SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ptychosperma
COMMON NAME(S): Macarthur palm, Ptychosperma, Solitaire
FAMILY: ARECACEAE (PALMAE) - Palm family
ORIGIN: Australia, New Guinea, South Pacific, about 30 spp.
HABITAT: Cultivated landscapes
CHARACTERISTICS: Stems gray, ringed with leaf scars, leaf sheaths tubular and forming a crownshaft, single-stemmed or clustering
LEAVES: Alternate, feather-like, 3-6' long, the leaflets broadly lance-shaped, often blunt or jagged at tip
FLOWERS: White, small, separate male and female borne in great number on branched, pendulous flower stems held below the crownshaft
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring, summer, fall
FRUITS: Red or black, round, 1/2-3/4" in diameter, fleshy, 1-seeded
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Calcium oxalate
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: The species of this palm genus have variable levels of calcium oxalate crystals in the fruit walls. Of the two most commonly cultivated species, P. elegans (R. Br.) Bl. (Solitaire palm, Alexander palm) and P. macarthurii H. A. Wendl. (Macarthur palm), only the latter is known to be irritating. Most of the black-fruited species have irritant fruit.