Hyophorbe verschaffeltii

Source: Scott Zona

Hyophorbe verschaffeltii

Hyophorbe verschaffeltii or spindle palm is a small palm tree with a swollen trunk that tapers at the top.

Its trunk is thicker than that of Hyophorbe lagenicaulis and it has a more compact leaf crown.

There are only about fifty specimens left in their natural habitat where it is threatened but cultivated worldwide for its decorative qualities.

Not hardy, easy to grow in pot as a house plant or orangery plant. Growth is slow.


Hyophorbe verschaffeltii has a smooth gray trunk, to 7.6 m high and 30-45 cm in diameter, swollen at the base and narrow at the top, giving the appearance of a spindle or bottle.

Leaf scars are gray-white and very close together. The crown shaft is 60-90 cm long, mint green to powdery blue, smooth and waxy.

The leaf crown is up to 3 m wide and tall, usually formed by 6 leaves at the top of the stipe.

The leaves are pinnate and slightly curved, 1,8-3 m long. The leaflets grow at a 45° angle on the rachis, giving the leaves a V shape.

The inflorescence appears below the leaf crown.


Common names:

Pig nut palm, spindle palm


Areca verschaffeltii, Mascarena verschaffieltii


Hyophorbe: from the Greek hys, hyos (pig) and phorbe (food), referring to the fruit that was used to feed the pigs
Verschaffeltii: in honor of Ambroise Verschaffelt, a Belgian horticulturist


Mascarene Islands


Rainforest and savanna


Zone USDA 10-11



Nutritious and drained


Sun, partial shade


Keep the substrate moist


Fertilizer for palm trees, 2-3 times per year


From seed

Sowing instructions:

  • soak the seeds for two days
  • plant 3 cm deep in a moist sowing substrate
  • 25 °C
  • germination time: 2-6 months