Coccothrinax barbadensis

Common name

silver palm, latanier, Lesser Antilles silver thatch palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect stems, to 15 m tall (usually shorter in cultivation), up to 18 cm in diameter, with faint rings from leaf scars. The upper reaches of older palm stems are covered with burlap-like woven fibers from old leaf bases, as are stems of young palms. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, with blade (about 1.5 m across) divided up to two-thirds its length by numerous, narrow segments that droop at the tips. Leaflets become narrower toward the tip, with an abrupt transition zone called the "shoulder." The upper leaf surface is bright green with a yellow halo surrounding the raised, triangular hastula; the undersurface, silver-gray; leaftips, bifid; transverse veinlets are obvious. The fibrous leaf sheath has two layers, and the unarmed petiole is not split at the base. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence is shorter than the leaves, to 1.5 m long, branched to two orders with up to 10 primary branches. The yellow flowers have both male and female parts. The fruits are spherical (6-12 mm in diameter) and purplish-black when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Erect fan palms found on limestone soils, coastal maritime forests or scrubby woodlands; 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 visible transverse veinlets.

May be confused with

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

Distribution

Native to Venezuela and Caribbean islands

Additional comments

Cultivated in Hawaii

Scientific name

Coccothrinax barbadensis (Lodd. ex Mart.) Becc.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Coccothrinax australis L.H.Bailey

Coccothrinax boxii L.H.Bailey

Coccothrinax discreta L.H.Bailey

Coccothrinax dussiana L.H.Bailey

Coccothrinax laxa (O.F.Cook) Becc.

Coccothrinax martinicaensis Becc.

Coccothrinax sabana L.H.Bailey

Copernicia barbadensis (Lodd. ex Mart.) H.Wendl.

Thrinax barbadensis Lodd. ex Mart.

Last Updated May 2014

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