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Needle Palm

Rhapidophyllum hystrix


A small shrubby fan palm that grows to about 6 ft in height. It produces suckers creating an ever widening rounded clump. Over time the tightly packed stems will form an impenetrable thicket. The needle palm has deeply divided palmate fronds that are dark green above and silvery beneath. The tip of each leaflet is bluntly squared off and notched as if trimmed with a pinking shears. The stems are composed of old leaf bases, fiber and long slender spines. These "needles" are dark brown or black, very slender and sharp and grow from 4-10 inches. It is extremely cold hardy and fast growing.


Needle palm grows on shady wooded slopes and in moist bottomlands along streams.


Needle palm has been over-collected in the wild and has become somewhat rare throughout it's range. The state of Florida lists needle palm as endangered because it is "commercially exploited". Never transplant the needle palm from the wild because it is irresponsible and illegal.

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Karen Hileman
Spotted by
Karen Hileman

Ocala, Florida, USA

Spotted on Aug 11, 2012
Submitted on Aug 19, 2012

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