Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: African Palmyra Palm, Toddy Palm, Ron Palm, Borassus Palm
Borassus aethiopum

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Borassus (bor-RAS-us) (Info)
Species: aethiopum (ee-thee-OH-pum) (Info)

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By palmbob
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By Thaumaturgist
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There are a total of 21 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral billowen On Aug 22, 2010, billowen from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Just obtained a seedling, these are not easy to get. Will be interesting to see how fast it grows. I believe the seed came from Fairchild in Coral Gables.

Positive Kylecawaza On Nov 20, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Has a very good likley hood of growing in California. In habitat, they like lots of water, but can do without. Better for inland CA than outside.

Neutral Thaumaturgist On Sep 15, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

There are only two fruiting Borassus aethiopum trees in the US, both being in Florida. These photos, taken in July, 2003, come from the one in Miami's Fairchild Tropical Garden.

This female tree located close to a male one, was totally uprooted as it was in the path of Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992.

An all-out effort to save this only fruit-bearing Borassus
aethiopum was immediately put in place. Finally, the tree
got saved but ceased fruiting. Almost miraculously, the now healthy tree started to fruit again after a few years. It is fruiting since.

Positive palmbob On Sep 15, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great looking palm from Africa. Can't grow it here in southern California (U.S.) with very rare exceptions of perfect microclimate existence... all these surviving palms are still young and obviously struggling- our climate is too cool (not to cold, but persistently cool, which does this palm in- hundreds have tried and no successes so far), but it does great in central Florida and south. Though it has no long-term 'cool tolerance, It has quite a bit of cold tolerance as it handles frosts and even freezing temps down into the teens briefly, as long as they are quickly heated up again, as is the case in freak central Florida cold fronts. They do suffer some leaf damage from such an event, but seem to quickly grow out of it.

As a young plant it looks a bit like a Bismarckia (related genus), but very green. Seeds are massive (almost as large as a coconut) but a bit tricky to germinate. Develops wonderful black colorlation along the petioles and is extremely ornamental as a larger seedling... and is quite attractive as an adult, too, though the color can no longer be appreaciated without a binoculars.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gilbert, Arizona
Grant, Florida
Naples, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida

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