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In The Garden: Cuban palm can take on ‘dressed’ appearance

By IN THE GARDEN - | Mar 9, 2021
PHOTO PROVIDED Cuban petticoat palm tree

The Cuban petticoat palm tree (Copernicia macroglossa) is native to Cuba and a really great specimen palm to add to the landscape. The unique feature of the palm is its fan-shaped leaves that have no petioles. If not removed, dry old leaves form a “petticoat” giving the palm “dressed” appearance, hence the name Cuban petticoat palm tree.

The palm has a single gray trunk that is topped with a crown of 10 to 12 fan-shaped, stiff erect fronds that grow in the form of a spiral. The leaves have almost no petioles and grow from the top of the trunk. Outer leaflets are covered with sharp thick long spines. In the summer, it produces small creamy flowers. Male and female flowers are born on the same inflorescence. Flowers are followed by black, oval berry-like fruits that are about 1 inch in diameter.

The growth rate for the Cuban petticoat palm tree is slow, but it can eventually grow to 20 feet or more and about 10 feet wide. The palm will do well in partial shade to full sun and likes moist well-drained soil, but it can also tolerate some drought conditions. This easy-going palm likes any conditions apparently, making the specimen a great conversation piece in any palm collector’s garden.

In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. For more information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit www.facebook.com/rswalshinthegarden.