Cerberiopsis candelabra Vieill. is a long-lived, monocarpic (= semelparous) and mass-flowering rain-forest tree, endemic to New Caledonia. Population size structures suggest establishment has been episodic, followed by a recruitment gap that might signal population decline. Here, we use age structures based on tree rings to better assess population dynamics and persistence, and investigate influences of tree size, age and growth rate on flowering. Age structures of populations surveyed in 2007–2008 were unimodal, with establishment over c. 15–81 y, followed by a recruitment gap of c. 23–79 y. Seedling mortality was generally high. High densities of flowering trees or large-scale exogenous disturbances may be necessary for in-situ regeneration. There was no evidence of a simple flowering threshold: flowering in 2017 occurred across a wide range of tree size, age and growth rate. Instead, evidence suggested that size and age at flowering may vary among plants depending on their growth trajectory. Environmental triggers of flowering were not identified by dating tree establishment, but the last three mass-flowering events occurred in years of tropical cyclones. Regeneration and persistence might be facilitated if large-scale disturbances trigger flowering, improving reproductive efficiency by synchronising flowering and linking reproduction with environmental conditions that enhance seedling recruitment.