Coccothrinax crinita

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Old Man Palm

Coccothrinax (koh-koh-TRIH-naks)
crinita (krin-EE-tah)
Photo by Geoff Stein.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Coccothrinax (koh-koh-TRIH-naks)
crinita (krin-EE-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Palmate
Survivability index
Common names
Old Man Palm, Thatch Palm, Guano Barbudo, Guano Petate, Palma Petate.

Habitat and Distribution

Coccothrinax crinita is found in Cuba, It usually grows in seasonally flooded savannahs,
La Habana Botanical Garden, Cuba. Photo by Jason Schoneman
occasionally in hilly areas.


Solitary, Slow growing, 2 to 10 metres high, (7 to 33 ft.) its trunk completely covered with long hair like fibers., stems 8 to 20 centimetres in diameter, (3 to 8 inches). It appears bigger because of the the thick hair covering. Leaf detail: Palmately compound, 15 to 25 almost circular leaves, green above, dull gray below. 38 segments, with split tips, up to 5 feet in diameter (1.5 m). unarmed, 3 feet long (90 cm). Flower: dioecious, (male and female flowers on separate plants), yellow flowers. Flower stalk coming from among the leaves, 5 feet long. Fruit: The fruit is purple or black, 0.7-2 cm in diameter.[.28 to .80 inches long). Round, and wrinkled. Editing by Edric.


Requirements: Full sun, fair to moderate water, well drained position.

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Comments and Curiosities

The well-known "Old Man Palm" has a slim trunk that is thickly covered with long, dense and woolly, pale brown fibers, giving the palm a most bizarre appearance. Once past the slow seedling stage, it grows faster than might be imagined. It thrives in most warm temperate and tropical areas and will even take a short, light frost without damage. It prefers a sunny situation and needs well drained soil. Makes a fascinating potted plant as well. (

Uses: The leaves are used for thatch.

There are two recognised subspecies, Coccothrinax crinita subsp. brevicrinis, and C. crinita subsp. crinita.

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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