The Palm Society--Northern California Chapter

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Jubaea chilensis

Jubaea chilensis

Common name: Chilean Wine Palm
Native to: Chile
Mature height: 80 feet
Mature spread: 16 feet
Growth Habit: solitary
Leaf type: pinnate
Jubaea chilensis

photo by: Dennis Valdez
Dale Motiska Garden


The height of this tree can reach up to 80 feet tall with a canopy spread of 16 feet in diameter and will survive at a minimum average temperature of 16F. However, it will take almost 100 years to reach maximum height. Moderate water requirements and loves light shade to full sun. The leaves are pinnate which are dull green above and grayish underneath, up to 12 feet long. The trunk is gray with leaf scars and can get up to five feet in diameter.

The fruit of the seed is sweet and edible. It is hollow, looks and taste like a coconut and even contains "coconut" milk. The mature trees produce delicious hard shelled coconuts up to 2 inches in diameter. The Chilean Wine Palm is very cold resistant, but doesn't care much for excessive heat and will suffer or die in climates like Arizona or Florida. The wine is made from the sap of the tree. The extraction of the sap kills the tree, and the Wine Palm is now a protected species in its native Chile due to the threat of deforestation. The Wine Palm is self pruning and drops their leaves naturally, so it is not necessary to trim them.

It is virtually impossible to find an adult specimen to plant in your landscape due to the rarity. Some nurseries may have a few small containers available but these will be expensive when compared to other palm trees of the same size. Seed is not too hard to obtain and is another option which will result in an eventual tree and will look good in any landscape at any size.

Seed germination is slow, usually taking between 6 to 16 months to germinate. The flower is a large cluster of very small purple flowers. Flowers are in groups of 2 male flowers for 1 female. Flower stalk emerge from among the leaves, 4 feet long.

Jubaea chilensis

photo by: Dick Douglas
Dick Douglas Garden
Walnut Creek
Jubaea chilensis

photo by: Hugh Danaher
Lakeside Palmetum
Jubaea chilensis

photo by: Dennis Valdez
Dale Motiska Garden
This species in the garden:
Growth rate: slow
Sunlight: full sun
Water: moderate
Cold Tolerance: 16 F
Seed or plant availability: limited

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© 2004 by the Palm Society, Northern California Chapter