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Publication #ENH335

Coccothrinax argentata: Silverpalm1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2

Introduction

This slow-growing, small, native Florida palm can reach 20 feet in height but is usually seen at 6 to 10 feet with a spread of 6 feet. The slender silverpalm has distinctive dark blue-green, drooping, delicate, deeply divided palmate leaves which have a beautiful silver color beneath, providing a bright glint in the landscape when the leaves sway in the wind. The 6-inch-wide trunk is either smooth and grey or is sometimes covered with woven, burlap-like fiber. The small, white flowers are borne in profusion on 2-foot-long stalks, hidden among the leaves during the summer. The small, round, purple fruits ripen in late summer and fall.

Figure 1. 

Young Coccothrinax argentata: Silverpalm


Credit:

Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Coccothrinax argentata
Pronunciation: koe-koe-THRY-nacks ar-jen-TAY-tuh
Common name(s): Silverpalm, thatchpalm
Family: Arecaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Origin: native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: deck or patio; specimen; container or planter; highway median
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 

Range


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 6 to 15 feet
Spread: 6 to 7 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: palm, upright/erect
Crown density: open
Growth rate: slow
Texture: coarse

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: spiral (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: star-shaped
Leaf venation: palmate
Leaf type and persistence: broadleaf evergreen, evergreen
Leaf blade length: 18 to 36 inches
Leaf color: green, blue or blue-green, silver
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. 

Foliage


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Flower

Flower color: white/cream/gray
Flower characteristics: not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: purple
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: not applicable
Current year twig thickness:
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade, shade tolerant
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: high

Other

Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

This palm is most suited for residential and commercial landscapes were the unusual blue foliage can be appreciated. It makes a nice accent in a shrub border, and can be massed together to create a dramatic colorful impact. Place it in a low-growing groundcover to provide an exclamation point in the landscape.

Growing in full sun or partial shade, silverpalm will tolerate any well-drained soil. The palm will grow straight up and provide a beautiful blue accent, even in areas receiving only two or three hours of sun. It is highly salt-tolerant and is especially useful for coastal locations and for soils with a high pH.

Propagation is by seed.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH335, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Reviewed May 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.