Camphor Laurel

camphor laurel in Acacia Ridge, Brisbane

Cinnamomum camphora Family: Lauraceae           Origin: China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam While the camphor laurel is an invasive weed here in Australia, in its native lands of Asia, some larger specimens of this tree are considered monuments and are very much loved by the people who live around them. In Japan, Kamou no Ohkusu is a very large and old (possibly over … [Read more...]

Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island pine growth form

Araucaria heterophylla Family: Araucariaceae          Origin: Norfolk Island People in climates where this tree can’t be grown outside (most notably in the US) grow what they think are Norfolk Island Pines in pots in their homes. Unfortunately, they’re usually mistaken. What is mostly available as a houseplant is actually the Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris). But for the … [Read more...]

Canary Island Date Palm

Canary Island date palm crown

Phoenix canariensis Family: Arecaceae          Origin: Canary Islands Technically invasive but somehow is forgiven by many; the Canary Island Date Palm (a close relative of the true Date Palm) is widespread in most tropical and subtropical lands around the world. In some areas, it’s naturalized and stands solitarily, enjoyed in the landscapes and gardens of people around the … [Read more...]

Chinese Fan Palm

Livistonia chinensis, a chinese fan palm in Calamvale, Brisbane.

Livistona chinensis Family: Arecaceae Origin: Japan, Taiwan, and southern China In most parts of the tropical world, this tree is a beautiful and unassuming addition to landscapes in parks and in conservatories, as well as home gardens. Cultivated for container use, it has also happily made its way around the world in the ground. Even though its origin is in Asia, it has … [Read more...]

Cuban Royal Palm

Cuban Royal palm trees, taken on the southside of Brisbane

Roystonea regia Family: Arecaceae Origin: Southern US, Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico, and Central America Another tall and stately palm, this time originating from the subtropical and tropical regions of the New World, Cuban Royal palm is a beautiful and adaptable tree perfect for many uses. In its native lands, it’s used for lumber and thatch, as well as a base for medicines. The … [Read more...]

Bismarck Palm

A Bismarck palm tree in Brisbane

Bismarckia nobilis Family: Arecaceae          Origin: Madagascar Said to be named after the first chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck, the entire Latin name honors him with “nobilis” meaning ‘noble’ at the end. Otto maintained peace between the German states during his lifetime, creating the first welfare state in history and maintaining loyal support for 30 … [Read more...]

Golden Cane Palm

Tall golden cane in algester, brisbane

Dypsis lutescens Family: Arecaceae       Origin: Madagascar Commonly known as the Golden Cane palm, this palm is extremely popular in landscapes and gardens not only here in Australia, but in many parts of the world. Where it gets too cold to cultivate outside, Golden Cane palms make wonderful and happy houseplants. In fact, this plant has won the Royal Horticultural … [Read more...]

Cabbage Tree

Cordyline foliage

Cordyline australis Family: Asparagaceae    Origin: New Zealand In its native habitat, the Cabbage Tree is an interesting yet much appreciated tree by native animal and human populations. This tree was cultivated by an endemic people of New Zealand as a source of fibers used for clothing, shoes, baskets, and fishing gear. The fruits are a welcome and favorite food of a … [Read more...]

Cocos Palm

unsightly fronds hanging from a cocos palm in Brisbane

Syagrus romanzoffiana Family: Aracacaea Origin: Native to South America. Planted extensively throughout the mid-19th century and still popular in landscaping today, the Cocos Palm can be found all over Australia’s east coast, in Darwin, Western Australia, South Australia and in Tasmanian parks and garden. A long-lived palm, it can grow from 1-2 metres annually and will … [Read more...]

African Tulip

African Tulip flowers kill Australian native bees.

Spathodea campanulata Family: Bignoniaceae           Origin: Native to the tropical, dry forests of Western Africa. With their flaming red flowers, African Tulips Trees have been popularly used as ornamental plants, decorating the suburban streets and gardens of Australia’s tropical and subtropical regions. However, they have become a serious, invasive threat in Northern … [Read more...]