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Livistona australis is the southernmost native palm in Australia and the second most southerly in the world (after the New Zealand Rhopalostylis). It ranges along the east coast from near Townsville in Queensland to Orbost in far eastern Victoria. The northernmost and southernmost occurrences are disjunct, the more continuous range being from Noosa in subtropical Queensland to the Bega district in southeastern New South Wales. It is a large palm, reaching 20 m or more in height and 20-30 cm trunk diameter, with crown of glossy green leaves. Found in greatest abundance in swampy coastal lowlands where it sometimes forms almost pure stands. Early English explores in New South Wales called it "cabbage tree", a name rather indifferently bestowed on any tree with an edible terminal bud, and "cabbage-tree palm" is now the accepted name.


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