Acoelorrhaphe is a genus of palms comprising the single species Acoelorrhaphe wrightii. This species is also referred to as the Paurotis palm, the Everglades palm and the Madeira palm.
It is native to Central America, southeastern Mexico, the Caribbean, Colombia, the Bahamas, and is native to the United States in extreme southern Florida (in the Everglades), where it grows in swamps and periodically flooded forests. In the Everglades, this palm can be seen growing in great mounds that erupt from the edges of the small islands that dot this “river of grass”.
The beautiful leaves are palmate (fan-shaped): light-green above, and silver underneath. In the spring, these palms produce large inflorescences of creamy white flowers that extend well beyond the foliage.
The genus name “Acoelorrhaphe” is a combination of three Greek words meaning a- ‘without’, koilos ‘hollow’, and rhaphis ‘needle’, which refers to the type of fruit this tree bears. The species, like several other plant species, is named after the prominent American botanist Charles Wright.
This palm was formerly abundant in Florida, but many plants were taken for the nursery trade. The palm is now protected in the wild, by Florida law. Trees propagated from seed or by sawing apart the base of a cluster are available in nurseries.
The Merwin Palm Collection includes three of these palms, one a seedling, one a juvenile, and one a mature palm.
To learn more about the Merwin Palm Collection, click here.
To search the Online Merwin Palm Database, visit this link.
If you’re inspired to help to preserve and care for the Merwin Palm Collection into the future, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.