Zombia antillarum

Common name

zombie palm


Stems: Clustering, upright stems to 3 m tall and 5 cm in diameter, covered with stout, burlap-like leaf bases ringed with downturned, spiny, reticulate fibers. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, to 90 cm wide, with blade divided more than half its length by numerous, lanceolate segments. Upper leaf surface, bright green; undersurface, grayish white to silver with a prominent midrib; leaf tips, slightly drooping and bifid for 1 cm or less. The slender petiole has no spines or teeth and is not split at the base; the hastula has three points (trident-like). Flowers and fruits: Inflorescences are branched to two orders and are shorter than the leaves. Flowers are small, creamy white and bisexual. Fruits are spherical to oblong, 1.5-2 cm in diameter, and white when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Erect, fan palms with stems covered by a layer of spiny fibers with long, pendulous tips.

Lab: Brownish hairs along ribs.

May be confused with

Possibly Thrinax or Coccothrinax species but neither has the distinctive rings of spines found on the Zombia stem.


Native to Hispanola

Additional comments

Cultivated occasionally for its attractive foliage and interesting spines (and name)

Scientific name

Zombia antillarum (Desc.) L.H.Bailey




Chamaerops antillarum Desc.

Coccothrinax anomala Becc.

Oothrinax anomala (Becc.) O.F.Cook

Last Updated May 2014