Alexandra palm, Archontophoenix alexandrae, is a stately and graceful palm with a slender, grey trunk, and large, feather-like leaves, which lends a tropical look to the landscape. It has a large human-sustained population, but not a self-sustained one in Xishuangbanna.
As seed production and germination is the sole mode for Alexandra palm to propagate, knowledge of its seed biology would be very useful for assessing its potential invasiveness.
Dr. WEN Bin of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) conducted both lab and field experiments to investigate the survival and germination of Alexandra palm seeds under diverse conditions. He emphasized the importance of seed sensitivity to desiccation and high temperature.
Lab experiments were designed to investigate its germination requirements and seed tolerance to stresses, meanwhile field experiments carried out to test its fitness to local habitats.
He found that Alexandra palm seeds have abundant predators which can be potential dispersers, and these seeds can germinate in shaded habitats which are susceptible to invasion.
The results showed that there is an abundance of habitats suitable for its growth in Xishuangbanna, which clarified its possibility as an invader and the barrier at present. This is vital information that can be utilised for management and control of this species.
The study suggested that Alexandra palm is a potential invader in Xishuangbanna and that if seeds are dispersed to shaded habitats the invasion process of this palm may progress.