It is endemic to the island of Hispaniola(both Haiti and Santo Domingo) where it grows in colonies in open situations, often in dry, rocky areas. Plants have a sparse, open crown and the leaves are deeply divided into rigid segments which are dull green above and silvery beneath.
The leaflets have transverse veinlets. The trunks may reach 10 meter tall and have a covering of leaf-sheath fibres which appear as if woven. White flowers are followed by brownish to black seeds about 9 mm across.
If somewhat sparse, palm which has proved to be quite adaptable and will grow in temperate as well as tropical regions. Plants need well-drained soil in a sunny position.