Origins and background

 

 

The Howea Palm (Howea forsteriana) is native to the virgin Lord Howe Island, which was discovered by British naval explorers in 1788. A few years later, Australian botanists discovered and described the Howea Palm and other native plants. Lord Howe Island was initially used mostly by whalers for provisioning. They used the palm’s leaves as a roofing material and called the plant a ‘thatch palm’.
howea-palm-Herkomst-achtergrond
Loss of income from whaling due to increasing use of petroleum led to a search for new sources of income, and that triggered efforts to earn money by selling palm plants and their seeds. The “Kentia” palm, as the plant was then known in commercial circles, was first sold in 1870. In the following years the Howea Palm became a very popular houseplant because of its long life and low care needs. Thanks to its excellent tolerance of shade and dappled shade, the Howea Palm is nowadays the most popular large green plant in the consumer and business markets.

 

Lord Howe Island has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, partly on account of its extraordinary plants, one of which is the Howea Palm. The seeds of this palm still come from this island. They are germinated and grown into adult plants under traditional, environmentally-friendly conditions in the Netherlands. Did you know that it takes no less than four years for a seed to grow into a large plant?