Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

COPERNICIA prunifera

Image of Copernicia prunifera

James H. Schutte

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

COPERNICIA prunifera

Plant Common Name

Brazilian Wax Palm, Carnuba Wax Palm

General Description

Valued as the source of carnauba wax, the bold, fan-shaped fronds of this medium-sized palm make a colorful splash in the tropical or subtropical garden. Wax palm is native to seasonally flooded savannas in northeastern Brazil.

About 30 large, blue-green fronds with waxy silver-gray undersides are borne atop the solitary trunk on long, upright or drooping stems ("petioles"), forming a spherical crown. The fronds are divided into numerous stiff blade-like segments that radiate like the spokes of an umbrella. The petioles are edged with hooked tooth-like spines. Plants are initially stemless, developing a trunk after a decade or more. The trunk bristles with the protruding, wedge-shaped petiole bases of fallen leaves, in the manner of a pineapple fruit. Mature trees lose their oldest "boots", revealing the gray, scar-ringed lower trunk. In spring or summer, branched inflorescences of small creamy flowers arch amid the leaves. 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.

This slow-growing palm does best in full sun and well-drained, humus-rich soil. It accepts drought, but grows most vigorously if watered occasionally in summer. It is intolerant of frost. Use this striking palm as an individual specimen, in formal groupings, or to line streets.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    30'-45' / 9.1m - 13.7m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Brazil

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)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray

  • 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

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No