Butia eriospatha

Butia eriospatha

Butia eriospatha or woolly jelly palm is a fast growing palm tree and one of the hardiest Butia.

It is very similar to Butia capitata, the main difference being in the inflorescence and greener leaves.

Quite drought tolerant, it is suited for xeriscaping.

In winter it is especially important that the palm tree is kept as dry as possible to better survive the cold.

Description:

Butia eriospatha 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. Leaves are less gray or bluish than those of Butia capitata.

The inflorescence is highly branched, relatively short, with a light brown tomentum on the emerging inflorescence. Flowers are yellow to orange.

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

Nomenclature:

Common name:

Woolly jelly palm

Synonyms:

Butia eriospatha subsp. punctata, Butia punctata, Calappa eriospatha, Cocos eriospatha, Syagrus eriospatha

Etymology:

Butia: from old Tupi butiá (name of the fruit)
Eriospatha: from the Greek eri- (wooly) and spathê (spathe)

Origin:

Argentina and southeastern Brazil

Habitat:

Open, mostly deciduous forests and grasslands

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

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