Common Names: queen palm, Cocos plumosa, Arecastrum romanzoffianum
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Fast Growing Can be Grown in Containers Has Ornamental
This is a palm with an identity crisis! A few decades ago the queen
palm was assigned the name Cocos plumosa. During the late sixties
and seventies most experts began referring to it as Arecastrum
romanzoffianum. Now this queen has been placed in the genus Syagrus,
the species name became romanzoffiana - hopefully Syagrus
romanzoffiana will stick!
Despite its difficulties with nomenclature, the queen palm really
does strike a regal pose in the landscape. Growing to maximum height
of about t, this plam has a smooth straight grey trunk ringed with
evenly spaced leaf scars and topped with a large canopy of feathery
plumes. These lacy fronds are a dark glossy green and have double
rows of leaflets. These droop to the ground like double rows of
fringe to cast shady patterns on the lawn. Informal groupings of
three or more queens provides soft filtered sunlight perfect for
During the summer season the queen decks herself out with
impressive infloresences (flower structures - photo at left). In
early winter she takes on a sporty look when huge amounts of fruit
appear. Bright orange 1 inch oval "dates" hang in impressive 6'
bunches creating a colorful show. The party's over though when they
fall to the ground creating sticky piles of rotting fruit that
attract disagreeable insects. On the up side, volunteer seedling
palms often grow from the mess if undistubed!
Native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina in South America.
This palm is now widely planted as a landscape item. It is
especially popular in Central Florida from Orlando to Tampa-Saint
Petersburg where it is seen almost everywhere.
Queen palm is tolerant but prefers enriched sandy soils. Fertilize
twice a year in spring and summer with a fertilizer that contains
micronutrients, especially manganese. A deficiency of this
micronutrient results in a condition called "frizzle top" which
causes leaves to look frayed and torn. This condition can be
corrected by spreading a 1 to 3 pounds of manganese sulphate beneath
the palm (amount depends on the size of the tree) .
Light: Full sun is best but will tolerate some shade.
Moisture: It will withstand some drought but keep watered for best
looks and fastest growth.
Hardiness:USDA Zones 9-11. Cold damage appears at 25°F, the plant
freezes and dies at about 20° F.
Propagation: By seed. These will germinate in 3 to 4 months. An easy
way to obtain plants is to dig and pot the volunteer seedlings that
often appear under adult palms.
Use Queen palm in natural groupings and to frame views. This is an
excellent palm for lining streets and boulevards like those shown in
the photo along 6th Avenue in San Diego, California. It can succeed
in urban environments if maintained with adequate moisture. Queen
palm is fun and easy to grow in pots outdoors.
An interesting inter-generic hybrid is occassionally available
that is a cross between Syagrus romanzoffiana and Butia capitata.
The hybrid, referred to as X Butiarecastrum, has the grace of the
queen palm and the cold hardiness of Butia. This hybrid is difficult
to find however.
Queen palm is a beautiful palm that is inexpensive, easy to find and
easy to grow. With a little care a small plant will make a dramatic
specimen within a few years.