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Adonidia merrillii (Becc.) Becc.

Family Name: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Synonyms: Normanbya merrillii, Veitchia merrillii
Common Name: Manila Palm, Christmas Palm, Merrill's Palm, Adonidia Palm, Dwarf Royal Palm, 王棕, 大王椰子
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Coastal Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Roadside Tree / Palm Pinnate / Feather Single Obvious Trunk Palm


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Palm (Solitary Palm)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Fountain (Palm-like)
Maximum Height 5 m to 15 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 3.5 m


Native Distribution Philippines
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest), Shoreline (Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Growth Form: A palm with a single, erect trunk. Habitat: This species occurs in rainforests, open forests, steep limestone hills and areas along the coast, such as beaches near forests. It is found at altitudes of 10 - 100 m in the Philippines. Trunk: Trunk is grey with numerous circular leaf scars that are evenly spaced from top to bottom. Foliage: Large, pinnately compound leaves are arched upwards (1.5 - 2 m long), but the leaflets droop downwards (0.6 m long, 5 cm wide). The leafbases form a smooth, light green crownshaft that occurs above the trunk, but below the leaf blades. Flowers: Flowers are arranged in groups of three (two male flowers and one female flower) in long, branched inflorescences known as panicles (0.6 m long). Male flowers have a puffball-like appearance due to their numerous stamens. Fruits: Large bunches of ovoid fruits are classified as drupes (3 cm long, 1.5 cm wide). In the USA, the green fruits turn red at maturity during fall and winter. Landscaping: This species resembles the Royal Palm (Roystonea regia), but it is more compact. The crown is symmetrical and pleasing to the eye. Individuals may be planted singly, in small clumps of 2 - 3 individuals or in lines. It is often planted in parks, public and home gardens and along roadsides. It is also suitable for courtyards or lobbies where space is limited. You might plant 2 small individuals in the same pot for a fuller look. Cultivation: This species grows best in moist, but well-drained soils. Established plants can tolerate short periods of drought, nutrient poor or alkaline soils, as well as moderate amounts of salt and shade. It is not frost tolerant. Fertilize every other month with a 11-4-11 NPK fertilizer designed for palms. Mulch the plants to help retain soil moisture. This species is susceptible to mealy bugs and a fatal bacterial disease called "lethal yellowing." When growing this species indoors, provide at least 3.2 klx of light. Propagation: Propagate by seed. Soak the fruits in water (changing the water every day) until the flesh becomes soft. Then, use a knife to remove the flesh from the seed. People with sensitive skin should wear gloves when touching the flesh, because the flesh contains oxalate which may irritate the skin. Plant the seeds in moist peat mixed with perlite. Then, seal the pot in a plastic bag to retain moisture and place it under indirect sunlight. Fresh seeds naturally germinate in about 1 - 3 months. For faster germination, allow the seeds to soak in water for 3 days (changing the water daily) or scratch the seed surface until the endosperm is visible. Etymology: The genus "Adonidia" was named after the Roman sun god, Adonis. It was named Manila Palm, because it is often used in Manila (capital of the Philippines) for landscaping.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Poor Infertile Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Container Planting, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Gravity)
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.