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COLPOTHRINAX wrightii

Image of Colpothrinax wrightii

Mark A. Miller

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

COLPOTHRINAX wrightii

Plant Common Name

Barrel Palm, Cuban Bottle Palm

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A tall specimen of a Cuban bottle palm has a trunk that resembles a snake that recently swallowed a plump rat. The "belly" is not fully at the trunk's bottom, but in a seemingly random middle area. This evergreen palm is native to the grasslands of western Cuba and the Isle of Youth. It is a single-trunked plant that looks like a sabal palm in leaf form and canopy.

When young, the Cuban bottle palm's trunk is covered in thatch fibers. Only with age does the thatch shed and a rather smooth trunk with more obvious belly form. Alternating seasons of hot and wet summers and cool, dry winters accentuates the belly formation. The round leaves are deeply segmented and are pendulous at their tips. A leaf is an emerald to deep blue-green, having a lighter gray-green underside. In summer's warmth, branched flower stalks (inflorescences) just out from the base of the canopy. The tiny orange-red flowers aren't showy by themselves, but collectively on an inflorescence they warrant attention. After insect pollination, small round fruits form, ripening to brown or near-black.

Grow Cuban bottle palm in a fertile, well-drained soil that's clay, loam or sand. Although somewhat drought tolerant, this palm excels when the soil is adequately moist from spring to fall. Keep the soil quite dry, however, across the winter. Plants that have consistent irrigation tend to develop less dramatic trunk bulging. Always site this palm in full sun exposures. Use it as a specimen in a lawn or mixed border, or in a small grove cluster with plants of varying heights.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Width

    6'-9' / 1.8m - 2.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Orange Red

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Chocolate

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Olive, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No