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Old Man Palm Tree

Rare Old Man Palm Trees in the wild

Old Man Palm Tree, scientific name Coccothrinax crinita, is well-known because of its stunning trunk that is covered with a thick layer of wool-like fibers.  It is a very rare palm that you can only find in the collector’s garden, that is one of the reasons it is very expensive. The  Old Man Palm is frequently planted as an ornamental.  It can also grow indoors.

Old Man Palm Tree Info

Scientific name: Coccothrinax crinita

Common names: The Old Man Palm is also known as Thatch Palm, Guano Barbudo, Guano Petate, Palma Petate.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: Coccothrinax crinita is native to Cuba.

Appearance: Trunk is slim, only 8 inches in diameter, but appears bigger because of the thick hair covering. The Old Man Palm trunk reminds of an old man’s beard, hence the name Old Man Palm.

With no crownshaft 15-25 circular leaves grow right from the trunk. Leaves are palmate, or fan-shaped, stiff, spirally arranged, deeply divided, about 4-5 ft in diameter. They grow on short 2ft long unarmed petioles. Leaves are bright green on top and silvery-gray on the bottom.

Flowers/Fruits: In the summer the Old Man Palm produces yellow flowers that are held by 5 ft long stalks growing among the leaves extending farther than the leaves’ length. Flowers are bisexual, both male and female reproductive organs are born on the same plant. Flowers are followed by dark purple fruit that is round, fleshy, about 1 inch in diameter.

Growth Rate: Slow. Coccothrinax crinita is a slow-growing palm that can get up to 10-20ft tall and 1-5ft wide. It will take this evergreen about 10 years to grow to 5”.

Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.

Cold Tolerance: Old Man Palm Tree can tolerate cold down to 20F when mature enough. It is great for USDA Zones 9a (20 to 25 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

Light Req: Partial shade to Full sun.

Water Req: This palm is great to plant along the seashore because it is very drought and salt tolerant. It likes moist well-drained soil.

Maintenance: Easy. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during the growing season.

Propagation: Propagated by seed.

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