Natural Habitat: Naturally endemic to the northeastern Brazilian coastal forests known locally as the “restinga”. It grows along other small trees and shrubs on sandy dunes.
Description: A medium sized solitary palm, occasionally clumping, that can reach heights to 15 feet tall, but are usually to 10 feet tall in cultivation. The schizophylla has a slender trunk which is usually not visible, as the old leaf bases remain on the tree giving the palm a more robust look. These old leaf bases, as well as new leaf bases and petioles (branches) are covered in medium sized spines. The schizophylla is the only species in the genus to have spines, making it quite unique among its family members. The crownshaft emerges upwards of 20 leaves 6-8 foot slightly aching pinnate leaves, that emerge straight up and usually do not drop or grow below the crown. The dark green leaflets are rather stiff at first, but eventually lose some rigidness and being to drop as the leaflets age.
Environment: The schizophylla can thrive in both sunny and shady areas. It enjoys a moist and well draining soil. They are not drought tolerant and should be kept watered at all times. They fare well as potted indoor and outdoor palms, as long as they are given enough sun light. They make an excellent potted patio palm, since they grow slower in shady areas. They are cold sensitive and can be damaged by frost and freezes. However these palms made it through two 27 degree nights with no damage this winter. The word is still out, but if acclimated correctly this palm might live in zones 9b. Zones 10-11