Arecaceae

Plant Profile

Hemithrinax ekmaniana

(heh-mee-TRIH-nahks) (ehk-MAHN-ee-ahn-ah)

Jumagua Palm

Subfamily Coryphoideae

Tribe Cryosophileae

“Hemithrinax ekmaniana, Jumagua Palm: Probably one of the rarest palms on the planet, this absolutely unique little treasure survives only on three small mogotes, (heavily eroded karst limestone hills) in northern Cuba, where a small number of individuals cling to the steep cliffs, battered by high winds, and rooting in the porous rock with almost no humus.” – Palmpedia

“This slow-growing, small, native Florida palm can reach 20 feet in height but is usually seen at 6 to 10 feet with a spread of 6 feet. The slender silverpalm has distinctive dark blue-green, drooping, delicate, deeply divided palmate leaves which have a beautiful silver color beneath, providing a bright glint in the landscape when the leaves sway in the wind. The 6-inch-wide trunk is either smooth and grey or is sometimes covered with woven, burlap-like fiber. The small, white flowers are borne in profusion on 2-foot-long stalks, hidden among the leaves during the summer. The small, round, purple fruits ripen in late summer and fall.” – IFAS

“The Cuban endemic Hemithrinax ekmaniana is easily one of the most unusual, recognizable and yet little-known palms in the world. Here we update its description, provide information about its history, habitat and phenology and discuss threats to its survival.” – IPS

“The native range of this species is Central Cuba (Las Villas). It is a shrub or tree and grows primarily in the wet tropical biome.” – Kew

Origin Map from Kew Royal Botanic Gardens