The Nikau Palm (Phopalostylis sapida) is the world's southernmost palm species. Found as far south as Banks Peninsula in the South Island, the Nikau is common in the Marlborough Sounds.
Nikaus can grow up to around 26m tall, and have long leaves measuring between 3-5m long. Fruits take about a year to mature, and are eaten by the native wood pigeon (keruru). Germination of seeds occurs readily, however many years pass before a trunk is formed.
Habitat is within temperate rainforest. Nikaus depend on forest cover and an ample supply of water. This explains their marked absense in dry eastern Marlborough.
Maori found various uses for nikau including use as a food and as a source of fibrous material for crafts.