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Key thatch palm, Brittle thatch palm, Silver thatch palm
Leucothrinax morrisii

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

General Landscape Uses: Accent or specimen tree in the Florida Keys. Buffer plantings.

Availability: Widely cultivated.

Description: Small tree or shrub-like with a straight, erect trunk. Leaves fan-shaped, pale green above, silvery beneath, about 2-3 feet in diameter.

Dimensions: Typically 8-15 feet in height; to 19 feet in South Florida. Becoming taller than broad when mature.

Growth Rate: Slow to moderate.

Range: Florida Keys; also collected once on an island south of Flamingo in Everglades National Park and recently discovered on Cape Sable in Everglades National Park; West Indies. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Pine rocklands and rockland hammocks.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone soils, with or without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate to low; it prefers soils with organic content, but will still grow reasonably well in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without significant injury.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to high; plants growing in extremely dry soils may die during extended periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: White turning yellow.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak in spring.

Fruit: Round white drupe.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for monk skipper (Asbolis capucinus) butterflies. Attracts pollinators.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from de-pulped seed. Place container in light shade or full sun.

References: Nelson 2003

Comments: It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Other data on Leucothrinax morrisii available from:

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