Roystonea oleracea

Common name

Caribbean royal palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect, grayish white, to 40 m tall and 45-65 cm in diameter, tapering, not swollen 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 two planes (not plumose as are the other Roystonea species). The crown shaft is bright, glossy green, slightly swollen at the base, and up to 2 m long. Lower leaves held roughly horizontally, not drooping. Leaflets have acute tips and scales along the prominent midrib's undersurface. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescence to 1.5 m long, densely branched to three orders, with separate, white staminate and pistilate flowers. Ovoid, 1.3-1.7 cm long fruits are purple black when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Majestic, upright, pinnate palm with whitish, swollen stem; leaflets with prominent secondary ribs on either side of the midrib. Lower leaves more or less horizontally, not drooping.

May be confused with

Other Roystonea species, see those descriptions for diagnostic features

Distribution

Native to the Caribbean region

Scientific name

Roystonea oleracea (Jacq.) O.F.Cook

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Areca oleracea Jacq.

Euterpe caribaea Spreng

Oreodoxa oleracea (Jacq.) Mart.

Last Updated May 2014

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