Butia capitata (Mart.) Becc.

Wine Palm

Trunk to 5 m tall, woody, grey, covered with leaf bases. Leaves to 2.5 m long, strongly arching and often twisting, waxy bluish-grey, forming a rounded crown, the older leaves almost pendulous. Leaflets 44-80 per side, regularly arranged upwards to form a v-shaped frond, whitish to waxy blue below. Leaf stalks spiny, the forward-directed spines to several cms long. Flowers yellow to reddish. Panicle within the leaves, the bracts hairless, to over 1 m long. Fruit ovoid, 2-3 cm wide, more or less orange, somewhat flattened, fragrant, ripe in autumn and winter.

Brazil, Uruguay

Occurs naturally in savanna and open sparsely forested areas. The fruit flesh is edible but rather dry and fibrous. Grows well in temperate and subtropical regions and is sufficiently hardy for inland districts.

Woody trunk; crown of strongly arching bluish grey feathery leaves with narrow leaflets; panicle bracts glabrous; fruit yellow to red, with a fruity smell.

Commonly grown, even as far south as the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart.


B. eriospatha Becc. from Brazil has a trunk to 6 m tall, woody, grey to brown, often covered with woody leaf bases. Leaves strongly arching, forming a rounded crown, green or waxy blue. Leaflets generally divided into 2 at the tip. Leaf stalks spiny. Panicle bracts hairy. Fruits 2-2.5 cm wide, yellow to reddish. Occurs in savannah and sparse forest. Uncommonly grown in subtropical and warm temperate regions. Most clearly distinguished from the above by having hairy panicle bracts. Locally the fruits of B. eriospatha are soaked in alcohol and used as the base of a popular drink.There is a specimen at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

Source: Jones, D; Spencer, R. (2005). Arecaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Arecales
family       Arecaceae
genus        Butia (Becc.) Becc.