~ Butia capitata ~
Pindo or Jelly Palm


Height: 25'   Growth rate: Slow   Climate zones: 8-17 to 10°   Origin: Brazil


Pindo Palm Trees

Butia capitata is probably the most underappreciated common palm in the California nursery trade. Native to Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, the Pindo Palm is a slow growing, pinnate palm with genetically variable foliage color ranging from light lime green to a brilliant silver. B. Capitata is very cold hardy sustaining little or no damage at 10 degrees fahrenheit, and thus it is recommended throughout California, and especially the harsher, inland climate zones of 8, 9, and 14 where other more tender palms are borderline. This palm will also grow well in the warmer coastal microclimates of the Pacific Northwest. Its first common name "Pindo Palm" comes from the fact that its fronds have a graceful pendulous curve, unlike any of the other common palms. In its native South America the palm is commonly known as the "Jelly Palm" as jelly (as can be occassionally purchased at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek) is made from the delicious yellow to orange colored fruit tasting like a cross between an apricot and a pineapple which adorns the palm in late summer. Think twice before telling your children about the fruit since it may become very difficult to ever get them out of the tree again as attested by my 6 year old son (photo at upper left). Because of its toughness, and ability to produce tasty fruit, it is a good candidate for "permaculture" gardens. For many years, the Pindo Palm is a large fountain like foliage mass as wide as it is high before it eventually forms a trunk and canopy which can be walked under. So therefore, the palm should be allowed enough space (10' x 10') to spread out and show off its beautiful foliage. It can be used singly as a dramatic focal point or in mass as a breathtaking foliage contrast plant. This palm is very dramatic as a lighted specimen either front lit, back lit, or shadow silhouetted against a lit wall.

Click any photo to view an enlarged, printable cutsheet


Palm Society