Common Names: Cuban petticoat palm, petticoat palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Attracts Birds Drought Tolerant Has Ornamental (non-edible)
Fruit Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage
Cuban petticoat palm
This young Copernicia macroglossa is resplendent in its floor length
petticoat of old leaves!
Cuban petticoat palm has a single trunk which grows up to 30 ft (9.1
m) high and 8 in (20.3 cm) in diameter. This unique palm has erect
leaves that grow in the form of a spiral from the top of the trunk.
The leaves are fan-shaped and grow right out of the trunk with
almost no petiole (leaf stem). This gives the tree a "dressed"
appearance, with the persistent older leaves forming its unique and
characteristic "petticoat". The foliage of petticoat palm produces a
canopy about 6-10 ft (1.8-3.1 m) in diameter. A protruding, vertical
inflorescence appears in summer. Male and female flowers are borne
on separate plants. The female plant bears oval black berries 1 in
(2.5 cm) in diameter.
The Cuban petticoat palm is native to Cuba as are several other
members of this genus, including C. baileyana, C. glabresens and C.
Petticoat palm will tolerate poor soils, however it responds well to
fertilization. It does best in full sun, with hot and humid
conditions. Trim the leaves as they fade if you don't care for the
petticoat (they can harbor bugs and varmints). This gives the palm a
less massive and more graceful look.
Light: Needs full sun.
Moisture: Highly drought tolerant, the petticoat palm also thrives
in moist soils with good drainage.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11. Many experienced growers are now
growing petticoat palm successfully in Zones 8B and 9.
Propagation: By seeds, which take about two months to germinate.
Cuban petticoat palm
Older Cuban petticoat palms are taller and leggier and the spent
foliage looks more like a hula skirt.
This Cuban native adores full sun and is a truly unique specimen
palm. In fact, many growers consider it their favorite. Be careful,
petticoat palm may become your center of attention and conversation!
This genus of palm trees was named after the famous Polish
astronomer Copernicus (1473-1543), who proposed that the Sun was the
center of the universe, around which the Earth and all heavenly
objects orbited. What a fitting name for a such a special palm that
wears a "petticoat," and has become the center of attention and a
true favorite of many growers and admirers. The specific part of the
name, macroglossa, is from the Greek, meaning large tongue, which is
believed to describe the long, wide leaves of the mature petticoat
The related carnauba palm (Copernicia prunifera) from Brazil, is
the source of the most important of all plant-based waxes: carnauba
Petticoat palm is somewhat spiny, so caution is advised when
handling. It is a good idea not to plant this palm too close to