Pseudophoenix vinifera

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Pseudophoenix (soo-doh-FEH-niks)
vinifera (vihn-ih-FEHR-ah)
Montgomery Botanical Center, Florida. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pseudophoenix (soo-doh-FEH-niks)
vinifera (vihn-ih-FEHR-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Cacheo. Buccaneer Palm, Cherry Palm, Wine Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Hispaniola, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. In Haiti, P. vinifera
Perfect specimen, Fairchild.
survives in only two populations: between Poteau and Passe Reine (Dep. de l’Artibonite) and near Source Matelas (Dep. de l’Ouest) (Henderson et al. 1990). In the Dominican Republic, scattered palms are seen in the southern part (Provs. Azua and Barahona), but nowhere are populations large. Pseudophoenix vinifera occurs in dry forest, at 300–400 m elevation, in Haiti and the southwestern Dominican Republic. (S. Zona. 2002)/Palmweb.


Stem 5–15 m tall, strongly ventricose, most slender above the swelling, gray, with prominent leaf scars when young. Leaves about 24 in the crown, spreading; leaf 2–3 m long; sheath 34–49 cm long, green with silvery gray scales near the apex; petiole 11–30 cm long; rachis 270 cm long, often with brown scales along its margin; leaf segments 115–131 per one side of the rachis; middle leaf segment 53–83 cm long, 1.7–3.1 cm wide, lanceolate with an acuminate tip, gray-green, glaucous abaxially, glaucous to glossy adaxially, ramenta present on the abaxial surface of the midvein at the base of the leaf segment. Inflorescence erect, ascending or arching, branched to 2 or 3 orders, about 125 cm long; peduncle down-curved, extending well beyond the leaf bases, glabrous; prophyll 102–156 cm long, about 8 cm wide, bearing dark brown scales along both edges (keels); inner bract about 50 cm long, bearing dark brown scales along both edges; rachillae 12.0–19.5 cm long and 1.5–2.6 mm in diam., directed toward the apex of the inflorescence. Flower pseudopedicel (0.8–)2.5–4.4 mm long, 0.8–1.5 mm in diam., green to glaucous; calyx a shallow triangular cupule, 3.1–5.9 mm in diam., green to glaucous, margins hyaline; petals ovate, 6.4–8.9 mm long, 4.6–5.8 mm wide, green, glaucous abaxially, spreading, with about 24 major veins; filaments 4.2–5.1 mm long, basally connate forming a short staminal tube, anthers ovoid, 5.1–6.1 mm long, 2.4–2.9 mm wide, yellow; gynoecium (in bisexual flowers) 4.4–6.1 mm long, 2.5–3.7 mm in diam. (pistillode in staminate flowers smaller), green. Fruit 17.6–23.7 mm long, 16.2–20.2 mm in diam. (in single-seeded fruits); endocarp 15.2–16.9 mm long, 13.9–16.0 mm in diam., 0.2–0.4 mm thick. Seed 11.1–14.7 mm long, 10.6–14.5 mm in diam. (S. Zona. 2002)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Pseudophoenix vinifera is distinguished from its congeners by its strongly bottle-shaped stem at maturity, its distally directed rachillae and its triangular calyx. In gross appearance, it most closely resembles P. ekmanii, but in aspects of the inflorescence, flower and fruit, it resembles P. lediniana. (S. Zona. 2002)/Palmweb.


Sunny, well drained position. Drought tolerant. Very slow growing. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

"My experience over several years has been that P. vinifera is only slightly less cold hardy than P. sargentii. This winter season, I had a very unusual cold blast for 4 nights in a row (26 F,25 F,25 F,and 28 F were the minimum temps.) Over a dozen P. sargentii planted around the yard were totally unprotected and received little to no damage. A 10 ft overall P.vinifera in the middle of the yard (unprotected) took 50% freeze burn but has already pushed 1 inch of new spear over the last 3 weeks.A smaller 6 ft overall P.vinifera close to the house only took 10% burn and has also pushed a new inch of spear. I live in a desert with humidity often only 5 - 10% and don't remember seeing frost on any plants,although cars and the roofs of houses will get frost a few times each year. In my opinion,they are pretty darn hardy as other palms around the yard like triangles,foxtails,and cuban royals were completely defoliated!" (Scott (aztropic))

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: In the past, this species was much exploited for the sweet sap that was fermented into “wine” (hence the epithet “vinifera”). The palm is still occasionally used for this purpose, but past exploitation has so diminished populations that the practice seems to have diminished as well. Pseudophoenix vinifera makes a striking ornamental palm and is occasionally cultivated by collectors and botanic gardens. (S. Zona. 2002)/Palmweb.

"P.vinifera tends to be a very upright palm, until it develops some trunk. Although similar to P. sargentii in looks, as a mature tree its dimensions tend to be larger overall; including the size of the red cherry-like fruits." (Scott (aztropic)

Two dozen palms remain in grove where there were several hundred when re-discovered forty years ago.

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).

Zona, S. 2002. A Revision of Pseudophoenix. Palms 46(1) 19-38.

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

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