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categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 
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CABBAGE PALM

TORBAY PALM

Cordyline australis

Asparagus Family [Asparagaceae]

Flowers:
month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

Berries: berryZpossible        berryZwhite  (cultivars may have red or purple berries)
berry8aug berry8sep berry8sept berry8oct

category
category8Trees
 
category
category8Deciduous
 
category
category8Broadleaf
 
status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6
 
type
typeZclustered
 
type
typeZpanicle
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8fragrant smell8scented smell8scent
scent

22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
An evergreen tree-like plant that grows to 20m. Often planted near the sea where the tempeature does not drop so wildly in Winter.


16th June 2010, nr Bryn Euryn, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Has long linear leaves that gradually taper to a point and seem to radiate from one or more locations at the tips of branches.


16th June 2010, nr Bryn Euryn, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Does not usually flower until above 5m tall or after 8 years of growth. Only after flowering does it then start to branch from the single stem. The flowers are white and in long, branched and clustered panicles.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
White flowers on short stalks in panicles, often near the very top of the plant.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have very short stalks, and are cylindrical in bud.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
When first opening the six white petals resemble a gloved hand reaching out. The sepals are brownish red.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
When fully opened, the six white petals re-curve backwards similar to those of Pyrenean Lily. The six stamens splay wide apart and have greeny-yellow anthers on the ends.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A single stigma extends vertically up through the centre. Petals recurved backwards. Pollen yellowish-green.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are wide and linear and lack a central spine.


22nd June 2010, nr Ravenstown, Cark, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves to 90cm long and 8cm wide with veins running lengthwise, seen here by transmitted sunlight.


Superficial resemblance to : a Tree

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Cabbage [a plant with similar name belonging to the Cabbage Family (Brassicaceae)]. Nor to Chusan Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) which has fan-shaped leaves but is in the differing Palm family (Arecaceae).

There are six different 'Cabbage Palms' (as a common name) known as such in the World, but only one Cabbage Palm is extant in the UK, namely the above, Cordyline australis. It is usually to be found growing near the sea and is often planted in gardens.

A native of Australia. Not really a tree, it just looks like one, but rather a flowering plant, a monocotyledon with just one seed-leaf in the initial sapling stage rather than a pair. The fruit is a berry. The leaves are very tough and can be made into paper. Young shoots are eaten in New Zealand. Dying leaves emit a phosphorescent light in the wild.

Yucca, a plant belonging to the same family, has similar leaves and also white flowers, but the flowers are bell-shaped and larger on Yucca. The flowers of Cabbage Palm, which are on multiple panicles forming a plume, are fragrant. The fruit is a blue-white berry 6mm across, drying with age. The bole has the same diameter throughout its length, and merely grows fatter each year . The bark is creamy-grey and has square cracks.

A SPIROSTANOL STEROID

Tigogenin aka Sapogenin, first discovered before 1931, is a furostanol and spirostanol steroidal saponin found in Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) from which it derives its name, Woolly Foxglove aka Grecian Foxglove (Digitalis lantana) and in Cabbage Palm. It is isomeric with Sarsapogenin, with one of the oxygen atoms occupying the adjacent 5-membered ring instead. Tigogenin is obtained commercially from the waste residues of the production of sisal fibres from the leaves of Agave sisalana and American Agave, which is in the same Asparagus Family as is Cabbage Palm. Tigogenin is useful as a starting material for the production of other steroidal compounds used in pharmacy. It may even have beneficial effects itself yet to be fully evaluated (92% of human trials of pharmaceuticals fail due to adverse toxicity, and that is after they have passed the animal trials).


  Cordyline australis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asparagaceae  

Distribution
 family8Asparagus family8Asparagaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Cordyline
Cordyline
(Cabbage-Palm)

CABBAGE PALM

TORBAY PALM

Cordyline australis

Asparagus Family [Asparagaceae]