The Palm Society--Northern California Chapter

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Plectocomia himalayana

Plectocomia himalayana

Common name: Himalayan Rattan Palm
Native to: India Northeast
Mature height: 80 ft
Mature spread:
Growth Habit: suckering / solitary
Leaf type: pinnate
Plectocomia himalayana

photo by: Dennis Valdez
David Sylvia and Eric Christensen Garden
San Jose


The natural habitat of Plectocomia himalayana, the Himalaya Rattan Palm is Northeast India in the Himalaya Mountains at altitudes of 6,500 ft. An amazing climbing palm that has been seen reaching above the tree tops as high as 80 feet tall in habitat. Even more amazing is the fact that they can be covered with frost and snow. The Himalayan Rattan Palm is of a small genus of rattan palms nicely arching leaves that are light green. The leaves have long extension of the midrib that is hooked which the plant uses for climbing. The natural habitat is mostly shaded conditions with some sun since their habit is reaching up through other trees racing for sunlight. There are also yellow spines that surround the trunk that help grip for climbing and protection. The leaflets are oval and wide tapering like a spearhead. Considered to be one of the most ornamental of the rattan palms, Plectocomia is a suckering species that will amaze anyone that sees it. The growth rate is very fast and well suited for temperate and subtropical climates. Cultivated specimens have reportedly been thriving throughout California in palm collectors gardens and throughout the world. The natural habitat has poor soils. They have soft pith, therefore not usually used for fine furniture although the canes are very useful for tying and basketry.

For similar spiny climbing palms consider Calamus or Daemonorops.

Plectocomia himalayana

photo by: Dennis Valdez
David Sylvia and Eric Christensen Garden
San Jose
This species in the garden:
Growth rate: Fast
Sunlight: Shade / Partial Sun
Water: moderate
Cold Tolerance: 22 F
Seed or plant availability: rare

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© 2004 by the Palm Society, Northern California Chapter