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Last Survivors of a Vanished Climate

Last Survivors of a Vanished Climate
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2002-07
Categories: Desert, Trees
Camera: Canon EOS 1vHS, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM, Fuji Provia 100
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 4 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-07-09 8:05
Viewed: 5257
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot of rare Red Cabbage Palms in 2002, in the Palm Valley section of Finke Gorge National Park. These palms are hangers on from a wetter climate and it is only because of a fortnunate 'accident' of local geography and geology that they survive here. There is a walk out of the gorge, at the top you can look down at the verdant oasis and then out onto the endless miles of sunbleached desert.

They get their name because the young plans have leaves the colour of burgundy.


Livistona mariae subsp. mariae is a tall fan palm to 20 m high. It is an unmistakable and spectacular palm of biogeographic significance.

Flowering: May, Sep.
Fruiting: Mar, May, Oct.


In a recent revision of Livistona species, Rodd (1998) recognised three subspecies of L. mariae. The subspecies rigida (formerly L. rigida) occurs in northern NT and in Queensland, and subspecies
occidentalis occurs in the central Kimberley region of WA and western NT. The subspecies mariae is endemic
to the MacDonnell Ranges bioregion, being restricted to a small portion of the Finke River and its tributaries. Most individuals are found in Finke Gorge
National Park, with an outlying population outside the National Park, at Running Waters (White et al. 2000).
The extent of occurrence is less than 60 km2 and the actual area occupied by the existing stands is less than 50 ha. The latitudinal range is 35 km and the
longitudinal range is 20 km.


This species grows predominantly on the floor of gorges fed by spring waters in Hermannsburg Sandstone. The hydrology of this system and its importance for refugial processes is described by Wischusen et al. (2004). It also occurs in the bed and banks of sandy drainage lines but rarely reaches maturity there, probably due to the occasional severe floods.
The springs are from aquifers (see end) if it were not for the aquifer, the palms would probably not exist.


The principal IUCN criteria for rating this species as Vulnerable (under criterion D2) is its acutely restricted range.

Threatening processes

The population at Running Waters is currently being degraded by a range of activities acting in concert, including stock and vehicle access to the wetter
area of the springs. This has greatly accelerated the extent of environmental weed invasion at the site and has promoted soil disturbance and

Potential threats to individual stands include wildfire, severe flooding and the possible failure of critical springs. In the longer term, the invasion of
environmental weeds such as Cynodon dactylon (couch grass) may inhibit the recruitment of seedlings and may
contribute to the build up of fuel loads in
and around palm stands increasing the risk of mortality in the event of fire.

This palm may also be affected by the development of walking tracks and tourist facilities and the associated potential for visitors to introduce soilborne pathogens to stands.

It is possible that this distinctive palm may also be detrimentally affected by increasing aridity associated with globalclimate change.


An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology. Related terms include: an aquitard, which is an impermeable layer along an aquifer, and an aquiclude (or aquifuge), which is a solid, impermeable area beneath an aquifer. The surface of saturated material in an aquifer is known as the water table.

Aquifers can occur at various depths.Those closer to the surface are not only more likely to be exploited for water supply and irrigation, but are also more likely to be topped up by the local rainfall. Many desert areas have limestone hills or mountains within them or close to them which can be exploited as groundwater resources. Parts of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges of Syria, Israel and Lebanon, the Jebel Akhdar (Oman) in Oman, parts of the Sierra Nevada and neighbouring ranges in the United State's South West, have shallow aquifers which are exploited for their water. Over exploitation can lead to the exceeding of the practical sustained yield, i.e. more water is taken out than can be replenished. Along the coastlines of certain countries, such as Libya and Israel, population growth has led to over-population which has caused the lowering of water table and the subsequent contamination of the groundwater with saltwater from the sea (saline intrusions).

