Jubaea chilensis

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Jubaea (yoo-BEH-ah)
chilensis (chill-EN-sis)
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Natural Heritage Roblería, National Copper Reserve Slice, Region - Metropolitana, Chile.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Jubaea (yoo-BEH-ah)
chilensis (chill-EN-sis)
Cocos chilensis
Jubaea spectabilis
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: pinnate
Height: 20-25 m
Trunk diameter: 100-130 cm
Sun exposure: full
Survivability index
Common names
Chilean Wine Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Jubaea chilensis ia native to central Chile between 32°S and
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35°S latitude. It is the sole species in the genus Jubaea. It was once thought to populate Easter Island.

"Jubes" can be found all over the world, wherever their climate needs can be met. As mentioned in more detail below, they are among the hardiest of all palms. Fine specimens can be found in Northern and Southern California, Southern Australia, England, Ireland, and South Africa, to name a few places.


Jubaea chilensis is a single-trunked, pinnate-leaved palm growing to 20-25 m tall. The trunk is the stoutest of any palm, commonly a metre diameter at the base, sometimes up to 1.3 m diameter, often widest in the upper part of the trunk, with smooth grey bark.

The dark green pinnate leaves are 3-5 m long, with pinnae to 30-50 cm long closely spaced along the rachis. Despite the length of the leaves, they often look disproportionally small compared to the massive trunk, particularly on larger trees. The leaf bases persist as grey-brown stubs for a while on young trees, but fall cleanly on mature trees. Editing by edric.

Size: up to 25 m (80') tall 16 feet in diameter (5 m)

Min. Temperature: 16°F (-9°C)

Water Requirements: Moderate water

Sun Requirements: Full sun to light shade

Germination: slow to germinate, usually taking between 6 to 16 months.

Leaf: Pinnate, stiff feather leaves, which are dull green above and greyish underneath, up to 12 feet long (3.6 m).

Trunk: Gray trunk with leaf scars, Up to 1.5m (5') wide.

Flower: Large number of very small purple flowers. Flowers are in groups of 2 males flowers for 1 female.. Flower stalk coming from among the leaves, 4 feet long.

Fruit: yellow. Up to 2 inches in diameter (5 cm). round.

Seed: 1 inch in diameter (2.5 cm). round.

The species is monoecious, with male and female flowers in separate panicles but on the same tree. They are produced on long, branched panicles. The fruit is green at first, ripening bright yellow, oval to globose, 4-5 cm long and 4 cm diameter, with a single large grey-brown seed 2.5 cm diameter; the fruit pulp is edible, but does not have a very good flavour. The nuts, called coquitos ("little coconuts") in Spanish, are also edible after cracking the hard shell, similar to coconut in texture and flavour. Editing by edric.


Jubaea chilensis is possibly the hardiest of the pinnate-leaved palms, tolerating temperatures down to about -12°C, about the same as for Butia capitata, though more tolerant of winter wet than that species. This makes it popular in cooler temperate areas with a winter-wet mediterranean climate, though its very slow growth (particularly when young) and difficult availability in the past mean it is still a rare tree in most areas. Older cultivated trees often produce abundant fruit, so seedlings are becoming more widely available.

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Comments and Curiosities

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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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