~ Brahea edulis ~
The Guadalupe Island Palm


Height: 30'   Growth rate: Slow   Climate zones: 8-17 to 18°   Origin: Mexico


The Guadalupe Island Palm

I like to think of this palm as California's native coastal palm. Native to the small and arid Isla de Guadelupe, just 200 miles Southwest of San Diego, CA, the Guadelupe Island Palm is a medium sized, slow growing, self cleaning palmate palm with medium green, large fronds which are nearly spineless. It is a wonderfully scaled palm for today's smaller gardens reaching only 30 feet in 50 years. The seeds are edible (say the Indians of Guadelupe Is.), brown when mature, and beautifully arranged on a long arching stalk that gracefully hangs down through the fronds, reminiscent of oversized bunches of grapes. This palm is on the endangered species list within its native habitat zone because it has been heavily grazed by goat populations which were left behind by ancient seafarers in the hopes that when they returned to the island they would have a readily available source of meat and milk. Brahea edulis is hardy throughout lower elevation California, and like Butia, should be used as a large foliage plant that will not produce a walk under canopy for many years. The boxed trees in the below photograph were planted by yours truly in 1995 at the Oakland Zoo and can now be seen happily cohabiting with a band of Malaysian Sunbears.

Click any photo to view an enlarged, printable cutsheet


Palm Society