This is a scanned slide.

lovenature, PaulH, eng55, Argus, zulfu, Dis. Ac., jaycee, gerbilratz, gracious, CeltickRanger, ramthakur, boreocypriensis, albert, goldyrs, eqshannon, vanderschelden has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Evelynn: Not MeJamesp 3 07-09 23:47
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi James
This palm has an interesting story. It great to see a survivor of time. Hopefully the Red Cabbage Palm will be around for a long time.

The love the shimmer of the sun on the tops of the palms. The dark background shows off the palms nicely. Great note!
TFS Janice

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-07-09 8:43]

Hi James,
reminds me of a story i heard recently about scientists finding 'prehistoric' trees still living out in remotest Australia. The light here is very nice on the Palm leaves and the sandstone canyon wall is a great backdrop. Interesting post, cheers!

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-07-09 8:53]

Hi James,
Beautiful landscape.I liked use of light a lot.Well seen and composed.
Thanks for posting.

TFS this amazing pic and exciting note! TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-07-09 10:17]

Hello James,
A fine scan from your archives!
An excellent capture of a group of Red Cabbage Palms growing in their special aquifer-fed micro climate. The dark gorge face BG makes them show up well in this against-the-light shot.
TFS this interesting contribution,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-07-09 11:09]

Hi Jame . At first you may just think a few tress but when you read your interesting notes i understand why you took this picture. I do like the wat the tress stand out from the darker BG. TFS.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-07-09 11:12]

Hello James, great shot of Red Cabbage Palms. TFS. Regards,

Hello James,

I cannot see this are a scanned slide.
Good of sharpness and beautiful composition.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-07-09 11:58]

Hi James,

Beautiful palm trees and a wonderful setting. I love the lighting on the trees especially against the dark background. Fascinating notes.


I think you may have posted an image of these palms before??? or someone did. I remember because they're story is unusual. It is a nice image with difficult mixed light. I find it is hard to take a bad photo with that lens...even though it is not stabilized. I suppose yours is a full frame camera. With the crop factor on my camera I seem to always want the lens to be a little bit wider. Sometimes I end up taking two side by side shots and merging them to get a wide enough angle.

Evelynn : )

Hi James, great backdrop to this, it makes these palms stand out so well, interesting plants, having their own mini ecosystem, that's niche survival !!!best regards h

Hello James,
Many thanks for sharing this rare Red Cabbage Palms that we do not see often!
good pov with beautiful lighting over it in good sharpness, colour and details
best regards

Wow, this picture has fantastic depth, James!
You have captured the play of light on different layers of subjects (trees and rocks)extremely effectively.
The Red Cabbage Palm trees are the centre of attention alright but I love those vertical red rocks too in clear view in the background and creating a wonderful contrast with the palms.
Super image from your collection of 2002 for which you deserve to be congratulated.

Hi James,
Perfectly composed landscape showing the palms as last survivors of this vanished climate. Great detailed shot with good notes my friend!


Hello James
Thanks for sharing this photo and excellent note with us
Best regards

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-07-10 4:29]

Hello James, Excellent landscape shot with superb focus. Sharp picture.Ganesh

hello James

excellent image of these Palm Trees with fine POV & DOF,
i love the vertical framing to show us the Rocks,
i love the contrast between the foregounds soft colour tones
and the bakcgrounds warm colours tones, TFS


A rare shot of an even rarer plant!Very well done,James!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-07-10 13:26]

Very nice photo, James!
Excellent composition and POV.
Sharp and crisp.
Really interesting notes too.

Well done,

I have seen this once before, perhaps and more than likely from you...It is the most unusual place..I did a net search last time one of this area was posted. it is quite famous in small circles..Well done James.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-07-13 22:02]

Hello James

An interesting juxtaposition.
Sometimes life is like that.
Very well seen with excellent detail and colours.
Nicely composed with sharp detail.
These pockets of microcosms are interesting.


Well done, James.
The interesting content of your photos changes every day as well as the location.. As always a very good note.

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