Rhapis excelsa is a multi-stemmed dioecious (Ed: or hermaphroditic depending on seed grown variety) palm that grows to a maximum height of between 3 and 4 metres, each stem or cane is slender ranging from 10-30mm in diameter, depending on growing conditions and variety. The canes are usually covered by a coarse matted fibrous material which is actually the outer base of each leaf sheath. In Rhapis excelsa this leaf sheath fibre tends to be loose and rather ragged looking. The leaf sheaths are fairly persistent but when they do fall a dark green conspicuously ringed stem of leaf base scars is exposed: very similar in appearance to bamboo canes, hence the other common name bamboo palm. Individual canes can be closely ringed. or rings may be moderately spaced, depending on growing conditions.

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