Trunk to 5 m or more tall, 10 cm wide, grey. Young leaves emerging red. Leaves 8-10 in the crown, 2-3 m long, strongly arching, dark green. Leaflets narrow, well spaced, and each with thickened marginal nerves. Flowers pink to cream. Fruit to 4.5 cm long, red.
Occurs naturally on ultrabasic soils. An elegant small palm becoming more widely planted, with interesting foliage and colourful new leaves. Very slow growing. Needs shade when young and grows well in warm temperate regions.
C. lepidota H.E. Moore, from acid soils in New Caledonia, is more difficult to grow. It has stiffer leaves, narrower leaflets and smaller fruit than C. macrocarpa.
Source: (2005). Arecaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.