This palm is in the subfamily of the coconut and its seeds
have three “eyes” (openings for embryos to emerge) like a coconut. It is native
to southern South America and is cold hardy
enough to grow into southern Georgia.
The trunk will grow to fifteen feet or more in height. Its leaves range from
gray-green to blue-gray in color. The orange fruits are fibrous but sweet and edible.
The fruits are used to make jelly in the southern United States. The seed kernel
yields an edible oil.
Light: full sun
Water: drought tolerant when established
Soil: well-drained soil, otherwise no special requirements
This is an easy palm to grow in north Florida. It is reliably cold hardy and
tolerant of dry conditions. Old specimens can be found throughout north Florida and southern Georgia.
Several species of Butia have been
cultivated in Florida.
Local variation suggests that hybridization has occurred.