Natural Habitat: Widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia; including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and areas of the Philippines, as well as others countries. They grow in swampy rainforest, clearings, and savannas.
Description: The saribus is a large solitary fan palm that can reach 90 feet tall in habitat, but usually stays much shorter in cultivation reaching 40-50 foot tall.
This palm has two distinctive appearances as it ages. The juvenile stage, usually described as having less than 6 foot of trunk, has a distinctly different leaves then the adult stage. The juvenile leaves are larger with less wider segments which usually keeps a flat appearance. The young leaves are somewhat similar in appearance to Licuala ramsyii.
Once they grow out of the juvenile stage, the adult palms pick up speed and begin to grow rather fast. The adult palms have a smooth tan or light gray ringed trunk. When the tree is shorter, usually under 15 feet, the palm holds its leaf bases and crown fiber. Over time the leaf bases will fall off, as the palm grows upwards. The large 4-5 foot wide fan shaped leaf are deeply segmented and have drooping ends , held on 5-6 foot green or black petioles. The petioles are heavily armed with large black curved spines that look dangerous. There is a form of this palm that had red or orange petioles Known as the “Red Form”
Environment: The saribus enjoys a shady moist area when younger, usually under 10 feet of total height. As it grows taller and matures, it will require more sun and eventually need full sun. It is cold hardy to the low 30’s and can handle mild frost and freezes with little to no damage. We have seen large juvenile specimen living here in Orlando. Zones marginal 8b-9-11