Common Names: jelly palm, pindo palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Drought Tolerant Easy to grow - great for beginners! Can be
Grown in Containers Edible Plant Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual
or Interesting Foliage
This beautiful feather palm has long pinnate leaves that arch and
recurve towards the ground from atop a thick stout trunk. The trunk
can grow to 20 feet, but normally reaches 12-15 ft (3.7-4.6 m) with
a diameter of 1-1.5 ft (0.3-0.5 m). Typically, the old leaf stalks
persist for years, although specimens with clean trunks are not
uncommon. Leaves range from light green to bluish gray and grow 5 to
10 feet long. The leaf stems range from about 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) in
length and have spines along both edges. The palm produces bright
orange fruit (often called pindo dates in the Deep South). These
palms vary in form from one individual to the next. Specimens raised
in dry and/or infertile soils tend to be smaller in stature with
smaller leaves. Light also affects the plant's form while those
grown in full sun are more compact.
The apparent variability in specimens of B. capitata is also due
to the fact that there are several other species in this genus that
are very similar in appearance. Palm enthusiasts in this country
grow B. yatay which resembles B. capitata but grows taller and has a
thicker trunk. Other species include B. eriospatha and B.
paraguayensis (which some experts assert is a subspecies of B. yatay).
All of these hybridize readily and it is suspected that many of the
plants offered as B. capitata may be hybrids. Butia can also be
crossed with Syagrus romanzoffiana (the queen palm) to produce the
very handsome mule palm.
Light: Full sun to moderate shade (the fronds grow longer in shady
situations, giving the palm a more graceful aspect than those grown
in full sun).
Moisture: Prefers sandy, well drained soil but is adaptable and very
drought tolerant. Regular watering and feeding will produce a faster
growing, more attractive palm.
Hardiness: USDA Zone 8-9. This is our hardiest feather leafed palm.
Specimens can be seen in North Carolina and I've had reports of a
Butia spotting in Washington D.C. On the west coast the Pindo palm
is grown as a novelty in warmer Zone 8 microclimates as far north as
British Columbia. This palm is not recommended for subtropical and
Propagation: Seeds. Young palms are often found under palms that
have been allowed to produce fruit. It is not unusual to see
offspring growing in the old leaf boots of a mature tree.
Use it as a lawn accent or in groupings. This palm is good for urban
plantings and can also be grown at the beach behind dunes or other
protection. Will adapt to container culture.
This is a beautiful cold hardy palm that is very easy to grow. It is
also drought tolerant, inexpensive and readily available at
nurseries and discount stores. Like many palms, the pindo produces
an elaborate flowering structure called an inflorescence - the
orange fruit forms on these structures after the female flowers have
been pollinated. In the deep south, a jelly is made from these
fruits. They have a terrific taste that starts out like apple and
tranforms to tart tropical flavors as it tantalizes the tongue. Too
bad the fruit has a large seed and stringy fibrous flesh or I would
eat them by the handful!
This palm produces a large quantity of fruit, which can be a
nuisance, as ripening fruit attracts wasps and other insects. Remove
flower stalks to avoid messy cleanups. The pindo fruits are rather
tasty, but you probably don't need 50 pounds of them!