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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Arecales

Familia: Arecaceae
Subfamilia: Arecoideae
Tribus: Areceae
Subtribus: Rhopalostylidinae
Genus: Rhopalostylis
Species (2): R. baueri - R. sapida


Rhopalostylis H.Wendl. & Drude, 1875


Eora O.F.Cook, J. Heredity 18: 409 (1927).


Wendland, H. & Drude, C.G.O. 1875. Linnaea 39: 180


Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Rhopalostylis in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jun 09. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Rhopalostylis. Published online. Accessed: Jun 09 2019.
The Plant List 2013. Rhopalostylis in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jun 09. 2019. Rhopalostylis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jun 09.

Vernacular names

Rhopalostylis is a genus of two species of palms native to the South Pacific. Both are smooth-trunked, with regular ringed scars from fallen leaves. The leaves are 3–5 m in length, and the leaf bases encircle the trunk.


Rhopalostylis baueri occurs on Norfolk Island and the Kermadec Islands northeast of New Zealand; the Kermadec Islands population, formerly separated as R. cheesemanii, was included in R. baueri in 2005 after comparison revealed no significant differences. R. sapida, known as the nikau palm, is the only palm native to mainland New Zealand, and is found in lowland forests in the North Island, in coastal areas of the South Island as far south as Banks Peninsula, and on the Chatham Islands at 44°S. R. sapida thus has the southernmost range of any palm genus.

Subfamily: Arecoideae; tribe: Areceae; subtribe: Rhopalostylidinae. Rhopalostylis is closely related to the Lord Howe Island genus Hedyscepe.

Image Trunk Scientific name Common name Distribution 0944 rbgs10dec.jpg 0945 rbgs10dec.jpg Rhopalostylis baueri Norfolk Island palm, niau, Kermadec nikau Norfolk Island (Australia) and Kermadec Islands (New Zealand)
Nikau Palme 01.jpg Nikau MRD.jpg Rhopalostylis sapida Nikau New Zealand the North Island, and on the South Island as far south as Okarito, west and Banks Peninsula in the east. Chatham Island and Pitt Island/Rangiauria


H.A. Wendland & Drude, Linnaea 39:180, 234. 1875 Type:R. baueri

de Lange, P.J.; Gardner, R.O.; Crowcroft, G.M.; Stalker, F.; Cameron, E.K.; Braggins, J.E; Christian, M.L. 2005: Vascular flora of Norfolk Island: some additions and taxonomic notes. New Zealand Journal of Botany 43: 563-596.
"Trilepidea Newsletter (July 2005). (New names for the Kermadec nikau palm and Three Kings cabbage tree)" (PDF). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
Kew palms checklist: Rhopalostylis

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