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ACOELORRHAPHE wrightii

Image of Acoelorrhaphe wrightii

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

ACOELORRHAPHE wrightii

Plant Common Name

Everglades Palm, Paurotis Palm

General Description

The paurotis palm is a terrific multi-trunked, clump-forming palm crowned with large, fan-like fronds. It is native to the western Caribbean Basin, from the Bahamas westward to the Yucatan of Mexico and Costa Rica. Native populations also exist in the southernmost tip of Florida, hence its other common name, Everglades palm. This sun-loving palm can withstand moist soils, some drought and moderate salt spray, so it is also quite resilient.

Each rich green frond is like a wide fan comprising many long, sharp-tipped leaflets. The leaves tend to be lighter gray-green on the underside and are held by long leaf stems, or petioles, which are armed with many sharp, hooked teeth. As the leaves die, the petiole bases persist along the lengthening, fiber-coated trunks. During extended periods of rain and warmth, mature specimens will produce small creamy-yellow flowers in long clusters that arch above the leaf crown. The insect-pollinated flowers are followed by small, round fruits that turn from orange to black.

Paurotis palm does best in full sun and well-drained, moderately moist, slightly acid to neutral pH soil. It will tolerate considerable shade and soggy or drier soil, but will wane if planted in sandy oceanside conditions. Highly alkaline soils will also result in nutritional deficiencies and a scrawny habit. Its leaves and stems survive several degrees of freezing, but if killed to the ground will rejuvenate from the base. Prune out the dead fronds to keep it looking most lush, but be sure to use heavy gloves when doing so.

Use it as a foundation planting to soften building corners. It will also add tropical beauty to watersides.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 14

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    15'-30' / 4.6m - 9.1m

  • Width

    10'-25' / 3.0m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought, Salt, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Orange, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes