Adonidia merrillii
Common Name: Manila palm 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Philippines, Coron, Palawan Island
Zone: 10 to 10
Height: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in most humid, tropical environments as long as moist, well-draining soils are provided. Intolerant of consistently saturated soils. Prefers full sun, but is adaptable to most light conditions and can be grown indoors if given plenty of bright light. Manila palms are self-prunning, meaning that the older, brown leaves will fall off on their own. Can be propagated from seed. Hardy in Zones 10b-11. Highly sensitive to frost and freezing temperatures.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Adonidia merrillii, commonly called Manila palm, Merrill palm, or Christmas palm, is a widely cultivated palm native to portions of the Philippines and Malaysia. The slender, grey trunks support stiff, arching, bright green leaves (4-5' long). Individuals can reach up to 25' tall and grow relatively quickly compared to other species of palm. Although these are solitary palms, they are often planted in the landscape in groupings of three to give a multi-stemmed appearance. In summer, large clusters of cream colored flowers appear at the base of the canopy followed by light green fruits around 1" in diameter. The fruits mature to bright red in winter.

The genus name Adonidia is a diminutive of the Latin Adonis, a lover of the goddess Venus.

The specific epithet merrillii honors Elmer Drew Merrill (1876-1956), an American botanist and taxonomist who extensively studied and collected the flora of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.

The common name Christmas palm refers to the time of year in the northern hemisphere when the fruits have typically ripened from green to red. The common name Manila palm refers to this plant's native range in the Philippines.


Generally an easy palm to grow. However, Manila palms are susceptible to an incurable bacterial disease called lethal yellowing. They can also suffer from boron deficiency. If growing in low-nutrient soils, use a palm-specific fertilizer to help prevent this and other nutrient deficiencies.


A stately specimen palm. Takes well to container culture.