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Products > Butia capitata
Butia capitata - Jelly or Pindo Palm

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Butia capitata
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Palm
Family: Arecaceae (Palmae) (Palms)
Origin: Brazil (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [B. odorata, Cocos odorata, C. australis, Hort.]
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Butia capitata (Jelly Palm) - This feather palm forms a thick solitary trunk that grows to 1 1/2 feet in diameter and reaches 20 feet tall, usually with persistent leaf bases decorating the entire trunk. It has 5 to 10 foot long arching gray-green leaves that recurve almost back to the trunk. The leaf petioles are armed with teeth on the margins and there are 25 to 60 pairs of pointed bilobed narrow leaflets. The pink-tinged cream flowers emerge from a 2 to 3 foot long woody spathe in late spring to early summer and are followed by cherry-sized edible orange-yellow fruits that ripen in mid to late summer. Plant in sun or light shade with moderate watering. It is hardy to about 12 degrees F possibly the hardiest of the feather palms. This is a highly ornamental palm that is used in California as well as in Southeastern states and Texas and can be grown as far north as Seattle on the west coast and Virginia on the east. Its fruit is tasty fresh and often described as both sweet and tart and it makes a great jelly these fruit are sometimes called pindo dates and the plant is also sometimes called the Pindo Palm for a location in Brazil. These fruit can be fermented and the plant is also called Wine Palm though not to be confused with the Chilean Wine Palm, Jubaea chilensis. This plant is from the coastal plains of Uruguay and along the Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. The name for the genus is a corruption of the Brazilian name used to describe one of the species in the genus and the specific epithet is from the Latin 'capit' meaning "head" with the connecting suffix 'ata' or 'atus' meaning "likeness of" in reference to the dense heads of growth on this palm. Palm Biologist Larry Noblick of the Montgomery Botanical Center has made a compelling case that the plant in the nursery trade under the name Butia capitata is really Butia odorata (syn. Cocos odorata) and that true Butia capitata is rare plant from central Brazil that is much smaller. See the article about this titled "Validation of the Name Butia odorata" in journal Palms - Vol. 55(1) 2011. We continue to use the name Butia capitata while we await confirmation and general usage of the name Butia odorata.  Information displayed on this page about  Butia capitata is based on the research conducted about it in our library and from reliable online resources. We also note those observations we have made of this plant as it grows in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how crops have performed in our nursery field. We will incorporate comments we receive from others, and welcome to hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.