Phoenix canariensis

Common name

Canary Island date palm, palmera canaria, pineapple palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, massive, erect to 20 m tall and 1 m in diameter, bulging with above ground roots at the base and sometimes bulging at the top of the stem with old leaf bases and fibers; ring scars are prominent, raised, and undulating or diamond- or canoe-shaped. Leaves: Pinnate, induplicate, to 7 m long, with a stiffly arching, twisted rachis which ends in a single leaflet; many narrow, dull green leaflets, arranged in several planes, but with only a slight difference among the angles of insertion; the lowermost leaflets (along the short petiole) are modified into sharp, thin spines; and no crown shaft is formed from leaf sheaths. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences are orange-colored, to 1-2 m long, and branched to one order. Staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on different plants and are yellow in color. Fruits are up to 2.5-4 cm long, ovoid and scarlet to orange-red when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Solitary, massive palm, erect to 20 m tall and 1 m in diameter, bulging with above ground roots at the base and sometimes bulging at the top of the stem with old leaf bases and fibers; ring scars are prominent, raised, and undulating or diamond- or canoe-shaped. Pinnate, induplicate leaves with spines formed from basal leaflets. Leaflets inserted in several planes, but with small differences in the angle.

May be confused with

Other Phoenix species, but the stem and leaflet arrangement are distinctive.

Distribution

Native to the Canary Islands

Additional comments

Because Phoenix species can hybridize easily and produce fertile crosses, determining the species within this genus might not be possible.

Scientific name

Phoenix canariensis Hort. ex Chabaud

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Phoenix macrocarpa Hort. ex Sauvag.

Last Updated May 2014

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