Botanical Name: Butia capitata
Common Name: Pindo Palm, Jelly Palm, South American Jelly Palm, Wine Palm, Cocos capitata
Description: This is one of my favorite palms because I love how the evergreen fronds curl under instead of just flying up in the air. Pindo Palm is a medium size palm tree, that slowly grows 6-12″ per year to 15-20′ tall with a spread of 10-15′. It’s well known for its tropical appearance and tolerance to cold temps as low as 14 degrees. This palm grows upward fronds that turn towards the ground and range in color from light green to bluish gray. Once established, it is drought tolerant. Because it does grow slow, they do fine for a few years in large containers. They aren’t fussy about soil type as long as its well drained. Full sun to part shade. In the late spring, a pink flower emerges from amongst the palm leaves. In the summer, the tree fruits and is laden with yellow/orange fruit that’s about the size of a cherry. Descriptions of the flavor of the fruit vary, but generally speaking, it appears to be both sweet and tart. The fruit is sometimes described as slightly fibrous with a large seed that tastes like a combination between a pineapple and an apricot. When ripe, the fruit drops to the ground. So not only is the Pindo palm pretty, but it is also edible. And the flowers and fruit attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. That’s a win/win for our gardens.
This plant in a 7-gallon container is 3-4′ tall x 2-3′ wide not counting the container.
Fun Fact: The stalk of the Pindo palm provides fruits during the summer that can be used to make jelly due to the fact that the edible fruit has lots of pectin in it. This is where it gets its nickname, the jelly palm! They are also called wine palms in some regions, those that make a cloudy but heady wine from the fruit. The discarded seeds are 45% oil and in some countries are used to make margarine. The core of the tree is also edible, but utilizing it will kill the tree.
Hardiness Zones 7 -11