Skip to main content
This genus is accepted, and its native range is Mexico to Central America.

Hesper palms, Guadalupe palms, rock palm, sweet brahea palm (Brahea edulis).
Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), roots (Seubert 1997), floral (Morrow 1965).
General Description
Moderate, mostly solitary, rarely clustered, armed or unarmed, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic palms. Stem clothed with persistent leaf sheaths, in age becoming bare. Leaves induplicate, shortly costapalmate, marcescent; sheath becoming fibrous, persistent, eventually splitting basally; petiole short or long, concave, flattened, or channelled adaxially, rounded abaxially, margins unarmed or armed with sparse to dense, small or large teeth, sometimes floccose; adaxial hastula triangular to irregular, thin, membranous, at length fibrous, sometimes large, abaxial hastula a very low ridge or scarcely developed; blade nearly orbicular, regularly divided nearly to the middle or beyond into single-fold, stiff or flexible segments, deeply bifid at the apex, interfold filaments often present, surfaces glabrous, waxy or covered in caducous, floccose indumentum, midribs prominent, other veins fine, ± equal and close together giving a striate appearance, transverse veinlets inconspicuous, sometimes evident abaxially. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, nearly equalling or exceeding the leaves, erect or curving, branched to 4 orders; peduncle slender, short to medium; prophyll 2-keeled, closely sheathing, tubular, glabrous (?always), splitting irregularly abaxially; peduncular bracts 0–several, like the prophyll but single-keeled, glabrous or floccose; rachis much longer than peduncle; first-order branches distant, apparently lacking prophylls; subsequent bracts triangular, membranous, very inconspicuous; rachillae crowded, numerous, all branches and rachillae covered in a pale dense felt or deep pile of hairs. Flowers spirally arranged, solitary or in cincinni of 2–3, each subtended by a small bract, buds sometimes obscured by hairs until anthesis; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, margins minutely toothed (?always); petals 3, united basally in a tube as long as the sepals, briefly imbricate, valvate apically, shallowly to deeply furrowed adaxially; stamens 6, borne at the mouth of the corolla tube, filaments connate into a 6-lobed ring, lobes triangular, abruptly narrowed at tips, anthers broadly elliptic to nearly oblong, dorsifixed, ± versatile, latrorse; carpels 3, follicular, united by the styles, ovule basal, erect, anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, slightly to extremely asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate-rugulate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 29–51 µm [4/10]. Fruit usually developing from 1 carpel, globose or ovoid, dark blue to black at maturity, abortive carpels basal, stigmatic remains apical; epicarp smooth, mesocarp fleshy, endocarp crustaceous. Seed basally or subbasally attached, globose or ellipsoidal, endosperm homogeneous, very shallowly to deeply penetrated by a smooth intrusion of seed coat; embryo subbasal to lateral. Germination remote-ligular; eophyll entire. Cytology: 2n = 36.
Mostly solitary hermaphroditic fan palms of Mexico and Guatemala, occurring usually on limestone in dry areas, the leaves often glaucous.
On limestone slopes and outcrops in dry areas.
About 10 species in Baja California, Guadalupe Island, Mexico and Guatemala.


The leaves are used for thatch and as a source of fibre. Fruits of some species are edible. Attractive ornamentals for drier areas.

Native to:

Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexican Pacific Is., Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua

Brahea Mart. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Hist. Nat. Palm. 3: 243 (1838)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.


Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

  • J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License