Butia capitata

11 Aug

Butia capitata (28/07/2014, Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, France)

Butia capitata (28/07/2014, Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, France)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 6m

Eventual Spread: 4m

Hardiness: 8b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11

Family: Arecaceae

Butia capitata is an evergreen palm tree with a single trunk. Its grey/ blue leaves are odd pinnate, arching and up to 3m long. Its leaflets form a distinctive ‘V’ shape in cross section. Its leaf stems are retained on its trunk. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 75cm. Its monoecious cream/ white flowers are borne on 90cm long woody spathe and emerge from the leaf axils. Its yellow/ orange fruit are up to 25mm across.

Butia capitata Leaf (28/07/2014, Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, France)

Butia capitata Leaf (28/07/2014, Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, France)

Butia capitata, commonly known as the Jelly Palm, is native to south Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. In its native habitat it grows in grassland and dry woodlands.

The etymological root of the binomial name Butia is a Latinised form of the Brazilian vernacular for this palm. Capitata is derived from the Latin capitatus meaning ‘forming a head’.

The landscape architect may find Butia capitata useful as a specimen tree and also looks fantastic when planted in avenues. Once established this palm is drought tolerant.

Butia capitata Stem (28/07/2014, Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, France)

Butia capitata Stem (28/07/2014, Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, France)

Ecologically, Butia capitata flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. Its fruit are attractive to some birds and mammals.

Butia capitata prefers moist, sandy, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes waterlogged soils.

Butia capitata requires little maintenance. Dead leaves may be removed from its stem.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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