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Roystonea oleracea

Common name

Caribbean royal palm


Stems: Solitary, erect, grayish white, to 40 m tall and 45-65 cm in diameter, tapering, not swollen toward the middle. Leaf scars are regular and closely spaced, but not raised or prominent from a distance. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate,reduplicate:
Most palm leaflets or leaf segments are obviously folded. If the folds create an upside-down V-shape, with the margins lower than the midrib (so that rain might "run off the roof"), the folding is reduplicate.
, to 3 m long, with numerous glossy leaflets in two planes (not plumose plumose:
softly feathered
as are the other Roystonea species). The crown shaft crown shaft:
a cylinder of clasping leaf sheaths toward the apex of the stem, found in some pinnate-leaved palms (e.g., <em>Wodyetia bifurcata</em>)
is bright, glossy green, slightly swollen at the base, and up to 2 m long. Lower leaves held roughly horizontally, not drooping. Leaflets have acute tips and scales along the prominent midrib's undersurface. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescence to 1.5 m long, densely branched to three orders, with separate, white staminate staminate:
a flower bearing stamens but no pistils; a “male” flower
and pistilate flowers. Ovoid, 1.3-1.7 cm long fruits are purple black when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Majestic, upright, pinnate pinnate:
like a feather; palms with pinnate leaves usually have compound leaflets attached to a rachis, although a pinnate leaf may be entire with pinnate veins (e.g., <em>Chamaedorea metallica</em>)
palm with whitish, swollen stem; leaflets with prominent secondary ribs on either side of the midrib. Lower leaves more or less horizontally, not drooping.

May be confused with

Other Roystonea species, see those descriptions for diagnostic features


Native to the Caribbean region

Scientific name

Roystonea oleracea (Jacq.) O.F.Cook




Areca oleracea Jacq.

Euterpe caribaea Spreng

Oreodoxa oleracea (Jacq.) Mart.