Acoelorrhaphe wrightii
Common Name: paurotis palm 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Caribbean, Central America, Florida, Mexico, Colombia
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Creamy yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Best grown in evenly moist to wet, slightly acidic soils with plenty organic matter in full sun. Tolerant of occasional inundation with brackish water, some drought once established, and a range of soil types including clay and sandy soils. Intolerant of alkaline soils. Fertilize regularly with palm specific fertilizer to prevent nutrient deficiencies (see Problems below). Hardy in Zones 9 and above.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, commonly called paurotis palm or Everglades palm, is a small to medium sized, slow-growing, clustering palm native to swamps, seasonally flooded woodlands, and other low, wet areas in southern Florida, the Carribean, and parts of Central America. Mature clumps can reach 15-20' tall (rarely to 30') and will spread by suckering stems to form informal clusters up to 10-15' wide. The slender trunks are upright to slightly curved away from the center of the clump, are covered in remnants of old leaf stalks, and can reach up to 6" wide. The blades of fan shaped leaves can reach up to 2' wide. The leaf stalks can reach up to 3' long and are armed with a row of small but sharp thorns along each side. 3' long, upright panicles of creamy yellow flowers bloom in spring from the crown of the palm and are followed by 0.25" round fruits that mature in summer from green to orange to black.

The genus name Acoelorrhaphe means "without a hollow raphe", in reference to specific characteristics of the raphe (ridge along the outside of the seed) of this genus.

The specific epithet wrightii honors Charles Wright (1811-1885), an American botanist who collected extensively around the world.


Very sensitive to soil pH. Slightly acidic soils are best, with alkaline soils possibly leading to manganese deficiency. This palm is also sensitive to deficiencies in iron and potassium, though these nutrient levels not tied to the soil pH. Susceptible to ganoderma butt rot. The leaf stalks are armed with small thorns, so care should be taken when pruning.


Mature clumps can make good lawn accents and can also be used as a screen.