The Endangered Spindle Palm
The spindle palm, Hyophorbe verschaffeltii is closely related to the bottle palm, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis. Like bottle palms, they are easy to care for and nearly extinct in the wild.
Growing from 6-12 feet tall, this is a good palm for small landscapes. In a mature specimen, three quarters of this height is trunk.
This palm tends to form a slender gray or tan trunk which bulges near the base or higher up toward the bright green to turquoise crown shaft. The trunk is attractively ringed by leaf scars. This beauty of the trunk is only revealed if the old boots are removed.
A head consisting of several (6-10) feathery medium green fronds to 7 feet long sets atop the crown shaft. The fronds have an upright habit but curve downward at the tips. Each leaflet is about 2 inches wide and more than a foot long.
In the spring, fragrant yellow flowers hang like fringe from stout foot long stalks which emerge from the trunk just below the crown shaft. When it is in bloom the palm takes on the appearance of a pom pom girl.
The inch long oval fruits which follow the flowers look like strands of purple beads. If you want to collect seed for planting, chose only unblemished fruit. Clean off the fruit and dry the palm seeds before storing them.
Spindle Palm Tree Care
Plant them in full sun to part shade locations. Space them 10-15 feet apart.
Regular water is a must. This is not a drought tolerant palm so don't let it dry out.
This is a tropical palm. It will only survive outdoors in USDA zones 10 and 11. If you want to grow it in a colder area, it will live happily in a pot for many years.
It is a slow grower, but faster than Hyophorbe lagenicaulis which also grows well in a pot. There is another relative, Hyophorbe indica, the Champagne palm which will also thrive in a container. The Champagne palm is a bit hardier and can be planted into zone 9b.
Spindle palms are well suited to coastal Southern California and are good palms to plant in South Florida.
Conservation Note: According to Palms Throughout the World, fewer than 50 plants of H. verschaffeltii remain in the wild.
Buy Hyophorbe verschaffeltii
Other Types of Palm Trees:Why the Cananry Island Date is Called the Pineapple Palm
Bismarckia nobilis is Not for Small Yard Landscaping
The Fast-Growing Queen Palm Tree
Plant an Old Man Palm to Add Character to Your Landscape
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