Acanthophoenix rubra

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Acanthophoenix rubra
Acanthophoenix rubra 01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Acanthophoenix
Species: A. rubra
Binomial name
Acanthophoenix rubra

The Barbel palm (Acanthophoenix rubra) is a critically endangered palm endemic to Mauritius, Rodrigues, and La Reunion that is prized for its edible palm hearts.

Naming and description[edit]

Details of flowers

It is also known as the red- or yellow- Barbel palm, red palm, Mascarene Islands cabbage palm, and palmiste rouge, palmiste bourre, palmiste des bois, palmiste des hauts, palmiste épineux, palmiste zépines, palmiste piquant in French.[2]

This palm was first described as Areca rubra by French naturalist Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent in 1804 and classified by German botanist Hermann Wendland in its own genus Acanthophoenix in 1867. It can reach a height of 25 m. The trunk is slender, with a diameter of 18 cm. The crown contents of about 10 leaves approximately 3 m in size which are arranged convoluted.

In his 1995 checklist of seed plants, Rafaël Govaerts considered A. crinita to be a synonym of Acanthophoenix rubra, as did Govaerts and John Dransfield in their 2005 checklist of palms. However, in his revision of the genus, N. Ludwig recognised A. crinita as a separate species.[3]


The Barbel palm is endangered due to habitat destruction to make way for sugarcane plantations, and its high value as edible and medicinal plant. The palm heart is a delicacy. About 150 individuals occur in the wild on Mauritius. It is widely grown in cultivation.


  • Areca rubra Bory (1804).[2]
  • Acanthophoenix crinita (Bory) H.Wendl. (1867).[2]


  1. ^ Page, W. (1998). "Acanthophoenix rubra". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 1998: e.T38181A10098570. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.1998.RLTS.T38181A10098570.en. Retrieved 10 January 2018. Listed as Critically Endangered (CR B1+2c v2.3)
  2. ^ a b c Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
  3. ^ " Acanthophoenix crinita". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Retrieved 2008-09-08.

External links[edit]