Hyophorbe verschaffeltii (the palmiste marron or spindle palm) is a critically endangered species of flowering plant in the Arecaceae family. It is endemic to Rodrigues island, Mauritius, but is widely grown in cultivation.
The spindle palm is 6 metres (20 ft) tall, and have lightly recurved pinnate leaves. They are elegant looking and are prized for landscape in the tropical and semi-tropical areas of the world. They are fairly short with 8-10 leaves that are held somewhat erect. Spindle palms have a crownshaft that becomes a light gray-green as the palm ages. Horn-like flower spikes emerge from below the crownshaft on mature specimens. It was named after Ambroise Verschaffelt, (1825-1886).
Spindle palms are endemic to Rodrigues island, Mauritius. It is threatened by habitat loss. There are only fifty or so specimens left in the wild, although its survival as a species is guaranteed due to ubiquitous cultivation in tropical areas of the planet.
Spindle palms are fairly cold intolerant. They are defoliated at 32°F (0°C) and may be killed at anything below that. If the palm does survive a freeze, the next few emerging leaves are stunted. Spindle palms grow in the USA only in south Florida and in isolated favored microclimates in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area and the Cape Canaveral area of central Florida. They do make good container plants that can be protected from a freeze.
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