Dominican Cherry Palm
Pseudophoenix are odd looking but undeniably attractive palms of the Caribbean with swollen stems of a moody green gray color. Though slow growing, they reach a good size in a number of years and even small plants fetch very high prices in the trade. P. ekmanii is one of the rarest in the genus. It is native only to the Barahona Peninsula in the southwesternmost Dominican Republic where it grows by the thousands under quite dry conditions on shallow, open hillsides of heavily eroded limestone rock. Its trunk can get to 6 m (20 ft.) tall and is distinctly swollen a few feet above the ground. It is smooth and covered in a thick, white, waxy layer, interrupted by the dark leaf scars, which gives the trunk a zebra-striped appearance. The leaves are stiffly spreading, quite dense and slightly plumose, with very leathery leaflets. P. ekmanii does best in the dry tropics and will look great even under rough conditions, including full coastal exposure, poor soil and drought.