Hyophorbe lagenicaulis or Bottle Palm is a small palm from the Arecaceae family from Round Island, an uninhabited island that belongs to Mauritius and is a nature reserve.
It remains very small, is resistant to coastal salt air and cyclones. It has totally disappeared from Round Island as goats and rabbits have eaten every one of them but it is widely spread in culture.
Hyphorbe lagenicaulis is a small palm of 3-4 m high. The pseudo-stem is very short and thickened and the root system is well spread horizontally which provides this palm with a good protection against cyclones.
The leaves are pinnate, bent and stiff, with numerous leaflets. They appear by 4-8 at the top of the trunk. They grow up to 3 m long.
The inflorescence appears at the top of the trunk and is upright. The flowers are white, the plant is hermaphrodite.
The fruits are in the shape of an olive, 2.5 cm long, initially green and then black when ripe. They contain irritating oxalate crystals.
The name Hyophorbe comes from Greek: hys, hyos that means pig and phorbe that means feed. This refers to the fact that in the past, the fruits were used as pig feed. Lagenicaulis means the trunk in the form of a bottle.
Bottle palm, Pig nut palm
Hyophorbe: from the Greek hys, hyos (pig) and phorbe (fodder). Referring to the fact that is used to be pig fodder.
Lagenicaulis: from the Latin lagoena (bottle) and the Greek caulis (stem)
Round Island, Mauritius
USDA zone 10-11, 0 °C
Well drained and sandy
Will do in full sun if it gets enough water but prefers a light spot or partial shade without direct sunlight
Is resistant to drought
Fertilize monthly with liquid universal fertilizer
Keep the temperature to minimum 15 °C and ensure plenty of light. Endures 0 °C but then the leaves are damaged.
May be a grown in a relatively small pot: unlike many palm trees that have a deep taproot, it forms a shallow root system that spreads horizontally
- soak the seeds 2 days in water
- plant in a sandy mix at 3 cm depth
- 25 °C
- germination: 2-6 months