Phoenix paludosa

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Phoenix (FEH-niks)
paludosa (pah-loo-DOH-sah)
Kantang, Thailand. Photo by Dr. Sasha Barrow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Phoenix (FEH-niks)
paludosa (pah-loo-DOH-sah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Mangrove Date Palm, Hental Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Malaya, Myanmar, Nicobar Is., Sumatera, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Sap from the mangrove date palm, Phoenix paludosa, is used to make sugar. Photo:
Coastal swamps of West Bengal (particularly Sundarbans), Orissa and the Andamans.


Clustering palm, to 5 m high, usually forming dense thickets, the leaves are 2 to 3 m long and recurved, Acanthophylls (spines) at the base of the petiole. Purple to black fruits.

Small palm found on hard muddy soils on margins of mangrove areas. Will grow in areas disturbed by thallasinid mounds.

Leaves like Nypa but smaller and arranged at the crown of the plant. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: paludosa in Latin, literally, swampy.

Conservation: This species is threatened by the loss of mangrove habitat throughout its range, primarily due to extraction and coastal development, and there has been an estimated 24% decline in mangrove area within this species' range since 1980. It has an area of occupancy of less than 2,000 km² within its restricted range in southeast Asia. There is a continuing decline in the area and quality of its habitat due to coastal development and resource extraction. This species meets two out of three thresholds under Criterion B and nearly qualifies for Criterion A, and therefore is listed as Near Threatened. (

"This is probably the most tropical of all the Phoenix species. It is a suckering palm with sometimes so many trunks it looks like a big mass of leaves. The leaves themselves are very soft for a Phoenix, similar to P rupicolas, but with wider leaflets. The palms can be pruned to looks a bit like miniature Senegal Date Palms (Phoenix reclinatas) but they have sharp spines near their leaf bases so most don't bother. It can be an ornamental palm if pruned, however. This palm can survive in some spots here in So Cal, but it's really a palm for warmer, wetter climates." (Geoff Stein)

A smallish, clustering date palm that is widely distributed in mangrove or swamp forest from easternmost India south to the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. It grows a small cluster of slender trunks that are, at first, clothed in coarse, fibrous leaf sheaths, becoming bare with age. The mildly plumose, gracefully arching leaves hold many soft, narrow, slightly drooping leaflets that are distinctly grayish below and pale green above. The attractive purple to black fruits are held in dense clusters. Though not uncommon in habitat, it is very rarely seen in cultivation. It requires some maintenance to trim old leaves and suckers but will make an extraordinary ornamental that, despite its tropical habitat, adapts well to cooler climates and will take an occasional light frost without harm. (

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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