Coccothrinax argentata

Common name

silver palm, Florida silver palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect stems, to 10 m tall (usually shorter in cultivation), up to 20 cm in diameter, with faint rings from leaf scars. Stems of younger individuals are covered with matted fibers from old leaf bases, as are the upper reaches of older palms. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, with blade (about 1 m across) divided more than three-fourths its length by numerous, narrow segments that droop at the tips and flex from side to side. The upper leaf surface is bright green; the undersurface, silvery; leaftips, bifid; transverse veinlets are not obvious. The fibrous leaf sheath has two layers, and the unarmed petiole is not split at the base. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence is short compared with leaves, to 60 cm long, branched to two orders with up to 9 primary branches. The white flowers have both male and female parts. The fruits are spherical (5-13 mm in diameter) and purplish-black when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Erect fan palms found on limestone soils, including pine rocklands and sandy dunes; leaf sheath with finely woven fibers; unarmed margins on petiole that does not split at the base.

Lab: Silvery scales on the underside of the leaf blade and no visible transverse veinlets.

May be confused with

Thrinax species, but the petioles of Thrinax split at the base while those of Coccothrinax do not.

Distribution

Native to Mexico, the Caribbean islands and Florida

Scientific name

Coccothrinax argentata (Jacq.) Bailey

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Palma argentata Jacq.

Thrinax garberi Chapm.

Coccothrinax garberi (Chapm.) Sarg.

Coccothrinax jucunda Sarg.

Thrinax altissima N.Taylor

Last Updated May 2014

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