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The bottle palm, so-called because of its swollen lower trunk, is an intriguing and unusual ornamental palm. It is a myth that the swollen trunk is for water storage. A solitary palm, the trunk is up to 2 feet in diameter, smooth, gray in color with a light green crown shaft; it may achieve a height of 30 feet, but is slow-growing. The crown is very sparse made up of only 4-6 leaves open at a time; the dark green leaves have a characteristic twist to them and can reach 10 feet in length. Inflorescences emerge from below the crown and bear beautiful white-cream colored flowers of both sexes.
Furthermore, the fruits are oval, 1 1/2 inches long, green when immature but turn black when ripe, containing a single seed used for propagation. Seeds germinate in 6-8 months. The bottle palm is easy to grow, tolerating a range of soil types providing they are well-drained and well-watered. It has no serious insect or disease problems, but is frost-sensitive. It is a striking specimen tree on an open lawn or grouped with other plants; also suitable for container growth. In the wild this palm is endangered in its homeland in the Indian Ocean islands, although it is widely cultivated.