Cocos palms: a threat to flying-foxes

Every year many flying-foxes are injured or killed by Cocos palms, an invasive weed. Cocos palm fruit can also attract unwanted flying-foxes to your garden or street.

About the Cocos palm

Cocos palm

Common name: Cocos palm

Scientific name: Syagrus romanzoffianum

Alternative names: Queen Palm, Arecastrum romanzoffianum, Cocos plumosa

Origin: Native of South America

Description: Cocos palms are a large single stemmed tree with an average height of 12 metres and leaves of up to five metres long. The fruits occur in large clusters and consist of a hard nut surrounded with a thin layer of fibrous flesh that is orange and sticky when ripe. Each fruit is up to 2.5 cm in diameter.

Cocos palms are popular street and garden trees because they are inexpensive and fast-growing.

Dispersal: Cocos palms produce large numbers of fruits that are readily dispersed by flying foxes, birds, possums, humans and gravity. The seeds germinate easily in land and wetlands next to rivers and streams (riparian areas) and dry eucalypt forests.