09 December 2012


From afar, I noticed the developing inflorescence atop this majestic palm, that I was told was planted in the early 1920s. 

Commonly known as the Talipot Palm (Family: Arecaceae / Palmae), this amazing palm from Sri Lanka and southern India has the largest inflorescence of any living plant and flowers and fruits only once in its lifetime. Upon pollination, the round fruits take about a year to mature and contain only a single seed. After the fruiting process ends, the palm dies soon after. Apparently, the flowering and fruiting processes are so energy demanding that the plant can only afford to do it once.

I remember the last time I heard about this remarkable phenomenon happening in the Singapore Botanic Gardens was in 2004-2005 although the fruiting wasn't as spectacular as documented perhaps because there were sufficient pollinators here. Well, we now have about a year to observe this palm and see how the flowers develop into fruits before it all dies down to ashes. This is definitely a must see event for the plant kingdom.