Common Names: hurricane palm, princess palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Has Ornamental (non-edible) Fruit Has evergreen foliage Has
Unusual or Interesting Foliage
Dictosperma album has two common names - princess palm due to its
graceful appearance and hurrican palm because of its ability to
withstand strong hurricane force winds. Princess palm grows to a
height of tt on a single grey-ringed trunk. The graceful pinnate
leaves are 8-12 feet long and the leaflets are 3 feet long. When
young, the tops of the fronds twist and droop because of the
flexible midrib which gives a curving appearance to the leaves. One
distinctive characteristic that is used to distinguish this palm
from Archontophoenix palms, is the pronounced erect young spear
leaves which look like long swords. The crownshaft is also
distinctive as it is light green, white or red and covered in gray
to brown scales. The inflorescence appears below the crownshaft in a
large branching cluster. The flowers are yellow to red and the
fruits are bullet shaped and purple or black in color.
The cultivar, 'Album' has green petioles with distinct veins. 'Aureum'
has a prominent yellow stripe on the underside of the leaflets and
the veins are not distinct. 'Conjugatum' is a shorter palm with a
larger trunk and has leaf tips that hang with long reins. Other
cultivars are 'Rubrum' and 'Furfuraceum'.
The princess palm is native to the Mascarene Islands where
unfortunately it is almost extinct. This palm is a popular landscape
item that is grown throughout the tropics.
Although the princess or hurricane palm can be tough and withstand
strong hurricane winds, it is not drought tolerant and requires high
humidity - doing best in warm, coastal areas.
Light: Best in bright sunny situations.
Moisture: Hurricane palm likes lots of water.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10B - 11. Does not tolerate frosts.
Propagation: Propagate from seed, which germinates in 2-4 months.
The hurricane palm is obviously a useful palm for hurricane-prone
areas near the coast. It also makes a very graceful looking specimen
or accent tree and even may be used indoors when young.
Princess palm is the only species in the genus.