Nikau Palm

I’m somewhat fascinated by Nikau trees, an endemic palm tree to New Zealand; when allowed, they grow straight and tall, around 15-20 meters high, with massive fronds up to 3 m long. Their root system must be shallow as I can visibly shake a tree about 8 meters tall, which is probably around 30-40 years old. I found many clusters of nikau in the wet areas of my property and actually enjoy sitting there, amongst a forest of palms, in their shade and sheltered from the winds, listening to the birds and allowing my mind to wander. Their fruit is apparently edible, but I have yet to find ripe ones which I can also access. I’ve noticed Kereru (NZ endemic pigeon) and Kaka (NZ endemic parrot) eating the fruit and judging by the amount of juvenile nikau I suppose the bird life is doing well in regeneration dense clusters of nikau forests.

Due to the canopy of these palms, which doesn’t allow much light to hit the soil, same soil is often very weed-free and since juvenile nikau still thrive in such conditions it goes to show that (some) plants don’t need that much direct sunlight to grow. As mentioned the soil is usually wet and muddy and if you dig you’ll hit clay within 20 cm. One thing that springs to mind when watching the tall, straight and hard trunks is whether nikau is a good source to building a log cabin. I wasn’t able to find any links on the internet regarding log cabins and nikau but simply can’t imagine Maori not having used it to build homes and shelters.

Anyway, here are some pictures.

Mature and juvenile nikau.
A juvenile nikau, I hear a specimen like this could be as much as 8 years old.
Growing straight but rather horizontal than vertical.
I suppose this part is called the ‘crown’ of a palm.


People pay good money to have a few of these in their residential front yard.

It is also that time of the year when I can watch the sun set, disappearing uninterrupted behind the horizon of the gulf. I took a couple of pics of the the other day some 5 minutes after sunset. Albeit slightly shaky, still not too bad.

A few minutes after sunset.

4 thoughts on “Nikau Palm”

  1. I expect the wood rots pretty quickly in it’s natural state, but maybe not as quick as punga (sp?) the tree fern. Those sideways trees probably got blown over in a storm but as the roots were still ok just righted their crowns and carried on growing. Nice focus on one particular type of tree, one of the most recognizable of NZ flora. Now see if you have a kauri anywhere. I assume they must have been growing on the Barrier at some point? Maybe you should plant a couple, it is regenerating bush after all xxxxx

    1. Pungas do rot very quickly, I don’t know, the Nikau seem trunk seems so sturdy, I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t rot. I suppose, I’ll cut one down and leave it on the ground and check in some years. Yo man, I’ve located some old Kauri on the property, massive trees and massive root system, stretching over 20 meters. I’ll have a go at taking pics of them, but should go for a fish. It was blowing its guts out for some days, this morning seems fine, so perhaps tomorrow morning to the Cape or East Coast…

  2. Servus Mr. Island, auch auf die Gefahr hin das ich hier was verpasst habe: Was macht eigentlich Mohammed? Ich hab mich das schon oft gefragt aber nie getraut auszusprechen… Mohammed war doch immer meine “ICat” (I = Synonym für was, was man besonders gerne hat). Poste doch mal paar Fotos von Mohammed in action. Lass es Dir gut gehen und lass mal wieder skypen! Viele Grüße aus der weissen Kühltruhe Munich 😉 JO

    1. Servus Shigeru, dem Momo geht es ganz gut. Fuer ‘ne Weile, mehrere Monate, kam er so gut wie nie rein und hat staendig nur rumgeheult. Ich habe ihm ‘ne automatische
      Fuetterungsmachine besorgt und er kam damit einfach ueberhaupt nicht klar. Absolut veraengstigt. Dann war er auch eifersuechtig mit Rani. Fuer ‘ne kurze Zeit konnte ich auch Stoeckchen mit Momo spielen. Ich warf etwas und er lief hinterher, schneller als Rani und wollte es zurueckbringen. Aber er hat schnell kapiert, dass
      Stoeckchenholen nix fuer ne Katze ist, zu monoton, zu lahm. Seit ein Paar Wochen verweilt er wieder auf der Couch und schlaeft auch drinnen.
      Ansonsten faengt er die Ratten und legt sie vor die Tuer. Ich werde Momo in action fotographieren und was posten. Machs gut, B

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