A large, attractive palm species, younger specimens of the barbel palm can be distinguished by the striking, red leaf sheaves bearing long, sharp spines, found at the top of the trunk. As the plant matures these spines fall away and the sheaves become gradually browner. The leaves of this species are impressively large, reaching up to three metres long, and are composed of numerous pointed, paired leaflets, which project from the bristly leaf midrib. Mature plants have around 10 leaves in total, which radiate from the crown in a spiral arrangement. During flowering the barbel palm develops conspicuous, 50 centimetre-long, inflorescences that hang below the leaves. These comprise a multitude of small, creamy-white flowers suspended from a central stem. The fruits are roundish drupes, up to one centimetre long, which contain a single seed (2).
- Palmiste Piquant, Palmiste Rouge.
- Height: up to 12 m (2)