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Aquatic Palms 1/6

Nypa fruticans is a mangrove palm, a common sight on the banks of rivers and estuaries in SE Asia and N. Australia (http://www.plantapalm.com/vpe/photos/Species/nypa_fruticans.htm). It has a horizontal trunk that grows in the soft mud, branches, and sends up crowns of leaves, the base of which is frequently submerged. Cultivation of the palm away from the tropical estuarine habitat has presented a lot of difficulties. It seems that the rise and fall of the tide is beneficial to the germination process. In any case the palm is too large for any aquarium although it makes a nice pond plant in the tropics. There are a number of other large palms that grow on the banks of rivers. Leopoldinia major (http://www.i-a-s.de/IAS/botanik/e53/palmen.htm) and L. pulchra (http://www.palms.org/principes/1995/pb9507.JPG) are palms that grow along the black water rivers in the Amazon region. Their bases are frequently submerged by seasonally rising water and in many pictures are depicted as tall  trunks rising from the water, with young leaves at the base just emerging from the surface. Also a little too large for the home aquarist. There are however a number of smaller palms that grow along streams and rivers that might interest us. They are known as rheophytes. 

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