Roystonea borinquena

Common name

Puerto Rican royal palm


Stems: Solitary, erect, grayish brown, to 20 m tall and 25-35 cm in diameter, swollen at the base and toward the middle. Leaf scars are regular and closely spaced, but not raised or prominent from a distance. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, to 3 m long, with numerous glossy leaflets in several planes (plumose). The crown shaft is bright, glossy green, slightly swollen at the base, and up to 2 m long. Lower leaves droop downward. Leaflets have acute, bifid tips and scales along the prominent midrib's undersurface. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescence to 1-1.5 m long, densely branched to three orders, with crowded separate staminate and pistillate flowers. Male flowers are yellowish to cream colored with purple anthers; female flowers are whitish. Ovoid or nearly spherical, 1-1.5 cm long fruits change from green to yellow-brown to brownish purple when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Majestic, upright, pinnate palm with grayish brown or rusty brown, swollen stem; glossy green leaflets with prominent secondary ribs on either side of the midrib. Male flowers with purple anthers and creamy yellow petals.

May be confused with

Other Roystonea species, see those descriptions for diagnostic features.


Native to the Caribbean region

Additional comments

Commonly seen in Hispaniola and sometimes planted as a street tree lining grand boulevards

Scientific name

Roystonea borinquena O.F.Cook




Oreodoxa boriquena (O.F. Cook) Reasoner ex L.H. Bailey

Roystonea hispaniolana L.H. Bailey

Roystonea peregrina L.H. Bailey

Last Updated May 2014