The Lipstick Palm on our Front Yard


Please don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with the makeup tool women use to seduce men into their nets—lipsticks.  The real name of the Lipstick Palm is Cyrtostachys Renda (Lakka).  It is also known as the Red Sealing Wax Palm. The name of Lipstick Palm is due to its rich red color.

Its scientific name is derived from the Greek “Kyrtos” meaning “curved” and “stachys” meaning “ear of grain” to describe the curved inflorescence.  The Red Sealing Wax Palm is native to Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Borneo and the island of Sumatra),  Australia and the East Indies.  Many say—me included—that  this palm is among the most beautiful in the world.

The main attraction is the deep red leaf sheaths of this clustering palm.  Mature wood is a typical gray color.  The name Red Sealing Wax Palm comes from Chinese sealing wax which is a very similar red color.

Medium sized, slow-growing and slender palm to 30 feet in its native range, often only to 10-15 feet elsewhere. Its best known feature is its brightly red colored trunk and fronds, making it instantly recognizable from other palms.

Twenty-nine years ago, Feliciano (our all time gardener), planted a “palma roja” in our front yard.  After all these years it has only grown to approximately 10 feet.  My wife and I think this palm is the crown jewel of all our plants.

Yesterday I took several photographs of our palm tree to share with you today.  This is how the Lipstick Palm looked yesterday about 4:00 p.m.  (-5 GMT).  Here we go.

The youngster was obtained from the mother palm and planted by my wife when it was very small.  Its gradually growing.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)
The youngster was obtained from the mother palm and planted by my wife when it was very small. It's gradually growing. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
View of the upper section of the palm sprout showing its beautiful red trunk.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)
View of the upper section of the palm sprout showing its beautiful red trunk and fronds. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This is the mother palm planted by Feliciano 29 years ago.  It is approximately 15 feet high.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)
This is the mother palm planted by Feliciano 29 years ago. It's approximately 10 feet tall. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
An artistic version (Fresco) of the previous photograph.  Im getting naughty with image editing.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)
An artistic version (Fresco) of the previous photograph. I'm getting naughty with image editing. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This is Feliciano planted the palm for us almost three decades ago.  We thank him for that.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R./Michael Moore)
This is Feliciano who planted the palm for us almost three decades ago. We are most grateful to him for that. (Credit: Omar Upegui R./Michael Moore)

One of the many benefits in living in Panama, is that you can grow all kinds of exotic plants in your back or front yard.  We don’t have to worry about bad weather bothering our babies.  Good Day.

8 thoughts on “The Lipstick Palm on our Front Yard”

  1. Hi Michael:

    Nice to hear from you again. I have a good mentor for those pranks. 🙂

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article/pictures. There are more in the pipeline. Stay tuned.

    Hope everything is going well on you neck of the woods.

    Regards,

    Omar.-

  2. Hello Omar,

    Last week, a friend of mine invited me to remove a baby Lipstick palm with plenty of roots (rhizomes) from his mother plant. Not knowing how to grow and care for this red beauty baby I went to the Internet and found your blog that fascinated me. I spent the next few hours reading and reading your blog until my eyes gave up.
    You are “one of the kind”, the kind this world is too short of.
    After reading your blog last night, I went to visit Ancon Hill today. I should have done it 6 years ago!
    Could you please ask your wife to let me know the secret of “how to grow from rhizome a baby Lipstick Palm”? So far I planted him in a large container with medium soil (roots buried just below the surface, keep the soil moist on my balcony full of light but away from full sun)
    .
    Briefly who I am:
    I am a retired airline pilot and I live in Panama City since November 2005, born and spent my whole life in tropical countries (Africa, Asia, Middle East, South America and Caribbean Islands), from deep jungles to Sahara deserts where I enjoyed fauna and flora, people and their languages to better understand their cultures. “Bush pilot” explorer for geology and mapping, I later joined, as an airline pilot, a major European Airline with base in the Caribbean, I had think of my old age retirement.
    Like you I was fond of photography and movies (super 8) of people’s culture, flora and fauna. Sad to say, in 1977 thieves stole all my movies with camera and equipments including my precious few hours of a jaguar family in Suriname.
    Panama is all alike my birth country was and I feel at home again after 40 years, I wish to be again in my twenties when I could do the utmost
    .
    Kindly yours,

    Didier

    PS: I am not an English speaker, please pardon my English!

    1. Hello Didier:

      Thank you so much for your comment regarding my blog. I asked my wife about the palm tree and she answered that the lipstick palm tree was planted by our gardener. He has taken care of it for approximately thirty years, as much time as we have live in our current home. If you live in Panama City, I suggest you visit Tigre Verde in Calle 50 and ask them how to take care of your palm tree. They are experts on tropical plants.

      I always wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid, but my father did not allowed it. He said it was too dangerous. Therefore I was ushered into numbers and became an accountant, auditor and comptroller all my life before retiring. Every time I see a plane in the sky, I remember my dream which never happened.

      Good Luck,

      Omar.-

  3. Hello Omar,
    I am a Panamanian now living in Trinidad, west Indies. A couple years ago while visiting my family in Panama I saw the lipstick palm for the very first time and love it. I have tried to get a plant of the lipstick palm to purchase here in Trinidad and can’t find it…Can you please advise me where I may find it ? or
    can it be shipped to me? Any information given will be greatly appreciated, I would love to have it in my yard.

    Thank you,

    Norma

    1. Hello Norma:

      We got this palm tree from our gardener 35 years ago. They are very popular in this part of the world—Panama. Shipping plants from Panama to Trinidad is not an easy task. I suggest you look for supplier on the Web through Google. I’m sure you will find growers who could export the plant to Trinidad.

      Regards,

      Omar.-

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