Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 182 Hyophorbe verschaffeltii

Common Names: spindle palm Family: Arecacea (palm Family)

spindle palm
A trio of spindle palms looks out over Florida's Sarasota Bay.


Hyophorbe verschaffeltii or spindle palm is a great novelty palm for any landscape. Growing to about 20 ft (6.1 m), this palm slowly forms a gray trunk which becomes swollen in its center and narrows at both ends to form a "spindle" shape. It has a bright green, waxy crownshaft which is also swollen at the base creating a very interesting profile. The crown consists of 6-10 pinnate leaves which arch outward forming a 'V' shape. The leaves are 9-10 ft (2.7-3.1 m) long and have 100 to 150 leaflets that are bright green above and gray below. The inflorescence arises from the base of the crownshaft in an upwardly curved spathe that resembles a horn. The fragrant flowers emerge ivory to orange in color. There are separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence. The fruits are 3/4 in (1.9 cm) long and orange to red in color.


Spindle palm, Hyophorbe verschaffeltii, is native to the Mascarene Islands, specifically Rodriguez Island, where it is unfortunately threatened with extinction.


Spindle palm has a slight susceptibility to lethal yellowing disease. Potassium and magnesium deficiencies are possible - supplement as necessary. Light: Full sun. Moisture: Grow spindle palm in a moist area. Irrigation will be needed during dry spells. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11. Spindle palm can tolerate cool temperatures in subtropical areas for short periods. Propagation: By seed which germinates in 3-6 months.


Spindle palm is a uniquely beautiful palm that can be used as a specimen or accent tree in the home or commercial landscape. Warm, seaside locations are preferred for optimum growth. The swollen trunk, combined with the light green, almost pastel colored waxy crown shaft and arching fronds adds visual interest and excitement to the landscape.


Hyophorbe verschaffeltii is distinguished from its relative, the bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) by its foliage, which is shorter and more compact and by the shape of the trunk. Bottle palm always has a pronounced bulging base whereas the spindle's trunk is more slender, bulging slightly in the center.

Jeff Bielski 11/10/00; updated 3/8/04

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Hyophorbe species profiled on Floridata:

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

( bottle palm )

Hyophorbe verschaffeltii

( spindle palm )

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