Stand of fruiting specimens
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Coryphoideae
Tribe: Trachycarpeae
Genus: Acoelorrhaphe
A. wrightii
Binomial name
Acoelorrhaphe wrightii
(Griseb. & H.Wendl.) H.Wendl. ex Becc.
  • Acoelorraphe, spelling variation
  • Copernicia wrightii Griseb. & H.Wendl.
  • Paurotis wrightii (Griseb. & H.Wendl.) Britton
  • Serenoa arborescens Sarg.
  • Paurotis androsana O.F.Cook
  • Acoelorrhaphe arborescens (Sarg.) Becc.
  • Acanthosabal caespitosa Prosch.
  • Brahea psilocalyx Burret
  • Acoelorrhaphe pinetorum Bartlett
  • Paurotis schippii Burret
  • Paurotis psilocalyx (Burret) Lundell

Acoelorrhaphe is a genus of palms with single species Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, known as the Paurotis palm, Everglades palm or Madeira palm in English[2][3][4][5] and cubas, tique, and papta in Spanish.[6]

It is native to Central America, southeastern Mexico, the Caribbean, Colombia, the Bahamas, and extreme southern Florida where it grows in swamps and periodically flooded forests. It is a small to moderately tall palm that grows in clusters to 5–7 metres (16–23 ft), rarely 9 m (30 ft) tall, with slender stems less than 15 centimetres (5.9 in) diameter. The leaves are palmate (fan-shaped), with segments joined to each other for about half of their length, and are 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) wide, light-green above, and silver underneath. The leaf petiole is 1–1.2 m (3.3–3.9 ft) long, and has orange, curved, sharp teeth along the edges. The flowers are minute, inconspicuous and greenish, with 6 stamens. The trunk is covered with fibrous matting. The fruit is pea-sized, starting orange and turning to black at maturity.[7][8]

The genus name is often cited as Acoelorraphe,[7][9] a spelling error to be corrected under the provisions of the ICBN. The genus name is a combination of three Greek words meaning a- 'without', koilos 'hollow', and rhaphis 'needle', an allusion to the form of the fruit. The species is named after the American botanist Charles Wright.[10]

Cultivation and uses

Cultivated specimen in a greenhouse at Missouri Botanical Garden

The Paurotis palm was formerly plentiful in the Florida Everglades, but many plants were taken for the nursery trade. The palm is now protected in the wild by Florida law and its numbers are increasing again. Trees propagated from seed or by sawing apart the base of a cluster are available in nurseries. It is hardy to central and southern Florida and is cultivated as a landscape palm.[11]



  1. ^ H.A. Wendland Botanische Zeitung 37:148. 1879 Tpe:A. wrightii
  2. ^ a b World Checklist of Palms: Acoelorrhaphe Archived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Acoelorrhaphe wrightii
  4. ^ International Plant Names Index (IPNI): Acoelorrhaphe
  5. ^ Palm & Cycad Societies of Florida: Acoelorrhaphe wrightii Archived 2006-07-02 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Villalobos, Nelson Zamora (2000). Arboles de la Mosquitia hondureña. Turrialba, Costa Rica: CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza). p. 5. ISBN 9789977573533.
  7. ^ a b Flora of North America: genus account and species account
  8. ^ Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  9. ^ USDA Plants Profile: Acoelorraphe wrightii
  10. ^ Grisebach, August H. R. (1866) Catalogus Plantarum Cubensium
  11. ^ Bush, Charles S. and Morton, Julia F. (1969) Native Trees and Plants for Florida Landscaping (pp.11-12). Department of Agriculture - State of Florida.