| Trithrinax (tree-TREE-naks) brasiliensis |
The inflorescence, 60-70 cm long, is spectacular. The structure of the primitive flower Photo by Pietro Puccio.
Habitat and DistributionTrithrinax brasiliensis is found in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil; Southeast.
"Trithrinax acanthacoma is growing in much colder places here in Brazil and is a larger palm, with smaller seeds. The trunk is armed with spines and the leaves have spines on the tips, but each individual lealflet is only split slightly at the end. Trithrinax brasiliensis is growing further south in Rio Grande do Sul and into Uruguay. It is a slightly smaller plant but seems to have a larger seed. It is slower growing, I cant say if its more or less cold hardy, but likelihood is slightly less hardy. The trunk has weak spines at the apex but these soon disintigrate leaving a trunk without spines. The leaf is very different, being much deeper divided, and much more glaucous. Each leaflet is very deeply divided also (whereas acanthacoma is only divided to a few cms maximum) and the tips of the leaves are far less dangerous." Editing by edric.
Rare Trithrinax from south brasil. Often confused with Trithrinax acanthacoma it is easily recognised by its white inflorescence (as opposed to yellow), deeply divided leaflets, slight blue leaf colour, and feeble spines that only appear at apex of trunk and quickly disintegrate.
"Small to medium sized, solitary palmate palm, with an unusual woven fibre wrapping the trunk, fibre falls away very easily to reveal a finely detailed pattern of old leaf bases. Leaves are greyish green, very deeply divided, with each individual leaflet being split into two long thin "fingers". The spines are only found at the apex, and due to their feeble nature tend to fall away very quickly. It grows large bunches of white/pale green oval fruits about 1.5 cm long, the seeds being the largest of the genus." (Nigel Kembrey)
Mature height: 20', Mature spread: 6', Habit: Solitary.
Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Drought and frost tolerant. Slightly alkaline soil. Slow growing, seedlings in cultivation can take 3 years to produce the first palmate leaf. Suitable for sub-tropical all the way thru to temperate gardens. (Nigel Kembrey)
"Trithrinax grows well for me in Augusta, Ga., but needs to be fertilized carefully. It can suffer from Boron deficiency, so watch for the central growth area starting to grow sideways and for leaves that become small and distorted." (J. Levert)
Comments and Curiosities
Conservation: The palm is threatened by forest clearance,fires and cattle grazing.
Trithrinax brasiliensis is known as "carandá", "burití" or "leque". It is considered a rare and endemic species that occurs in Argentina, and southern Brazil. Subpopulations in Paraná are under considerable threat but the status of subpopulations in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina is not known. Nowadays it is considered a threatened species belonging to the category "In Danger" in the List of Threatened species of Rio Grande do Sul state, southern Brazil.
"One of the more common palms in cultivation in Southern California, but still rare enough to be interesting to collectors. This is one of the hardiest and easiest to grow palms here. It is a fan palm with stiff, moderately divided, very symmetrical and attractive leaves, up to 3' in diameter. The most interesting thing about this plant is the trunk retains persistent large, thick spines pointing in all directions. From a distance it looks a bit ordinary, remeniscent of Trachycarpus or other common fan palms. I have seen this palm grown in the public southern California landscape along with a bunch of Trachycarpus fortuneis, almost as though it was accidentally planted by someone thinking it was just a somewhat larger Windmill Palm. Whether or not these planting were errors, or planned, it is always a nice surprise to see one in a lawn or along a median in southern California looking like giant Windmill palms (the spiny trunks are the giveaway)." (Geoff Stein)
A beautiful and cold hardy palm from Brazil with stiff, fan-shaped leaves and a trunk that bears an interesting and intricate pattern of old leaf bases. The seeds germinate readily and subsequent seedling growth is fast. It probably prefers full sun, but can certainly accomodate light shade too, and is quite drought tolerant as it comes from areas with a long dry season. It will grow in most climates from temperate to subtropical and, with its large bunches of white to pale green fruits the size and shape of grapes, it would be an attractive addition to any garden. (RPS.com)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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.