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Butia capitata

Common Name(s):
Jelly palm, Pindo palm
Categories:
Shrubs, Trees
Comment:

Butia capitata, also known as jelly palm, is a Butia palm native to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.  It is a popular landscape item in North Florida and throughout the mild Gulf and Atlantic coastal regions of the southeastern United States. It is also popular in northern California and similar warm winter climates that are subject to occasional frosts.  This palm is a beautiful cold hardy palm that is very easy to grow.  It is drought tolerant once established, inexpensive and readily available at nurseries and discount stores.  It has feather palm pinnate leaves that arch inwards towards a thick stout trunk.  The fronds grow longer in shady situations, giving the palm a more graceful aspect than those grown in full sun.  This palm is moderately salt tolerant.

Like many palms, the pindo produces an elaborate flowering structure called an inflorescence - the orange fruit forms on these structures after the female flowers have been pollinated. This palm produces a large quantity of fruit, about the size of a large cherry, which can be a nuisance as ripening fruit attracts wasps and other insects. Remove flower stalks to avoid messy cleanups.  The sweet fruit pulp is used to make jellies or fermented to make wine.  They have a terrific taste that starts out like apple and tranforms to tart tropical flavors.  An oil can be extracted from the nuts which is quite similar to coconut oil.

Height:
15-25 ft.
Foliage:
Leaves range from light green to bluish gray and grow 5 to 10 feet long that arch inwards.
Flower:
Axillary flower clusters on large 3-4ft long inflorescence bearing tiny, yellowish to orange-red showy flowers in spring, fruity-scented; unisexual flowers of both sexes (male with 6 stamens and female with 3 stigmas and a solitary pistil).
Zones:
8-11
Habit:
Evergreen
Site:
Full sun to part shade, moist, organic, well drained soil.
Texture:
Coarse
Form:
Upright, rounded
Width:
10-15 ft.
Growth Rate:
Slow
Leaf:
Entire, pinnately compound odd, linear, 18-36" long.
Tags:
salt tolerant, drought tolerant

NCCES plant id: 3325

Butia capitata Flower bud detail
Ruth Bancroft Garden, CC BY-NC-2.0
Butia capitata Butia capitata
Triangulated Truth, CC BY-NC-2.0