Brahea calcarea

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Brahea (brah-HEH-ah)
calcarea (kal-kah-REH-ah)
Brahea calcarea craftz.jpg
Huntington Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles, California, photo by Paul Craft
Scientific Classification
Genus: Brahea (brah-HEH-ah)
calcarea (kal-kah-REH-ah)
Brahea nitida, Brahea prominens.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
White Rock Palm, Oaxaca Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Brahea calcarea is found in Guatemala, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest. Found in dry, open bush-land.

Photo by Justen Dobbs


A breathtakingly beautiful, medium sized, rare fan palm with a smooth, slender trunk and dark greyish green, finely segmented leaves with white undersides. It is easy to distinguish from other Brahea as the only species without a thorny petiole. Native to western and southern Mexico, where it grows on dry limestone hills among pines and oaks at elevations between 900 and nearly 2000 m (3000 and 6600 ft.), it is well suited to temperate and warm temperate climates. It will take moderate frosts and is very tolerant of drought conditions. A superb, reliable, robust and truly unique palm that is still very rarely seen in cultivation. (

Trunk: Solitary. Hight: to about 12 m. Leaf detail: Costapalmate leaves, shiny green above, glaucous below, mature frond has droopy tips. The only Brahea not to have armed petioles. Requirements: Full sun, well drained soil, water sparingly. Frost and drought tolerant. Does not do well in high humidity. Growth rate: Slow.


Full sun, well drained position. Frost and drought tolerant. Dislikes high humidity. Slow growing.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

"5 gallon with 1 ft of trunk. 14 F defoliated, spear pulled. Survived. coming back strong." (blake_tx)

"As a seedling this is one of the most ornamental of all the Braheas. It has normal green leaves, but they are nearly completely circular and stay that way up until it becomes a tree, at which time they tend to tatter more and look less unique. The petioles are unarmed, rare for Braheas. It comes from an area of low rainfall in Mexico (typical of Braheas). Brahea calcareais is now the proper name of Brahea nitida."

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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