Bottle Palm

A rare and endangered species stands proudly amongst the other foliage.

The Bottle Palm is one of the most threatened species of palm in the world, native only to the small and secluded Round Island, and incredibly difficult to grow elsewhere. The Eden Project contains two of these rare species, which are nigh on impossible to grow without the use of climate control in this country. The palms are several feet tall, with a few palm fronds (about 4 -6) and a set of flowers that will sprout from under the crown. The most recognisable feature of this plant is the strange warping on the bottom of the trunk, which is similar to a bottle and has given rise to the rumour that it stores water in this part of its trunk. These rumours are nothing more than folktales, and there is no need to chop them down to get at their water.

The Bottle plant is immensely endangered due to the fact that prior to being exported to America it only grew on Round Island, which lies just off the coast of Mauritius. Its detachment from any mainland for so long, along with the fact that even a slight frost is capable of killing it, means that at the present time the only place it can grow without any aid are in the tropics, where it has been planted to prevent it from dying out. The Bottle Palms still living on Round Island are under threat from forest destruction, but these specimens assure its survival for the future.

It’s one of the most endangered species of palms in the wild, and I am always in favour of the preservation of any species for future generations. It is heartening to see that measures have been taken to prevent its extinction.

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