Cuban Royal Palm

Scientific Name: Roystonea regia (Kunth) O.F.Cook

Synonyms: Oreodoxa regia Kunth., Palma elata W.Bartram

Unique ID: 203

Systematic Position

Class: Monocotyledonae                  

Series: Nudiflorae

Family: Arecaceae

Common Names

English – Cuban Royal Palm



Description: Roystonea regia is a large palm which reaches a height of 20–30 metres (66–98 ft) tall, (with heights up to 34.5 m (113 ft) reported) and a stem diameter of about 47 centimetres (19 in). (K. F. Connor reports a maximum stem diameter of 61 cm (24 in).) The trunk is stout, very smooth and grey-white in colour with a characteristic bulge below a distinctive green crownshaft. Trees have about 15 leaves which can be up to 4 m (13 ft) long. The flowers are white with pinkish anthers. The fruit are spheroid to ellipsoid in shape, 8.9–15 millimetres (0.35–0.59 in) long and 7–10.9 mm (0.28–0.43 in) wide. They are green when immature, turning red and eventually purplish-black as they mature.


Habitat: Cultivated

Distribution: Native to native to Mexico, parts of Central America and the Caribbean, and southern Florida.

Uses:  Ornamental palm, The seed is used as a source of oil and for livestock feed. Leaves are used for thatching and the wood for construction. The roots are used as a diuretic, and for that reason they are added to tifey, a Haitian drink, by Cubans of Haitian origin. They are also used as a treatment for diabetes. Fibres extracted from the leaf sheath of R. regia have been found to be comparable with sisal and banana fibres, but lower in density, making it a potentially useful source for the use in lightweight composite materials.