Trithrinax acanthocoma

Brazilian needle palm
Broad, flat, shiny-green leaves & intricate basket-weave, needle-armed trunk. Showy white flowers and ivory egg-like fruits. Tolerates drought & seasonally wet soil.
Trithrinax acanthocomaTrithrinax acanthocomaTrithrinax acanthocoma
height 12–20ft
width 6–10ft
tolerates Cold, Drought, Heat, Pots, Neglect
Low – Moderate
Not all palms love water! This one is actually drought-tolerant and can live quite happily on little or no water in cooler climates once it’s established, though it’ll grow more slowly and may not look as lush. To keep your palm looking its best, be sure to water it consistently and deeply while it’s getting established, then after a few years give it a good deep soaking every couple of weeks. It will also be happy to have more water as long as it has adequate drainage.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Heavy Soil, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing Palm Fertilizer
origin S Brazil
8, 9, 11–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Among the most cold-hardy of tree palms. Tolerates shade, sun, and heat, too. Heat speeds its growth. Plants in the chilly NorCal fog belt are slow. Not at its best in constant or severe winds.
As with most palms, fertilize in March, June, and September.

Special Interest

Flowers and fruit are highly ornamental, as are the broad, stiff, flat leaves with grey-silver accents on the undersides.

Spines on the trunk, spines on every leaf tip: This palm’s fierceness makes it an effective deterrent when planted in numbers and in the right spot. Handle with care, and keep away from passageways and play areas.

More Info

Courageous gardeners in areas where winters regularly dip below the low 20s Fahrenheit should consider growing this beautiful palm.
Native to southern Brazil, where it grows in the company of Paraná pines (Araucaria angustifolia) and is exposed to well below-freezing temperatures.