Rootspine palm


The genus Cryosophila has some ten species of rootspine palms native to Central America and northwest Colombia. It differs from other fan-leaf palms by the presence of many slender spines throughout the trunk, extending to the base. Flowers and fruits should be studied to distinguish the species, but our two palms apparently do not flower. The largest palm is about 8 feet tall, with a trunk 3 inches in diameter. The trunk has few spines because most have fallen or have been removed. The leaves measure up to 2.5 feet wide, are composed of about 40 segments, and are silvery underneath. The generic name means cold-loving, apparently in reference to the habitat of one species in Mexico.

The photographed palm and the adjacent specimen are behind the Lucchetti Building and are the only members of the genus in the campus.

Cryosophila sp. (Arecaceae)