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Caranday Palm Tree

Caranday palm tree in the landscape. Rare palm tree in the wild.

The Caranday Palm Tree, scientific name Copernicia alba or Trithrinax campestris, is not well known in cultivation and is considered rare. It is a cold hardy palm that is perfect for landscapes in USDA zones 9-11.  The stunning Caranday Palm is great for focal point or can be used in groupings of three. The Caranday Palm Tree can also grow indoors.

Caranday Palm Tree Info

Scientific name: Copernicia alba 

Common names: The Caranday Palm is also known as Wax Palm and Caranday Wax Palm.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: It is native to the humid parts of the Gran Chaco eco-region in Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Appearance: The Caranday Palm has single, gray, very hard trunk around 7-10 inches in diameter. Younger palm trees retain spiny old leaf bases that eventually fall off as the tree matures. Trunk is gray and has cylindrical shape.

Palmate, or fan shaped, leaves grow from the top of the trunk and are 2ft long. The attractive leaves are round, held by very rigid and spiny petioles, and range in color from light green to silver to light blue. They produce wax that is used today for lipstick, candles and some car polishes. Leaves of the adult Trithrinax campestris have the surface covered on both sides with small red points or dots.

Flowers/Fruits: During fall, the Caranday Palm produces small white flowers 10-12 mm wide. Flowers are hermaphrodite, develop on branched inflorescence that grow below the leaves. In the summer, flowers are followed by berry looking yellow fruits that turn black when ripe. Fruits are around 1 inch wide with a single oval seed inside. They are edible, juicy and succulent, have a sweet taste, that is followed by an astringent taste that is hard to get rid off.

Growth Rate: Slow. Copernicia alba is a slow growing palm can get up to 40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide. In the wild the

Caranday Palm is known to reach 60-70 ft, but in cultivation usually doesn’t grow taller than 30-40ft.

Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.

Cold Tolerance: The minimum temperature Caranday Palm can tolerate is 20-25 F when mature enough. It is great for USDA zones 9a (20 to 25 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

Light Req: Full sun to Partial shade.

Water Req: It does best in moist well drained soil.

Maintenance: Easy. The Caranday Palm Tree is easy to grow and maintain. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Insects and Diseases: Generally healthy palm.

Propagation: Propagated by seed.