Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Palm, White Barbel Palm
Acanthophoenix crinita

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acanthophoenix (ak-anth-oh-FEE-niks) (Info)
Species: crinita (krin-EE-tuh) (Info)

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
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:
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive quaman58 On Jul 27, 2012, quaman58 from San Diego, CA wrote:

These are just really neat palms for Southern California, at least near the coast. As noted below, they are remarkably cold tolerant considering their origins. They grow moderately fast & can tolerate a fair amount of full sun when given ample water. I learned this the hard way when I planted the first one I ever got on a fast draining hillside. It's doing okay, but never holds more than 4 leaves and is otherwise pretty slow to grow. The subsequent ones, I planted near water sources, and the growth rate is 3-4 times as fast. The crown shape when they're growing good & are happy is reminiscent of Dictyosperma album, at least to my eyes.

Positive timrann On Nov 22, 2008, timrann from Other
Mauritius wrote:

A.crinita is endemics to Mascareignes; Mauritius and Reunion. Calling it red palm is inaproppriate because is commonly confused with A.rubra. This A.crinita is also called white barbel because it is clear green when young ( sometimes almost tranparent). In Reunion island is called " Palmier Noir Des Haut" which means black palm of the highland. It is light green when seedling but turn dark brown when adult (almost black). A.crinita is less slow than A.rubra (my own experience). Though it is rare and even easily grown , never seen it being sold in nurseries. Is one of the reason is still rather rare. In some private garden where it can be seen in Curepipe (on the central plateau in Mauritius) , there are seedlings just grow like weeds underneath adult plants.

Positive vince1973 On Oct 27, 2005, vince1973 from SaintMalo
France (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have 2yrold plants grown from seeds collected from very high altitude on Reunion isld. Very slow growing but were not affected by a few days at -4c (min. -6c by night)

Positive palmbob On Nov 18, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though as a young tree this is a viciously spiny palm, it is also a very attractive one. It is one of the newest successfully introduced palms to gardens of Southern California. It is a native of Mauritius and Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean where it is endangered. THe type species have very attracive red petioles and a lot of color in the stems when young. However they seem to be a lot slower growing and less hardy than the less colorful crinita varieties. I got one of these planted long before I had heard about it in anyone else's garden and fully expected it to kark the first breath of winter... but surprisingly it took temps in the high 20s without a hint of trouble, not even brown tipping. It has been a slow and steady grower since. As an adult palm (none in So Cal yet) they lose their spines, but keep the nice yellowy crownshaft and perfectly evenly spaced drooping leaves (also spiny as a seedling- not sure about as an adult).

Article in Palms journal Vol 50 (2) 2006 gives this plant separate species status. Now called Acanthophoenix crinita.


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

San Diego, California (2 reports)
Thousand Oaks, California
Westminster, California

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