Description from Flora of China
Latania chinensis Jacquin, Fragm. Bot. 1: 16. 1800; Chamaerops biroo Siebold; Livistona boninensis (Beccari) Nakai; L. chinensis var. boninensis Beccari; L. chinensis var. subglobosa (Hasskarl) Beccari; L. japonica Nakai; L. oliviformis (Hasskarl) Martius; L. sinensis Griffith; L. subglobosa (Hasskarl) Martius; Saribus chinensis (Jacquin) Blume; S. oliviformis Hasskarl; S. subglobosus Hasskarl.
Stems to 15 m tall, 20-30 cm in diam., rough with leaf scars. Leaves palmate; petioles to 1.8 m, with green or black, recurved spines along margins, spines denser proximally, fewer distally on petioles; hastula to 3 cm; blades almost circular in outline, 1.2-1.8 m wide, green on both surfaces, regularly divided to ca. 1/2 their length into 50-90 segments, these split and pendulous at apices. Inflorescences 1-1.2 m, branched to 3 orders, with 6 or 7 partial inflorescences; rachillae 10-18 cm; flowers hermaphroditic, borne in clusters of 4-7, white or yellow, 2-2.5 mm. Fruits green or blue-green, globose to ellipsoid or pear-shaped, 1.5-2.6 × 0.9-1.8 cm.
This species is widely planted as an ornamental throughout tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
The leaves are used for making hats, fans, brooms, and raincoats in Guangdong.
Coastal forests, often on sandy soils. Guangdong, Hainan, Taiwan [S Japan].