Thrinax radiata

Common name

Florida thatch palm, silk-top thatch palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect gray to brown stems, to 12 m tall and 13 cm in diameter, with obscure, incomplete leaf scars; the upper reaches covered with matted fibers and split leaf bases, and the base bulging with a mass of roots. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, unarmed, with a circular blade 1-1.5 m across, divided at least half its length by numerous, lanceolate segments with drooping tips; with a petiole as nearly as long as the blade; the leaf sheath with fibrous margins. The upper leaf surface is dull green; the undersurface, lighter, yellowish green. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence 1-1.2 m, emerging through split leaf bases, arching and branched to two orders. The white flowers have both male and female parts. The fruits are small (7-8 mm in diameter), spherical and white when ripe; pedicel conspicuous, usually more than 1 mm long.

Diagnostic features

Solitary, upright palm with palmate leaves that have leaf blade colored yellow green on the underside, drooping leaf tips, leaf sheaths that split at the base, and small, white fruit on stalks over 1 mm long.

May be confused with

Coccothrinax species, but they have chocolate brown to purple black fruit and leaf bases that do not split.

Distribution

Native to Florida and the Caribbean

Additional comments

This species is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.

Scientific name

Thrinax radiata Lodd. ex Schult. & Schult.f.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Coccothrinax martii Griseb. & H. Wendl. ex Griseb.

Coccothrinax radiata (Loddiges ex Schultes & Schultes f.) Sargent ex K. Schumann

Porothrinax pumilio Griseb.& H. Wendl.

Thrinax elegans Hort. ex Schult.f.

Thrinax floridana Sarg.

Thrinax martii Griseb.& H. Wendl.

Thrinax wendlandiana Becc.

Last Updated May 2014

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