kentia palm industry


The Kentia Seed Industry

For more than fifty years Kentia Palm seeds and seedlings have been important agricultural exports for Norfolk Island.  Kentia palms are endemic to Lord Howe Island and were first brought to Norfolk Island in 1878.   They have been a very popular indoor plant for over 130 years.  Before Queen Victoria died, she left instructions that Kentia palms were to be placed around her casket before the public were allowed in to file past to pay their respects.  Today they are the most common palm used in public buildings around the world.


The palm seed industry on Norfolk Island resulted from Ivens “Pullis” Nobbs’ vision after seeing Kentias on display in Egypt during WWII.  Back on Norfolk Island, he cleared his property and mass planted with the palms which then took approximately 15 years to mature.  Pullis did not live to see the full potential of his vision but upon seeing the success of the sale of his seed he encouraged others to plant palms, many other land owners also mass planted with the palms with the industry being developed by the Evans and Chapman families amongst others. ‘Pullis Valley’ is still the largest Kentia plantation on Norfolk Island.


Kentia seeds from Norfolk Island are shipped all over the world however buyers are mostly from Europe and North America. The trees here are grown ‘plantation style’ allowing cultivation and care that offers a greater chance of producing higher yielding and quality seed.  Currently at least 60% of the world market for Kentia seeds is supplied by Norfolk Island which has a reputation of providing top quality seeds.


Aa Kenchiya (Kentia) Siid Indastri

F’ mor den fefti  yias em Kenchiya Paam siid en’ siidlen bin es important aegrikaltrl eksport f’ Norf’k Ailen.  Dem Kenchiya paam es endemik t’ Lord Hau Ailen en fas bring et t’ Norf’k iin 1878.  Dem es veri pohpyula indor plaant f’ oeva wan handed en therti yias.  Bifor Kwiin Wiktoriya died, shi liiw instrakshans dhat dem pat em Kenchiya paam  raun aa kaasket for d’ pablik es alaud f’ fail paas en pieh dems respeks.  Desdieh dem es moes kohman paam en salan yuus’ patet iin orl em pablik bildens orl or d’ werl.


Aa paam siid indastri orn Norf’k Ailen s’ kam’baut fram Ivens “Pulis” Nohbs’ vishan aafta siien dem Kenchiyas orn displieh iin Iijip duuren WWII.  Baek orn Norf’k Ailen, hi kleya his prohpati en plant plenti paam en dem tek mus feftiin yias f’ kam’enithing.  ‘Pulis’ naewa si d’ ful potenshl o’ his vishan bat wen hi sii wathing s’ kam o’ selen his siid hi tala salan f’ plant’ paam, en plenti tedha salan plant plenti paam en  aa indastri s’ develap et tuu bai dem Ewens en Chaepman faemlis amang adhas.  ‘Pulis Waeli’ es stil d’ biges Kenchiya plaentieshan orn Norf’k Ailen.


Em Kenchiya siid fram Norf’k Ailen ship et orl or d’ werl bat mus orl em baiyas es fram Yuurap en North Merika.    Em trii uya s’ groewet plaentieshan stail’  soe el kaltavietet en keya faret en daa miin gwena gata baeta  chaens o’ prodyuusen plenti siid en’ baeta siid.  Desdieh mus orn 60% o d’ werl maaket f’ kenchiyas kam fram Norf’k Ailen en es kos gata gud repyutieshan f’ provaiden tohp kwohleti siid.


The Kentia palm industry is a very important part of Norfolk Island’s revenue base.  Pullis Valley Kentias is the largest single kentia palm plantation on Norfolk Island.  Our seed is propagated in Australia and the majority of the seedlings or sprouts are sold in Europe.

It takes approximately 6 – 8 months for the seeds to germinate, 15 – 20 years before the trees are in full production and they will continue to produce seed for over 200 years.  Picking commences in March/April each year when the seed is ripe.

The Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) is endemic to Lord Howe Island.  It is the world’s largest selling indoor palm and is particularly valued for its slow growth rate; its ability to tolerate low light and low moisture levels, as well as its air purification properties.  This makes it a very good and cost effective and easy to maintain indoor plant.

Pullis Valley Kentias was the brainchild of Ivens ‘Pullis’ Nobbs who is recognized as one of the pioneers of the industry here on the Island.  He was instrumental in encouraging other Islanders to also plant palms and expand the industry further.

Ivens had seen the indoor palms during overseas service during the Second World War and when he returned to Norfolk he traveled to Lord Howe swapping Norfolk Pine seed for Kentia Palm seed.  Many years of hard physical work ensued before his vision began to take shape.

The Kentia palm is a gracious, deep green glossy leafed plant which can be found in many of the finest homes, office blocks and leading hotels around the world.


   Picking the seed for export                Bagged seed ready for treatment and airfreight

Did you know …

The Kentia was a favourite of Queen Victoria.  When she died she left instructions for the palms to be placed at each corner of her coffin when she lay in state, hence it also became known as the Sentry Palm.