Pseudophoenix sargentii

Common name

buccaneer palm, Sargent's cherry palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect to 8 m tall and 30 cm in diameter, bulging slightly at variable points; young stems are gray-green, turning gray with age; ring scars are prominent, raised, and brown. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, with a twisting rachis, to 3 m long, with linear, blue-green leaflets irregularly arranged in groups of three to five, at divergent angles, held in a more or less plumose, V-shape. The somewhat open, short, stout crown shaft is formed from waxy, gray-green or blue-green leaf sheaths. The leaflets have brown scales below, acute tips and obvious secondary veins. There are no spines. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences maybe erect or arching, to 1 m long, and branched to five orders. Bisexual flowers are produced at the base of the inflorescence, with staminate flowers toward the tips; both are yellow in color. Fruits are 1-2 cm, spherical to ovoid or three-lobed, and scarlet red when ripe, with remnant sepals at the base.

Diagnostic features

Field: Solitary, erect stems, bulging slightly at variable points; pinnate, reduplicate leaves with a twisting rachis, to 3 m long, and linear, blue-green, plumose leaflets irregularly arranged in groups of three to five, inserted at divergent angles; and a somewhat open, short, stout waxy, gray-green crown shaft.

May be confused with

Roystonea regia, but Pseudophoenix is smaller overall, has a more open, gray-green crown shaft, and fruit with remnant sepals at the base.

Distribution

Native to Florida, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean islands

Additional comments

This strikingly beautiful palm is sometimes cultivated in seaside landscapes, but it is very slow-growing.

Scientific name

Pseudophoenix sargentii Sarg.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Chamaephoenix sargentii (H. Wendland ex Sargent) Curtiss

Sargentia aricocca H. Wendland & Drude ex Salomon

Cyclospathe northropii O. F. Cook

Last Updated May 2014

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