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COPERNICIA ekmanii

Image of Copernicia ekmanii

James Burghardt

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

COPERNICIA ekmanii

Plant Common Name

Ekman's Palm

General Description

Bearing bold, colorful, fan-shaped fronds atop a solitary trunk, this small, slow-growing palm makes a great subject for tropical and subtropical gardens. It is a rare endemic of the north coast of Haiti.

Thirty to forty large, blue-green fronds with waxy silver-gray undersides are borne atop the slender trunk on long, erect or slanting stems ("petioles"), forming a domed crown. The fronds are divided into numerous stiff blade-like segments that radiate like the spokes of an umbrella. The petioles and leaflets are edged with hooked tooth-like spines. A picturesque "skirt" of drooping dead leaves fringes the base of the crown. Plants are initially stemless, developing a trunk after a decade or more. Trunks of young plants bristle with the protruding, wedge-shaped petiole bases of fallen leaves, in the manner of a pineapple fruit. The petiole bases eventually drop to reveal the trunk, which is gray and faintly ringed with petiole scars. In spring or summer, older specimens bear dense clusters of small creamy flowers that arch beyond the leaves in branching inflorescences. The flowers are perfect, containing both mail and female parts. Small spherical fruits follow the flowers, ripening black in late summer or fall. Birds and bats eat the fruits.

Grow this palm in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. It tolerates drought, salt, and a touch of frost. It grows most vigorously if watered occasionally in summer. Use this striking palm as an individual specimen, in formal groupings, or in large containers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 12

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    10'-30' / 3.0m - 9.1m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Caribbean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Brown, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No