Thrinax excelsa

Common name

broad thatch, Jamaican thatch palm


Stems: Solitary, erect gray to brown stems, to 11 m tall, up to 20 cm in diameter, with faint, incomplete rings from leaf scars. Stems of younger individuals are covered with matted fibers from old leaf bases, as are the upper reaches of older palms. Older palms also have an expanded root boss at the base of the stem. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, unarmed, forming a dense canopy; each with a circular blade 1.5-2 m across, divided at least half its length by numerous, lanceolate segments with drooping tips and having a petiole as long as or longer than the blade. The upper leaf surface is deep, glossy green; the undersurface, gray and waxy; midrib and marginal ribs, prominent. The fibrous leaf sheath is split at the base. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence is longer than the leaves, emerging through split leaf bases, arching and branched to two orders. The spicy-fragrant pinkish purple flowers have both male and female parts. The fruits are small (8-11 mm in diameter), spherical and white when ripe; pedicel more than 1 mm long.

Diagnostic features

Solitary, upright palm with a dense canopy of palmate leaves, waxy gray on the underside; leaf sheaths that split at the base; and small, white fruit.

May be confused with

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


Native to Jamaica

Additional comments

This palm is a striking ornamental with large leaves and fragrant flowers.

Scientific name

Thrinax excelsa Lodd. ex Grisb.




Thrinax rex Britton & Harris

Last Updated May 2014