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THRINAX radiata

Image of Thrinax radiata

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

THRINAX radiata

Plant Common Name

Caribbean Thatch Palm, Florida Thatch Palm

General Description

The tough, relatively fast-growing Florida thatch palm has a slender trunk topped with a mophead cluster of deep green, fan-shaped fronds. It also boasts attractive ivory flower clusters and white, berry-like fruits. This typically solitary palm is native to southern Florida, the Caribbean islands and the coastal areas of Belize and the Mexican Yucatan where it is found in coastal forests.

The fronds are supported by slender petioles (stems) and collectively can form a dense, rounded canopy. The petiole base is forked, like an upside-down V, and persists on the trunk. Each frond is rounded and its segmented leaflets are medium to dark green above with silvery gray undersides. In warm months, branched flower stalks appear among the leaves. The inconspicuous flowers along the stem are bisexual and wind-pollinated. The fruits that follow are white, round and eaten by songbirds.

Grow Florida thatch palm in full sun to partial shade and sandy, very well-drained soil that is relatively moist in the growing season and drier in winter. Palms grown in more shade are slower growing and have rangier habits. Once established, this palm exhibits decent cold tolerance and is quite resilient to tropical storm winds. It is very salt and drought tolerant, making it ideal for Oceanside gardens, xeric landscapes and dry foundation plantings. It is also perfect for any tropical garden where bold, beautiful vertical elements are needed.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    25'-40' / 7.6m - 12.2m

  • Width

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green, Silver

  • Bark Color

    Tan

  • 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

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes