This majestic palm is the national tree of Cuba where it is still abundant, growing on fertile soils to about 1000 meters altitude.
The bulging, concrete-white trunks are a useful guide to its identity. The bulge is usually present in the middle but may occur anywhere along its length. Its plumose leaves carried in a graceful, rounded crown and the oblong fruit, which are flattened or compressed on one side are also distinctive.
In its native country the trunks are cut for timber, the leaf-bases are used as a water-proof covering for bales of tobacco and the fruits (called ‘palmiche’) are used to feed pigs. Cuban Royal Palm is a familiar sight as it is very commonly planted throughout the tropics and to a lesser extent, the subtropics. It is frequetly planted in rows beside driveways, roads and avenues and makes a uniform and stately palm for this purpose.
A sunny position in well-drained soil is essential for success, although plants may grow rapidly in wet soils where the water is not stgnant. Plants respond vigorously to heavy applications of fertililzer rich in nitrogen.