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Butia capitata
Butia capitata
Butia capitata seeds
Butia capitata seeds

Jubaea x Butia

Pindo Palm Banner

 

BUTIA CAPITATA

THE PINDO PALM or

THE JELLY PALM


by Phil Bergman


Description of Article

This article is about the water conserving and "not too big" Butia capitata palm species.  This is a pinnate palm that rarely gets much over twenty feet tall.  This article describes the species, shows pictures of it, talks about the different leaf colors and about how to grow it.  Known as a xerophytic species, Butia capitata is also good for those trying to save water.

Introduction

This South American pinnate palm is rather rarely seen in gardens because of limited availability.  Yet, it has so many attributes it should be used more.  It never gets much above twenty feet tall, takes full hot sun (even in the desert) and is water conserving.  And, as a bonus the fruit is edible and sweet.  Many people make jelly from the fruit.  Below you'll learn that there are differences in leaf color from green to blue.  We've found that enthusiasts love the rare blue form as shown below.  Also of interest is that the genus Butia is a great palm to use for creating inter-generic hybrids.  Finally, the Jelly Palm has excellent cold tolerance and can be grown in traditionally cold areas where few palm species survive.


DESCRIPTION OF BUTIA CAPITATA

Common Names:  The Pindo Palm or The Jelly Palm
Type of Plant: 
This is a single trunk, pinnate palm (feather palm)
The Genus: 
Butia as a genus has multiple other species.  Most are full sun plants with green to gray-green leaves and have good cold tolerance.
Sun Tolerance:
 Butia capitata is a full sun species, even in the desert.  In fact, they languish and usually do poorly in the shade.
Mature Height:  In our locality The Pindo Palm reaches a mature height typically of about twenty feet.  And, it'll take about 20 years to reach this height.
Leaves:  The leaves a type of feather type leaf typically six to eight feet long. The leaves definitely have a curve to them, bending at their ends toward the ground.  This makes the crown of leaves more compact.  Most people would consider these leaves to be un-armed but close inspection shows rudimentary and blunted spines at the proximal ends.  But, because of their dullness, they are not intimidating at all.
Leaf Color:  There are two colors to the leaves.  There is the more common "green form" and the sought after "blue form". (see pictures below).  And, there are many plants with leaf colors somewhere in-between.
Trunk:  The trunk of Butia capitata is anywhere from fourteen to twenty inches thick.  The trunk will retain not unattractive leaf bases that eventually fall off.
Cold Tolerance:  This species is remarkably cold hardy and probably in the tops five most cold hardy types of palms.  Most agree that the Pindo Palm can take somewhere down to the 15 degree F. range.
Fruit:  The seeds of the Jelly Palm are covered with a supple yellow to gold colored fruit that is not only very fragrant but also edible.  It is used to make jelly or other foods.
Growth Rate:  Medium - Mature height takes at least 20 feet to develop. 
Native Habitat:  This species is native to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
Other Species of Butia As mentioned, there are about twenty other types of Butia that have been described.   Very few are offered for sale.  Recent research has expanded the number of species known.  Some that you may find available include Butia eriospatha, archeri, paraguayensis, bonetti, ordorata and yatay.  Almost all of these can be easily grown in many areas.
Landscape Usages:
  This species should be given room as the width of the crown can easily be over ten feet or more wide.  Almost everyone grows them as a single specimen and not as a closely grown colony.  It would be wise to give ample "viewing room" with space around the palm for enjoying its appearance.
Butia Hybrids:   Interestingly, the genus of Butia has proven to be quite easy to hybridize (cross) with other genera.  Some of these inter-generic hybrids have proven to be very popular and good growing plants.  The Mule Palm is a cross with the common Queen Palm.  Crosses with Jubaea (either with the Jubaea or Butia being the seed bearer mother plant) have also proven to be very popular.  We usually have Mule Palms available and sometimes Jubaea crosses. 
 
 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF GARDEN PLANTS OF BUTIA CAPITATA,
HYBRIDS AND OTHER SPECIES OF BUTIA

Butia capitata Butia capitata Butia capitata
Butia capitata Butia capitata  Butia capitata
Butia yatay
Butia yatay
butia eriospatha
Butia eriospatha, juvenile, in garden
Butia eriospatha
Butia eriospatha, mature
Butia X Queen Mule Palm
Butia x Queen, Mule Palm, by MH
Butia x Syagrus, Mule Palm
Mule Palm, Butia x Syagrus
Syagrus x Butia
Syagrus X Butia (reverse cross, not Mule Palm)

 

THE BLUE BUTIA CAPITATA, MATURE

Blue Butia capitata paul craft
photo by Paul Craft
Blue Butia capitata Kew by Imtiaz McDoom Gaffoor
Photo by Imtiaz McDoom Gaffoor
 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF NURSERY BUTIA OR
BUTIA
HYBRID PLANTS FOR SALE OVER TIME

At our nursery in Encinitas, CA, we do offer Butia capitata, both green and blue forms.
Although selection varies over time, we also sell more rare species of Butia.

Regarding the Mule Palm, we almost always have some in stock.

Below are an assortment of photos of plants of this genus from our nursery.

Green form of Butia capitata

Butia capitata green
5g size 
Butia capitata green
15g size 
Butia capitata green 15g
15g size 

Blue form of Butia capitata 
   
Blue Butia capitata
15g size 
Blue Butia capitata
15g size 
Blue Butia capitata
25g size 

Mule Palm
Butia capitata x Queen Palm hybrid

25g shown below but we have
other sizes including some small
sizes.

 
   
Butia x syagrus 25g  Mule Palm 25g  Butia x syagrus 

Other Butia Hybrids
Jubaea chilensis x Butia capitata
jubaea chilensis x butia capitata jubaea chilensis x butia capitata

Other Butia species
And, other hybrids
(availability varies over time)
   
Butia bonnettii 15g
Butia bonetti 15g 
Butia eriospatha
Butia eriospatha 5g 
Jubaea x Butia
Jubaea x Butia capitata, large box 
Jubaea x Butia
Jubaea x Butia, 15g   
Butia x Jubaea
Butia x Jubaea, 15g  
Butia yatay 15g
Butia yatay, 15g 

PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL US FOR CURRENT AVAILABILITY OF ANY OF THESE SPECIES/HYBRIDS

 

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Phil Bergman 
Jungle Music Palms, Cycads and Tropical Plants  

Email:

phil.bergman@junglemusic.net

Website:

www.junglemusic.net

Nursery Location:

450 Ocean View Ave., Encinitas, CA  92024

Nursery Phone: 619 291 4605
Nursery Hours:

 Monday - Saturday, 9:00AM-4PM
 Sunday typically closed

Directions to Nursery: Freeway Close. Take Freeway 5 to Encinitas
(10 minutes south of Oceanside, 30 minutes north of San Diego). Exit Leucadia Blvd West (toward ocean).
Immediate left on Orpheus Ave, left on Union St,
Right on Ocean View Ave to Nursery
450 Ocean View Ave
Mailing Address:

3233 Brant Street, San Diego, CA 92103





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