Butia capitata

Butia capitata

Butia capitata or Jelly Palm is the most hardy among the feather palms: -15 °C if the soil is dry.

The leaves are quite long: up to 3 m. Growth is quite slow and the maximum height is about 6 m.

Original from the low altitude savannah in Brazil and Uruguay where it grows in very sandy and dry soil.

The small yellow fruits are eaten fresh, in jelly or macerated to produce palm wine. They taste more or less like mangos.

Description:

Butia capitata has a trunk up to 4 m high and 28 cm in diameter, up to 6 m high in cultivated plants.

The trunk is covered with old leaf bases or, in older plants, scars in the form of partial circles or ribs.

The blade is 1.2 to 2.1 m in length, has a short petiole with flat, rigid fibers. The leaflets are numerous and grow on the rachis in a 45° angle, giving the leaf a V-shape. The rachis is curved. The crown is spherical. The color of the leaves varies from yellowish green to silvery green up to gray or blue-gray.

The inflorescence is very branched, relatively short, with a large, smooth, spoon-shaped woody bract. Flowers are yellow to orange.

Fruits are orange, spindle shaped, 2.5 cm long and appear in drooping racemes. They are edible and sweet.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Wine palm, jelly palm, pindo palm

Synonyms:

Butia bonnetii, Butia capitata var. liliaceifolia, Butia capitata var. rubra, Butia leiospatha, Butia nehrlingiana, Calappa capitata, Calappa leiospatha, Cocos capitata, Cocos capitata var. leiospatha, Cocos leiospatha, Cocos leiospatha var. angustifolia, Cocos liliaceifolia, Syagrus capitata

Etymology:

Butia: from old Tupi butiá (name of the fruit)
Capitata: from the Latin caput (head, with a head)

Origin:

Brazil

Habitat:

Grasslands, dry woodlands and savannahs



Hardiness:

USDA zone 8-11

Care:

Soil:

Any well drained soil except limestone

Exposure:

Sun

Water:

Drought resistant. Water regularly when grown in pots, but no standing water at the bottom of the pot.

Propagation:

From seed.

Sowing instructions:

  • soak 1-2 days in tepid water
  • sow in light humid soil
  • 30-35 °C
  • germination: about 4 months

Image sources

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