Roystonea princeps

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Figure 1. R. princeps


Common Names:

Swamp Cabbage,
Morass Royal,
Royal Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

Restricted to western parishes of Jamaica, in small colonies or as scattered individuals, in morass and in poorly drained lowlands, from sea level to 150 metres.


A tall, solitary palm to 15 metres (50 feet) or more tall, with a smooth grey trunk irregularly enlarged below, more slender above, and banded with leaf-scars. Leaves are pinnate 4-6 metres (12-18 feet) long, with slightly plumose leaflets, and a green crownshaft about 1.5 metres (4.5 feet) long. Fruit usually one seeded, drupe-like, pear-shaped, with the neck curved to one side, about 15 mm (2/3 inch) long, greenish-yellow to purple, with a small seed.

It is very similar in appearance to R. altissima, and very difficult to distinguish between the two. The easiest method in the field is locality, R. princeps is a bog and swamp species, while R. altissima is found in uplands and premontane elevations.


Likes a sunny, moist position.

Figure 2. R. princeps

Contributed by:

Kyle Wicomb (Figure 1&2)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, IUCN, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk