Acoelorrhaphe H.Wendl.
  • Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 37: 148 (1879) 

Notes: Distribution: S. Florida, Caribbean, Mexico to Colombia

General Description

Moderate, armed, clustered, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic palm. Stem slender, erect, clothed with persistent leaf sheaths and petiole bases, older stems naked below, internodes very short. Leaves rather small, induplicate, very briefly costapalmate; sheath disintegrating into an interwoven mass of coarse, rich brown fibres; petiole moderate, slightly channelled or flattened adaxially, rounded abaxially, fiercely armed with robust, triangular, reflexed or inflexed spines, adaxial hastula conspicuous, irregularly lobed, abaxial hastula a low ridge; blade nearly orbicular, relatively flat regularly divided to below the middle into narrow, single-fold, deeply bifid, stiff segments, usually silvery abaxially due to small scales, midribs prominent abaxially, transverse veinlets conspicuous. Inflorescences slender, solitary, interfoliar, exceeding the leaves, branched to 4 orders; peduncle slender, elongate, elliptical in cross-section, usually erect; prophyll short, partly to completely enclosed by the leaf sheaths, tubular, 2-keeled laterally, splitting apically into short, irregular lobes; peduncular bracts 2, like the prophyll but much longer and more shallowly keeled; rachis about as long as the peduncle, ± glabrous, completely sheathed by tubular bracts, other branches densely tomentose; rachis bracts like the peduncular bract but smaller and decreasing in size distally; first-order branches bearing a 2-keeled membranous prophyll ± included within the primary bract; subsequent bracts very inconspicuous, triangular, membranous; rachillae slender, bearing spirally arranged, minute bracts each subtending a low spur bearing a cluster (cincinnus) of (1)–2–3 flowers, each flower subtended by a small thin bract. Flowers cream-coloured; sepals 3, fleshy and slightly connate basally; petals 3, united in a basal tube for 1/4 their length; stamens 6, borne at the mouth of corolla tube, filaments connate in a shallow cup at the base, free portions abruptly narrowed to a filiform apex, not inflexed in bud; anthers dorsifixed, short, rounded, versatile at anthesis, latrorse; gynoecium of 3 glabrous, follicular carpels, connate in stylar regions, ovule basal, erect, anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, with slight to obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, perforate, micro-channelled, and slightly rugulate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate, longest axis 29–33 µm [1/1]. Fruit small, rounded, developing from 1 carpel, black, stigmatic scar apical, abortive carpels basal; epicarp smooth, mesocarp thinly fleshy with prominent longitudinal fibres, endocarp thin, crustaceous. Seed with basal hilum, endosperm homogeneous penetrated by a thin intrusion of the seed coat at one side; embryo lateral near base on the antirapheal side. Germination remote-ligular (Chavez 2003); eophyll simple, narrow, lanceolate. Cytology: 2n = 36.

Diagnostic Description

Clustering shrubby hermaphroditic fan palm occurring in swampy coastal areas of the northern Caribbean, distinctive in its long erect or pendulous inflorescences bearing numerous very small blue-black fruit.


Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), roots (Seubert 1997),floral (Morrow 1965).


Forming clumps in brackish swamps.


One species in southern Florida,the West Indies, and parts of the Caribbean coast of CentralAmerica.


Widely grown as anornamental.

Common Names

Paurotis palm, saw cabbagepalm, silver saw palm, everglades palm.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Gulf
  • Mexico Southeast
  • Southeastern U.S.A. Florida
  • Southern America Caribbean Bahamas
  • Cuba
  • Southwest Caribbean
  • Central America Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Western South America Colombia


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 3 Gonzalez, F., Nelson Diaz, J. & Lowry, P. (1995). Flora Illustrada de San Andrés y Providencia: 1-281. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Colombia.
  • 4 Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • B Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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