Hyophorbe lagenicaulis; Syn.: Mascarena lagenicaulis
Family: Belongs to the Arecaceae or Palm family, which includes Royal Palm (Roystonea oleracea) and Coconut (Cocus nucifera).
Description: Slow growing, dw arf palm, up to 5 m tall (16 ft), with characteristic, swollen, bottle-shaped trunk, up to 60 cm in diameter at base (2 ft); has small crown of 4-8, upwardly arching, pinnate leaves, up to about 3.5 m long (12 ft) in mature plants; leaflets up to about 60 cm long (2 ft); inflorescences with white flowers emerge at base of leaves, grow upwards then turn down with weight of maturing fruit; flowering occurs in 8th to 10th year of growth; fruit ovoid, up to 4 cm long (1.5 in), born in large clusters, turning black when ripe.
Natural Habitat: Well drained tropical soils, with medium rainfall and partial shade; propagated by seed with germination in 4-6 months; germination period can be shortened with embryo culture.
Origin and Distribution: Is native of Round Island, a small island in Indian Ocean in the Mascarene Island group, hence synonym, Mascarena lagenicaulis; said to be fewer than 15 specimens left in native habitat; but cultivated around tropical world for unique beauty.