Roystonea regia (Cuban Royal Palm, Florida Royal Palm, Royal Palm)
It is considered one of the most captivating palm in the world.
Its large stature makes it a notable feature of the landscape.
Roystonea regia is the national tree of Cuba.
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
- Botanical Name: Roystonea regia (syn.: Roystonea floridana, Roystonea elata, Oreodoxa regia).
- Common Names:
Cuban Royal Palm, Florida Royal Palm, Royal Palm.
- Family name: Arecaceae.
- Etymology: The genus Roystonea was named in honour of General Roy Stone (1836-1905), an American army engineer.
The species epithet regia means royal in reference to the palm’s majestic and stately appearance.
Native to South Florida, Mexico and parts of Central America and the Caribbean.
It is widely cultivated elsewhere around the globe.
- Plant type: An ornamental and perennial palm.
- Features: Roystonea regia is from the genus Roystonea that consists of 11 species of monoecious palms.
A fast-growing palm that reaches between 15-30 metres in height and a crown width of 5 m.
The 47 cm diameter trunk is stout, very smooth and grey-white in colour.
It has a characteristic bulge below a distinctive crownshaft.
The trunk has many short air roots attached at the base.
Glossy green crownshaft is about 2 m long and topped by a crown of about 15 leaf fronds.
The pinnately-compound leaves, up to 3 m long are plumose and somewhat tangled in appearance.
The fronds are held on short petioles.
Their small and cream-coloured flowers are unisexual.
These are clustered in threes with female flower in between two much larger male flowers.
They are borne on large and much-branched panicles, up to 1 m across below the crownshaft, emerging from horn-shaped bracts.
Eventually the flowers will be followed by fruits that are spheroid to ellipsoid in shape, 8.9-15 mm long and 7-10.9 mm wide.
The fleshy fruits will commence to mature from green to brownish-red or dark purple.
Each fruit contains a single light brown seed embedded in brown fibrous flesh.
The fruits are readily consumed by birds and thus widely dispersed.
- Culture (Care): Roystonea regia or Royal Palm can be grown easily with least maintenance.
Light: Grows best in full sun. It does well in semi-shade too.
Medium water requirement. It is quite drought-tolerant once established though it prefers moist to wet conditions for optimal growth.
Soil: Humus-enriched, loamy, slightly acidic and well-drained soils. However, it is adaptable to a wide range of soil types.
Others: This beauty requires no pruning at all as dead leaves are self-cleaning and fall off by themselves at the rate of about one leaf per month.
Once every quarter, feed the palm with a slow-release granular fertiliser formulated for palms that has nitrogen, phosphorous, manganese and potassium. Generally, it is free from serious diseases and pests. However, it is susceptible to being attacked by rhinoceros beetles and trunk rotting fungal diseases caused by Ganodema butt rot and Thielaviopsis trunk rot.
For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b-11.
Roystonea regia or Florida Royal Palm is a large and majestic palm that has been planted throughout the tropics and subtropics as an ornamental tree. When well established, it can survive in temperatures down to -5°C.
- Propagation: Easily propagated from seeds that germinate in about 5-8 months after planting. Wear rubber gloves when handling fruits as the pulp contains calcium oxalate crystals that are highly irritating to exposed skin.
Roystonea regia or Florida Royal Palm is excellent ornamental palm for landscaping streets, parks and commercial properties.
Ideal too when planted along median strips and it makes a fine accent or specimen plant in a garden. Fruits are used as feed for livestock. Trunks are used as timber for construction of simple houses and wood used to make handicrafts. Leaves are used for thatching. The roots are used as a diuretic and as a treatment for diabetes, the nervous system, mental health and as an aid to treat the digestive system. A magnet to attract birds and bats eat its fruits and disperse the seeds.
Other external links: