"Red Cabbage Palms (Livistona mariae subsp. mariae)" Top 5 Page for this destination Alice Springs Off The Beaten Path Tip by AlbuqRay
Alice Springs Off The Beaten Path: 55 reviews and 234 photos
Palm Valley is home to a diverse range of plant species many of which are rare and unique to the area. The Red Cabbage Palm is found only in Palm Valley and a few other small locations in the Finke Gorge National Park. A survey was done in 1993 and it determined that the population was approximately 12,300 plants, but only ~1200 mature palms. They are tall fan palms that grow up to 26 meters tall. They grow 10 - 30 cm per year depending on their access to water. The tallest palms are 100 - 300 years old. These palms are the remnants of the rainforest that once covered the area in a wetter geological time 60 million years ago and retreated into the valley as the climate got cooler and drier.
Hydrogeologist John Wischusenhas has written a PhD thesis, about how the palms might have survived through the extreme temperatures of prehistoric times because of very old ground water, and that they continue to tap into this 300,000 year old water. This water is moving slowly enough through the underlying Hermannsburg sandstone that could probably sustain the palm population for hundreds of thousands of years without any further rainfall.
There is a problem with young palms being destroyed by visitors not knowing what they are walking on. The continual regeneration of the palms is necesary for the survival of this population. Please be aware of where you are walking and keep to marked tracks where possible.
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