Borassus flabellifer
Common Name: wine palm 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Old World Tropics
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 18.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where this palm is easily grown in consistently moist well-drained soils in full sun. Appreciates some light shade in hot sun locations. Drought tolerant once established. Larger plants are difficult to transplant because of deep roots.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Borassus flabellifer, commonly called palmyra palm, toddy palm or lontar palm, is a large fan palm that typically matures to 60’ tall and to 25’ wide featuring a straight solitary gray trunk (to 3’ in diameter) ringed with leaf scars and a globose crown of rigid palmate leaves (each to 8-10’ long) with spiny stalks. This palm is native to India, Sri Lanka and Malaya. Near white flowers appear in pendant clusters from the leaf axils in late spring to early summer. Male and female flowers are borne on different trees (dioecious). Male flowers are small (less than 1/2”). Female flowers are larger (to 1”) and give way to subglobose fleshy brown fruits (to 6-8” wide). It is impossible to determine the sex of a tree until flowering occurs.

Genus name comes from the Greek word borassos meaning the immature spadix of date palm.

Specific epithet from the Latin word flabellatus meaning like an open fan.

Tree sap, called toddy, is tapped for use as a beverage, hence the common name of toddy palm.

Leaves were formerly used as paper (lontar) in Indonesia, hence the common name of lontar palm.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slightly prone to lethal yellowing.

Garden Uses

Ornamental tree for the landscape. Good addition to parks.