Trithrinax acanthocoma

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Figure 1. T. acanthocoma



T. brasiliensis. It should be noted that officially this plant has been lumped with Trithrinax brasiliensis. However significant botanical differences make the validity of this lumping questionable, and for this reason we containue to highlight the differences.

Common Names:

Saho Palm,
Spiny Fibre Palm,
Brazilian Needle Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

Mountainous areas of South Brazil in open forest at between 700m and 1000m altitude in central and northern Rio Grande do Sul, and throughout Santa Caterina and Parana, with one wild population documented in Paraguay.


A highly attractive, medium sized, solitary palmate palm, with an unusual woven fibre wrapping the trunk, which includes the old spines. Trees in areas subject to fire and grazing tend to have bare trunks. Leaves are green with contrasting glaucous waxy backs, split around half way, the leaf tips being split into something resembling a snakes tongue with two shallow forks each tipped with a small spine. It grows large bunches of white/pale green oval fruits about 1.5cm long, the seeds being notably smaller and smoother than Trithrinax brasiliensis.

Figure 2. T. acanthocoma


Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Drought and frost tolerant. Slightly alkaline soil. Much faster growing than Trithrinax brasiliensis, the seedlings developing palmate leaves within 2 years. Suitable for sub-tropical all the way thru to temperate gardens, the trees illustrated here growing in habitat have experienced temperatures as low as -10°C during their lifetimes.

Figure 3. T. acanthocoma leaf detail.
Figure 4. T. acanthocoma in habitat.

Contributed by:

Nigel Kembrey,
Hardypalms (Text & Figure 1,2,3&4)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk