The Jelly palm (Butia capitata) is a low maintenance tree. It shapes a thick single trunk that grows to 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet, usually with persistent leaf bases decorating the entire trunk. It has 5 to 10 foot long arching gray-green leaves that recurve almost back to the trunk. The leaf petioles are armed with teeth on the margins and there are 25 to 60 pairs of pointed bilobed narrow leaflets. The small pink-tinged cream flowers emerge from a 2 to 3.8 mm long woody spathe in late spring to early summer and they produce Large, showy clusters of orange-yellow, juicy, edible fruits, the size of large dates, and often used to make jams or jellies. The fruit ripens in summer. If used the Jelly palm plant indoors it requires intense light and good air circulation. Fruits are used to make a very popular jelly hence it is called as jelly plam.
Scientific Name: Butia capitata
Common Name: Jelly palm
How to grow and maintain Jelly palm:
It grows best in full sun to partial shade.
It requires well-drained, slightly alkaline, acidic soil.
It can tolerate temperature cold down to 5-10F.
Water regularly during growing season. The roots and lower trunk can rot if the soil is kept too moist.
A liquid feed every 2 weeks during the summer growing season will benefit this plant.
They are propagated from seed, which germinates in six months or more. Germination is quicker after dry storage.
Jelly palm fruits are picked as they ripen. If the entire bunches are harvested, they tend to ripen all at once. The fruits can be eaten fresh and pureed or used to make an excellent jelly as well as wine. They can be stored for about a week under refrigeration.
Pests and Diseases:
The real pest problem is scale. Major disease problems are Ganoderma, stigma leaf spot, graphical false smut and Phytophthora bud rot.