Wild Florida Photo - Rhapidophyllum hystrix

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Rhapidophyllum hystrix

NEEDLE PALM

Florida native

 

Needle palm is an occasional short palm of wet and mesic hammocks from north Florida down the peninsula as far as Highlands County. The range includes the southeastern coastal states from Mississippi into South Carolina.
Needle palms have a smooth petiole and palmate leaves. The trunk is typically less than 0.5m (20 in.) tall but can reach 1.5m (59 in.) tall. The leaf base fibers form a tangled mass on the trunk. The common name comes from the erect needle-like spines 20-30cm (8-12 in.) long that protrude from this fibrous mass on the trunk. The leaves are dark green on top with a scaly-pubescent underside appearing silvery. The leaf has 14 to 24 segments 2-5cm (3/4-2 in.) wide and 5-8dm (~20-32 in.) long. Small flowers appear in the spring and summer in clusters along the spines. The fruit is a spherical drupe about 2cm (~3/4 in.) in diameter, red to brownish and covered with long tawny hairs.
Needle palm is a host plant for the delelomine flower weevil.

 
Rhapidophyllum hystrix is a member of the Arecaceae - Palm family.