The Palm Society--Northern California Chapter

Northern California Chapter
Palm Society
Lakeside Palmetum
Species List
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More places to see palms
Seeds and such

Butia bonetti
Butia capitata
Butia capitata
Butia catarinensis
Butia eriospatha
Butia paraguayensis
Butia X Jubaea
Butia X Syagrus
Butia yatay

Butia X Jubaea

Common name: unknown
Native to: cultivar
Mature height:
Mature spread: 12 ft
Growth Habit: solitary
Leaf type: pinnate
Butia X Jubaea

photo by: Dennis Valdez
Dick Douglas Garden
Walnut Creek


The seed that the pictured tree came from were from Huntington Garden. The cross was done by a botanist by the name of Fred Boutin. The seeds arrived 1973. Of the 5 seeds received, only one germinated and that's the tree growing in the Dick Douglas garden.

When the plant was younger the tips of the fronds had hooks on the tips as do younger Jubaea. As it got older it lost this characteristic. When it started blooming, it became quite apparent that it was a hybrid. The flower spathes are covered with a rust colored tomentum wool like Jubaea, and the inside of the spathes are a bright pink for a few days after they open. The flowers are also maroon or pinkish.

This hybrid has produced large amounts of seeds over the past 10 years (now 2004) which are all viable and will germinate. Through experiments conducted by Patrick Shaffer, it has been determined that the pollen from the tree is sterile when crossed with itself. The pollen to set seeds on the tree most likely comes from some Butias not to far away. Patrick has also crossed the Butia X Jubaea with Syagrus, producing excellent results.

The tree was mostly undamaged in the 1989-90 freeze with the low in Walnut Creek during that freeze was 14 F. Even some Butias in the Dick Douglas garden were tip damaged in that freeze.

The hybrid is quite beautiful and has the characteristics of both parents that one might expect. It resembles a very large Butia, grey/green in color, but the trunk is larger than the normal Butia and has adhering leaf bases. The fronds on this hybrid have an interesting "twist" and do not hang on a level plane which gives the tree a graceful dimension.

Butia X Jubaea

photo by: Dan Sekella
Dick Douglas Garden
Walnut Creek
Butia X Jubaea

photo by: Dick Douglas
Dick Douglas Garden
Walnut Creek
This species in the garden:
Growth rate: slow
Sunlight: full sun
Water: moderate
Cold Tolerance: 15 F or less
Seed or plant availability: rare

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© 2004 by the Palm Society, Northern California Chapter