Taking its name from the star-shaped markings on the seed, Astrocaryum is one of the spiniest palms in the world.
So, if you are committed to non-spiny palms, you may like to skip this one! For those made of sterner stuff, however,
and ignoring for the moment its fierce armament, this native of montane
forests in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama is surely a most handsome palm. It has a crown
of strongly arching leaves with closely inserted, very wide leaflets, which
makes the leaves appear almost simple and undivided in the manner of Verschaffeltia
or Phoenicophorium, presenting a truly remarkable sight. The leaves are deep green above and grayish-white below,
adding to its exotic character. Now, then, about those spines. . . While there is no getting away from the fact that
it is, well, really spiny, if it is handled and sited with care, its wonderful tropical
appearance is a delight. Rich soil, sun or shade, and much water will keep it happy. The Coquillo Palm will not take
more than a few degrees of frost, but it tolerates cool conditions very well and will be successful in subtropical
and of course all tropical climates.