Copernicia hospita

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Copernicia (koh-pehr-nee-SEE-ah) hospita (hos-PIH-tah)
Copernicia hospita NN.JPG
Nong Nooch, Thailand.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Copernicia (koh-pehr-nee-SEE-ah)
Species: hospita (hos-PIH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Cuban Wax Palm, Guano Palm, Cana, Palm, Guano Espinoso, Blue Yarey Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Copernicia hospita is found in Cuba in open savannas, woodlands, and in coastal regions,
Nong Nooch, Thailand. Photo by Geoff Stein.
adjacent to mangrove swamps.


The circular blue gray waxy leaves of the Cuban wax palm, spread out like fans on long, thin, stems (petioles). Up to 40 leaves form a very characteristic circular outline, around the top of the trunk. The smooth columnar trunk can grow up to 1 ft (0.3 m) in diameter, and up to 26 ft (7.9 m) tall. Dainty brown flowers extend, past the leaves on uniquely hairy branches. This species of Copernicia is monoecious, flowers are bisexual. The fruits resemble black marbles, up to 1 in (2.5 m) across. Editing by edric.


Light: The Cuban wax palm thrives in full sun. Moisture: The Cuban Wax Palm is highly tolerant of drought, but thrives in moist soil with excellent drainage. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11. Mature and established plants can tolerate temperatures down to 26ºF (-3.3ºC) Propagation: Germinate in 4 to 12 weeks.

Comments and Curiosities

The Cuban wax palm belongs to the genus of palms considered by many to be the most spectacular of American palmate palms. In profile, the Cuban wax palm is quite striking, with the outline of the leaves forming a great circular arc around the top of the trunk. This palm is considered quite a prize outside of Cuba and is now available from some nurseries and palm seed providers. The Cuban wax palm thrives in full sun locations in tropical settings, like southern Florida. In its native Cuba, the hard and durable stems of the Cuban wax palm are used extensively for fence posts and its leaves are woven into hats, panniers (load-carriers) and baskets.

A medium-sized palm, native to savannas and dry woodland in Cuba. It has a short and relatively slender trunk and a spreading crown of stiff, circular fan leaves with a most desirable, waxy-white color. Like all Cuban Copernicia, it is relatively slow growing and prefers full sun even as a seedling. A dry tropical or subtropical climate suits it best. (

Etymology: This genus of plants was named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). The specific part of the name, hospita, is from the Latin, meaning hospitable, believed to refer to the palm being a hospitable welcome home, to a wide variety of birds.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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