Saturday, 17 January 2009

Rhopalostylis baueri

ICON. EXPL. Tab. 151. Areca sapida in insula Norkfolk unacum Alsophila excelsa, Freycinetia Baueriana, Phormio tenaci et Araucaria excelsa exhibita, seconum icones de Ferdinando Bauero relictas. Habes igitur, benevole lector, heic, exemplo sane rarissimo, in loco naturali uno eodemque palmam, filicem arborescentem et arborem ex ordine coniferarum.

Historia naturalis palmarum : opus tripartium
Carol. Frid. Phil. de Martius. Volume 3 of 3

Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, (1794 - 1868)
Cresit in insula Norfolk: Forster, King, Ferd. Bauer, Backhouse; in nova Selandia prope Wangaroa (latitudine 35 grad.) in sylvis humidis ad fluviorum ripas aeque in apricis montion : Jos. Banks, Allan Cunningham. Hanc Palmam verosimiliter ultimum Palmarum limitem versus Austrum attingere, latitudine australi circiter 38 graduum, observat ill. Rob. Brown in Flinders Trav. II. p. 577.

Ferdinand Lukas Bauer (1760-1826) The above plate from Martius' monumental book on palms was worked up from drawings made by Bauer, who had travelled to Australia, Norfolk Island, Timor and the Cape) accompanying the botanist Robert Brown in the Investigator in 1800-1805 (commanded by Matthew Flinders). Bauer was a superb draughtsman, but his perfectionism and extreme attention to detail meant that the vast majority of his drawings remained unpublished as engravings.

Martius was of the opinion that this palm "Areca sapida" grew both on Norfolk island and New Zealand. Later botanists separated the species into the species baueri from Norfolk island and sapida from New Zealand - which specimens grew at the southerly latitudes to which Robert Brown referred.

The current name for this palm is

Rhopalostylis baueri H. Wendl. & Drude

Two varieties are recognised:
Rhopalostylis baueri var. baueri (Norfolk Island)
Rhopalostylis baueri var. cheesemanii (Kermerdec Islands)

As a cultivated plant, this palm is extremely rare in Portugal. There is one specimen at Monserrate (near the lower ornamental lake, next to the Taxodium) another specimen grows at the Lisbon Botanical Garden amdist a grove of Kentias.

Curtis's Botanical Magazine 5735 as Areca Baueri
Nicholson's Dictionary figures a young pot grown plant. Vol. VI p. 299

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