelepah (Lok et al., 2010).

Form of the MacArthur Palm.

The leaflets end with a flat tip.

Rings on stem are widely spaced.

Flowers close-up.

The fruits will turn reddish when ripe.

The palm is frequently planted densely in a row to form a hedge.


Lok AFSL, KY Chong, K-X Tan & HTW Tan. (2010) A checklist of the spontaneous exotic vascular plant flora of Singapore. COSMOS, 6(1): 57-83.
Yeo HT. (2011) Establishment and spread of exotic palms in Singapore's forest patches. Unpublished thesis. National University of Singapore, Singapore. 31 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-07-16 / Modified: 2017-12-25