Thrinax morrisii (Leucothrinax morrisii)

Common name

brittle thatch palm, key thatch palm


Stems: Solitary, erect gray stems, to 11 m tall, up to 35 cm in diameter, with obscure, incomplete leaf scars, the upper reaches covered with matted fibers and split leaf bases, and a boss of fibrous roots at the base. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, unarmed, with a circular blade 1-1.5 m across, divided at least half its length by numerous, lanceolate segments with stiff, bifid tips; petiole usually longer than the blade; leaf sheath with fibrous margins. The upper leaf surface is glossy green or glaucous; the undersurface, silvery, covered with white wax and tiny dark dot-like scales; midrib and marginal ribs prominent; transverse veinlets visible. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence 1-1.2 m, emerging through split leaf bases, arching and branched to two orders, equal to or exceeding the leaves in length. The white flowers have both male and female parts. The fruits are small (6-8 mm in diameter), spherical and white when ripe; pedicel less than 1 mm.

Diagnostic features

Solitary, upright palm with palmate leaves, the leaf blade underside silvery, leaf sheaths that split at the base and small, white fruit with very short stalk (less than 1 mm).

May be confused with

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


Native to Florida and the Caribbean

Additional comments

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

Scientific name

Thrinax morrisii H. Wendl.

Now Leucothrinax morrisii (H. Wendl.) C.E.Lewis & Zona




Simpsonia microcarpa (Sarg.) O.F. Cook

Thrinax bahamensis O.F. Cook

Thrinax drudei Becc.

Thrinax ekmanii Burret

Thrinax keyensis Sarg.

Thrinax microcarpa Sarg.

Thrinax ponceana O.F. Cook

Thrinax praeceps O.F. Cook

Thrinax punctulata Becc.

Last Updated May 2014