BOTTLE PALM Hyophorbe lagenicaulis
Bottle palm has a large swollen trunk. It is a myth that the trunk is a means by which the palm stores water. Bottle palms have only four to six leaves open at any time. The leaves of young palms have a red or orange tint, but a deep green is assumed at maturity. The flowers of the palm arise from under the crownshaft.
This species is often confused with its relative, the Spindle Palm, which also has a swollen trunk. But the Spindle palm's trunk swells in the middle (resembling the shape of a spindle), whereas the trunk of the Bottle palm swells from near the base and tapers further up.
The bottle palm is naturally endemic to Round Island, off the coast of Mauritius. While habitat destruction may destroy the last remaining palms in the wild, the survival of the species is assured due to its ubiquitous planting throughout the tropics and subtropics as a specimen plant. It is one of three Hyophorbe species which naturally occur in Mauritius, and one of only two that are still extant.
Bottle palms are very cold sensitive and are killed at 0 °C (32 °F) or colder for any appreciable length of time. They may survive a brief, light frost. Only Florida and Hawaii provide safe locations in the US to grow Bottle Palm outdoors, though it makes a fine container-grown palm in other locations as long as it is protected from the cold and not overwatered.
Hardiness zones: 10-11
Height: 12' – 15' (3.6m – 4.5m)
Seeds per pack: 3
Germination: Presoak fresh seed in warm water for 24 hours appears to slightly hasten germination time. Keep warm (70-85F) and out of direct light. After germination transplant seedlings immediately into a deep pot as they form a tap root. Seed is sometimes slow to germinate, taking 1 to 3 months.