How the Bottle Palm Got Its Name

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

The Bottle palm is interesting in that its trunk has a smooth gray surface and a shape that makes Hyophorbe lagenicaulis look like an arrangement of palm fronds in a vase. At least that’s what it looks like to me.

A bottle palm growing at Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens

The trunk starts out fat when the tree is young and slims as it increases in height. Atop the concrete colored trunk sits a smooth green crown shaft from which grows 4-8 upward arching fronds. In a mature specimen, these fronds are about 10 feet long. In the summer, when it blooms, the flower stalks emerge from the point where the crown shaft meets the trunk.

About the Name

Hyophorbe, roughly translated, is Greek for pig’s food. The Hyophorbe palms are so called because Mascarene pigs enjoy eating the fruit they produce.

H. lagenicaulis acquired its common name because of the characteristic shape of its trunk.

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis can grow to a height of 12 feet in sun to part day shade. This is a tender tree that thrives in zones 10 -11.I do know that there are some growing in the ground as far north as Kissimmee, FL which is zone 9b.They are grown on the coast of southern CA, but suffer when planted in inland locations in that state.H. lagenicaulis is common in Hawaii and the tropics. If you live in a colder area, you’ll be happy to know that this palm can be grown in a pot. It’s a slow grower.

According to Palms Throughout the World, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis has become endangered in the wild. This makes it an important tree for palm collectors and home gardeners to grow for conservation purposes.

This palm has a close relative which is similar to it in appearance, the spindle palm.Identification Tip:

A bottle palm’s crown typically consists of just 4-6 fronds which often display a slightly twisting habit of growth.

Bottle Palm Care

Bottle Palm Trees in Queensland, Australia

You can plant this tree in any well drained soil. Feed with a palm fertilizer in spring, summer and fall. If the soil is rich, you can feed less frequently.

Provide supplemental water if growing the tree in full sun.

Its unique and sculptural appearance makes this palm a popular landscape accent where it is hardy.Propagation:

Seeds germinate quickly by palm tree standards (10-12 weeks) but the resulting seedlings will develop slowly.

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