Roystonea stellata

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Roystonea (roy-ston-EH-ah)
stellata (stehl-LAHT-ah)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Roystonea (roy-ston-EH-ah)
stellata (stehl-LAHT-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Palma blanca

Habitat and Distribution

Roystonea stellata has been found in Cuba; Endemic to the Yagruma terrace
of the Maisí region of Guantánamo, eastern Cuba, but possibly extinct. Regrettably, this species has not been re-collected despite searches of the type locality (Zona, 1991). Apparently it is not cultivated, even in Cuba. Aditional surveys of the type locality and interviews with local people, are urgently needed in order to ascertain whether this palm still exists. If surviving individuals can be found, every effort should be made to preserve this distinctive taxon. The one collection of this species available to me, does not permit the formulation of a complete and accurate description. Clearly, the star-shaped stigmatic scar marks this species as distinct from any other; however, its relationships to the other species in Roystonea are obscure. (Zona S.)/Palmweb.


Trunk gray-white, to 15 m. tall. Leaves not seen; middle leaf segments 85-90 cm. long and 4-4.8 cm. wide. Inflorescence about 95 cm. long; prophyll to 66 cm. long; peduncular bract about 1.2 m long, apex acuminate; rachillae 23- 27 cm long and 1.5 mm in diam. Staminate flowers white; sepals triangular, about 1 mm. long; petals ovate to oblong; stamens as long as petals; filaments awl-shaped, 4 mm. long; anthers 2 mm. long; pistillode minute. Pistillate flowers white, about 3.5 per cm; sepals reniform, 1-1.5 mm. long and 2.5 mm. wide; petals ovate, 3.5 mm. long; staminode deeply 6-lobed, 3 mm. long, free for 1.4 mm. Fruits ellipsoid, 9.8-10.5 mm. long, 8. 1-8.5 mm. dorsiventral thickness, and 8. 1-8.7 mm. wide; epicarp black, stigmatic scar stellate and 6-pointed; endocarp spheroid to ellipsoid, 8.4-9 mm. long, 6.6-0.8 mm. dorsiventral thickness, and 6.2-0.8 mm. wide; seed dorsiventrally compressed spheroid, 6.1-0.5 mm. long, 3.9-4.6 mm. dorsiventral thickness, and 5.2-5.8 mm. wide; raphe circular. Eophyll not seen. (Zona S.)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a


Etymology: "Stellata" means "starry" in Latin and refers to a small star like scar on the fruit. (Calo Morici). "I regularly get news from Cuba and, sadly, there are no news. We started the quest about 11 years ago and it is probably extinct. Hope is hard to kill, but ... " (Carlo Morici).

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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.Roystonea.(Arecaceae: Arecoideae).

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

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