An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter of December 15, 2008
written at Mayan Beach Garden Inn on the Costa Maya, Quintana Roo, México

MANILA PALM

Manila Palm, VEITCHIA MERRILLII

Above you see the handsome, smallish, feather-leafed or pinnate-leafed palm at the entrance to Mayan Beach Garden. Palm fanciers may recognize it as a close relative to the famous, stately, much larger Royal Palm.

This is a much-planted species native to the Philippines, VEITCHIA MERRILLII. Since it's planted so extensively it goes by many names. In the US often it's called Christmas Palm because it produces olive-size red fruits but internationally it seems to be best known as Manila Palm, and of course some call it Dwarf Royal Palm. Notice the curious way the flowers arise midway the trunk.

Manila Palm, VEITCHIA MERRILLII, flower with honeybee

Manila Palm, VEITCHIA MERRILLII, nutsAbove you see a honeybee lifting from one of its flowers. Veitchias are monoecious, which means that on one plant you get unisexual male and female flowers. In the picture you can make out an oval ovary amidst the cluster of pollen-producing stamens, so that ovary must be sterile, because the stamens seem to be doing a good job producing white pollen. Notice the pollen bag on the honeybee's back leg.

At the right is a cluster of Veitchia nuts, photographed in the northern Yucatan.