Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Nīkau palm

with 25 comments

Nikau Palm 3429

New Zealand is like southern California and Florida and Arizona and other places where people have planted plenty of alien palm trees, but New Zealand does have one native species, Rhopalostylis sapida, commonly known as the nīkau palm. Here you see a nīkau palm that I photographed in the forest at the Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth, in the northern part of the North Island, on the afternoon of February 6. Note the various tree ferns near the palm (and if I seem to be above some of them, it’s because I was indeed standing at a higher point and aiming sideways with the camera oriented vertically, so the wide-angle lens pulled in some of the ferns below me).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2015 at 6:02 AM

25 Responses

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  1. Vegetation like this and in the previous post make me imagine dinosaurs roaming about in the undergrowth. There were huge tree ferns and palm-like plants back then where the dinosaurs lived.

    Jim in IA

    March 15, 2015 at 6:09 AM

    • I get that primeval feel too and I’m reminded of “There were giants in the earth in those days.” I wouldn’t mind going back in my time machine as long as there were a mechanism to keep the dinosaurs at bay.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 7:23 AM

  2. That is a handsome palm. The fringey things on the trunks are interesting. On my last trip to Florida I went on a palm tour~had no idea there were that many species. Wow!


    March 15, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    • My impression is that the fringy things are the inflorescence, though if I’m wrong I hope someone will set me straight.

      Yes, there’s a slew of palms. The Wikipedia article says: “Roughly 202 genera with around 2600 species are currently known….” Wow is right.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 7:37 AM

  3. Looks to be quite the lush location and that is a handsome palm. I wonder if anyone there specializes in palm reading.

    Steve Gingold

    March 15, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    • A lush location it is. I wish I knew how to read those palms better, and many of the ferns remain foreign to me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 4:07 PM

  4. I’ve been through Warkworth quite a few times, but have yet to indulge in a walk in the Parry Kauri Park. I should be able to correct this deficiency during my next visit, which will probably be in January. I’m tempted to ask if your tour included other Kauri sites, but I don’t want you to give anything away prematurely. I’m a patient fellow…


    March 15, 2015 at 4:39 PM

    • I’m glad to hear you’ll likely go to Parry Kauri Park on your next visit. I didn’t make it to any other kauri sites (at least not that I’m aware of) but I’ll have a kauri picture from this site within the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately it was too drizzly for pictures on my first visit, and even on the second visit the sky was still overcast, and I don’t like to aim up into a white sky.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 5:24 PM

  5. Gracias por visitar mi blog. Ello me ha permitido conocer el tuyo ¡muy interesante!
    Un saludo.

    • Igualmente, Isabel. Me gusta conocer otra persona a quien le interesa fotografiar la naturaleza.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 5:40 PM

  6. Did you get any photographs of the Nikau palms on the West Coast/South Island? I enjoyed seeing them en masse along the coastline.


    March 15, 2015 at 5:01 PM

    • It seems like I failed on that count. I did take some pictures of native bush along SH 6, but in looking through them just now I didn’t see any with prominent nikau palms. What I caught was so hit-and-miss. That’s understandable but still too bad (sigh).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 5:43 PM

      • All my photography along the West Coast was hit and miss, mostly miss.


        March 15, 2015 at 5:50 PM

        • I know that feeling. A few days ago I was driving in my neighborhood when all of a sudden a small hawk with a smaller bird in its talons swept right across my trajectory just a few meters in front of me. I’d never seen such a thing, but even if I’d been standing there with my camera ready I don’t think I could have captured that. There are always things that get away from us.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 15, 2015 at 6:08 PM

          • When I last was in Kansas, I had a similar experience. I was driving down a gravel road when a hawk with a large snake in its talons flew right in front of me. I even could see the snake writhing. I rarely feel sympathy for snakes, but I did that day.


            March 15, 2015 at 7:25 PM

  7. I just was looking at the photos on the page you linked, and that does seem to be the flowers, mid-palm. There was another photo that showed the developing fruit, too. I was surprised to see the flowers not at the top of the palm, in the midst of the leaves. It’s an unusual growth pattern. It looks very much like a vase of fronds atop a pedestal.


    March 15, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    • Right. It was in online sources that I saw the inflorescence mid-palm and assumed that’s what I was seeing here. Given all the theoretical permutations and the great number of species out there, I’m wondering if there isn’t a plant somewhere in the world that has whatever arrangement we can imagine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 15, 2015 at 8:59 PM

  8. Thank you for this wonderful shot of the Nikau palm. I absolutely love New Zealand for its incredible beauty and all its variety of stunning environments. So pleased you were able to sample this as well.

    Mary Mageau

    March 16, 2015 at 3:53 AM

    • Me too. It took me only decades to get there after first developing an interest in the place. Let’s hope we can both return for more visits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 16, 2015 at 6:38 AM

  9. Great photo. Our landscape resembles a lot of different countries and climates too. That is why it was so good as Middle Earth

    Raewyn's Photos

    March 17, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    • Right: I often got a tropical feel even though New Zealand isn’t in the tropics.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 17, 2015 at 2:27 PM

      • Northland is more tropical, while the South Island is more European with rolling hills and snow.

        Raewyn's Photos

        March 17, 2015 at 2:29 PM

        • It was the peak of summer, so we caught only a few glimpses of snow still on the mountains along the way to Arthur’s Pass.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 17, 2015 at 2:34 PM

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