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AIPHANES minima

Image of Aiphanes minima

James Burghardt

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

AIPHANES minima

Plant Common Name

Coyore, Macaw Palm

General Description

This small, graceful, but heavily armed palm tree is found in rain forests and seasonally dry woodlands of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and the Lesser Antilles.

Borne atop a single, slender, gray to tan trunk that brandishes numerous long black spines, the enormous, arching, ferny leaves have numerous narrowly lance-shaped leaflets. The leaflets arise from a long central axis known as a rachis. The rachis and the undersides of the leaves are also heavily armed, as is the long leaf stem ("petiole"). The leaflets have ragged, tattered tips, and are narrower and less ruffled than those of the closely related Aiphanes aculeata (also called macaw palm). In spring or summer rounded, branching clusters of fragrant light yellow flowers nod from the leaf crown. Plants bear both male and female flowers. Female flowers give rise to red fruits with edible orange flesh.

Grow macaw palm in full to partial sun, keeping in mind that seedlings must have shade. Grow it in moist, humus-rich, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. It tolerates only light drought at best. Use it singly or in small groups so its elegant foliage and bristling trunk can be properly admired. Spininess tends to decrease as plants age, and often varies markedly among individuals. This palm does well indoors with sufficient light, humidity, and ventilation.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    20'-45' / 6.1m - 13.7m

  • Width

    6'-18' / 1.8m - 5.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes