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Areca Palm



Areca palm is endemic to eastern Madagascar, where it is endangered due to the loss of its natural habitat in open areas of hydric forests and along riverbanks. In Florida and throughout the United States, areca palm is a common landscape plant that survives best where the average annual low temperature ranges from 35 to 40°F. This palm typically grows to between 20 to 35 feet tall and has a crown spread of 10 to 20 feet. It can tolerate full sun to partial shade and grows best in well-drained soils where it has access to plenty of water. The yellowish-green to dark green leaves or fronds are pinnately compound, grow between 6 to 8 feet in length, and are ovoid in shape. Leaflets are 2 feet long, lance shaped, and create a distinct “V” shape on the leaf because they grow in opposite directions from one another along the center of the orange to light green rachis. The trunk of this palm is multi-stemmed, and each stem is 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Tightly packed rings or leaf scars extend the length of the trunk, and they range in color from orange and yellow to dark green, with lighter colors resulting from greater sun exposure. Branching, yellow flower stalks emerge from below the leaves and droop downward. Each fruit is approximately 1 inch long and shaped like an egg, and the fruit turns from yellow to dark purple or black as it matures.


The history behind the genus name Dypsis is unknown. The species name lutescens is the Latin term for "growing yellow," and it alludes to this palm's yellow petioles or stems.

Common Names

Years of widespread cultivation have earned this palm numerous common names. While areca means "tender palm," it is unclear to what this name refers. Most of its other common names likely came from physiological characteristics, such as the yellow color of its plant parts, which results from high sun exposure or nutrient deficiencies, and the cane- or bamboo-like appearance of its stems.

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