Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black Wanga Palm
Pigafetta elata

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pigafetta (pig-uh-FET-uh) (Info)
Species: elata (el-AH-tuh) (Info)


over 40 ft. (12 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

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:

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jungleboy_fl On Sep 26, 2005, jungleboy_fl from Naples, FL wrote:

There's not a lot of information out there regarding the growth this palm outside of it's native rainforest habitat. Having said that, I was fortunate enough to locate a collector who sells them, and purchased one a couple of years ago. What I'm finding, is that they are fussy about humidity, really hungry for lots of fertilizer, and not wind resistent at all. However, there are nice examples of this palm growing in South Florida- mostly cared for by vigilent palm enthusiasts (like yours truly), who keep a watchful eye for their needs. Summer rains result in luxuriant growth, with my palm having grown about 5' in one season, and it's not slowing down yet. The leaves of this palm are unusual in that they are somewhat brittle, easily snapping in strong winds, resulting in a very ragged look. Fortunately, outside of the occasional devastating hurricane, most of our "wind events" occur during the winter dry season. Incidentally, these palms will look quite ragged by the end of the winter. But, as soon as the weather warms up again, and the rains return, phenomenal growth occurs, and the palm quickly replaces the entire canopy. I'm also learning that Pigafetta elata is somewhat hardier than P. filaris. I think that the matter of hardiness with this palm, is more a product of proper siting, constant moisture (if it dries out once, it's dead), and heavy fertilization during the growing season. The don'ts: Don't plant it in the shade- it will die. Don't disturb the roots ever- extreme care must be taken to just remove it from the pot. The most effective method, according to the grower, is to cut the bottom off of the pot, wrap it burlap, and the cut the remainder of the pot off once it has been placed in it's planting site. Don't let it dry out. This is an absolute requirement. They also love a lot of water sprayed over their leaves year round. Mulch it heavily. I think you will find that this palm is capable of being grown in a well chosen spot in the sheltered parts of zone10 in Florida. I'll have to upload a photo of the specimen growing in my landscape. It has been by far, the most rewarding exotic palm I have ever grown. Go ahead, take a shot at it. You just might be surprised with the results.

Positive palmbob On Feb 9, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

If Pigafetta filaris is a blonde, this is a brunette... it has even more spines per square inch and they are nearly jet black. This palm is truly a dangerous one to bump into, at least while the leaves are within reach (which isnt for long- this IS the fastest growing palm in the world). Grows quickly to 60' or so, and then dies. Trunk is smooth, deep green and ornamentally ringed. From New Guinea. Zone 11 may be pushing it's limits of cold tolerance... maybe zone 12?


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

Dade City, Florida
Naples, Florida
Mountain View, Hawaii

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