Cryosophila stauracantha

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Cryosophila (kry-oh-soh-FEE-lah)
stauracantha (staw-rah-KAHN-tah)
Cryosophila leaf basesz.jpg
Leaf Bases, Hawaii.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Cryosophila (kry-oh-soh-FEE-lah)
stauracantha (staw-rah-KAHN-tah)
Cryosophila argentea, Cryosophila bifurcata
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Escoba, Root spine Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Cryosophila stauracantha is endemic to, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico Southeast.

Hilo, Hawaii.


A medium sized palmate palm, to about 10 m tall, with a slim trunk up to 10 cm across, which is covered with spine-like modified roots, that keep away animals. The costapalmate leaves are dark green above, and silver on the underside. 18-24 leaves divide into 32-50 leaflets. Fruit: white. 1.2 cm. globose. Editing by edric.


Warm, sheltered, and moist. Prefers tropical thru to sub-tropical conditions. Min. Temperature: 28°F (-2°C)

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

The rootspine palms are so named because the trunks are covered with spine-like modified roots to keep away animals. This species grows a slim trunk no more than 4 or 5 inches in diameter, to a maximum of 30 feet tall, though usually much less. The fan leaves are silver on the underside, presenting an attractive, small palm for use in shady, protected areas, in subtropical and tropical climates. Cryosophila does very well as a house plant, too! (

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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