CPC Plant Profile: Florida Cherry Palm
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Plant Profile

Florida Cherry Palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii)

Pseudophoenix sargentii in Biscayne National Park. Photo Credit: K. Wendelberger
Description
  • Global Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Arecaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 158251
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

Pseudophoenix sargentii, also known as the Florida cherry palm, is a medium-sized palm usually found near the sea on sandy or limestone soils. The tree can grow up to 25 feet tall with yellow flowers that are spaced in loose clusters (Brown and Cooprider 2010). This palm is considered to be critically endangered with less than 50 specimens remaining on Elliot Key in Florida (Lippincott 1995). A more recent February 2015 survey on Elliot Key found only three wild adults and none showing current signs of reproduction (Magellan and Griffith 2017).

Participating Institutions
Updates
Katie Heineman
  • 02/26/2021
  • Demographic Research

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden recently created the following status update reporting the results of their long-term monitoring of Pseuophoenix sargentii on Elliott Key, Biscayne National Park. Read the report in its entirety below.

Pseudophoenix sargentii BNP 23Feb2021

  • 10/13/2020
  • Reintroduction

In 2007, Maschinski and Duquesnel studied reintroductions to ensure survival of the U.S. population of P. sargentii.

  • 10/13/2020
  • Seed Collection

In 2009, I found a very healthy population of Pseudophoenix sargentii with many reproductive adults in NE Belize, SW of Sareneja, in the Shipstern Nature Preserve. I collected 200 seed, 100 were donated to the Belize Botanical Garden, 25 to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 25 to Naples Botanical Garden, and 50 were sown by MBC.

  • 10/13/2020
  • Living Collection

Nursery plants from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden conducted reintroductions from 1991-1993 in 13 locations on Sands Island, Long Island, and Elliot Island found in the Florida Keys. 43% of palms planted were found to be alive in 2004, adding to the 221 wild individuals existing at the time.

  • 10/13/2020
  • Reintroduction

Nursery plants from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden conducted reintroductions from 1991-1993 in 13 locations on Sands Island, Long Island, and Elliot Island found in the Florida Keys. 43% of palms planted were found to be alive in 2004, adding to the 221 wild individuals existing at the time.

Larry Noblick
  • 01/13/2018

In 2009, I found a very healthy population of Pseudophoenix sargentii with many reproductive adults in NE Belize, SW of Sareneja, in the Shipstern Nature Preserve. I collected 200 seed, 100 were donated to the Belize Botanical Garden, 25 to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 25 to Naples Botanical Garden, and 50 were sown by MBC.

Clarice Mendoza
  • 12/22/2017

In 2007, Maschinski and Duquesnel studied reintroductions to ensure survival of the U.S. population of P. sargentii. Nursery plants from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden conducted reintroductions from 1991-1993 in 13 locations on Sands Island, Long Island, and Elliot Island found in the Florida Keys. 43% of palms planted were found to be alive in 2004, adding to the 221 wild individuals existing at the time.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endangered in Florida; little data available on abundance and distribution elsewhere throughout range in Mexico and the Caribbean.

  • 01/01/2010

26 plants and 1 seedling at 1 site on Mona Island (PR) very rare in Dominican Republic

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Nomenclature
Taxon Pseudophoenix sargentii
Authority H. Wendl. ex Sarg.
Family Arecaceae
CPC Number 9208
ITIS 42495
USDA PSSA
Common Names Florida Cherry Palm | Palma Kuká | Buccaneer Palm | Cherry Palm | Sargent's Cherry Palm
Associated Scientific Names Pseudophoenix sargentii ssp. saonae | Pseudophoenix sargentii ssp. sargentii | Pseudophoenix sargentii | Pseudophoenix saonae
Distribution This endangered taxon originates from South Florida, the Bahamas, Beliza, Cuba, Dominica, Navassa, and the Carribbean coast of Mexico (Brown and Cooprider 2010). Today, only one natural individual is known, growing in Elliot Key, Florida (NatureServe 2016).
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1
Habitat

P. sargentii prefers habitats near sea level on limestone or sandy soils that are well-drained (NatureServe 2016). Growing in hot regions, this palm is well adapted to erratic rainfall that occurs. Its high tolerance of salt water inundation and high winds makes it suitable for coastal habitats (Brown and Cooprider 2010).

Ecological Relationships

Fruit-eating bats are thought to be the originating agents of dispersal to Dominica for this palm, but it was found that the Lesser Antillean saltators (Saltator albicollis) and Lesser Antillean bullfinches (Loxigilla noctis) take care of seed dispersal in recent observations. Dominican ground lizards (Ameiva fuscata), common rats, and even crabs (Gecarcinus ruricola and Coenobita clypeatus) are believed to take fallen seeds from birds and carry away the seeds, performing secondary dispersal (James 2003).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link

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