Botanical Gazette 27: 87. 1899.
Plants small to moderate. Stems solitary or occasionally caespitose, erect, slender, at first covered with leaf sheaths. Leaves: sheath fibers soft, netlike, eventually sloughing off to reveal smooth to fissured stem; petiole not split at base, unarmed; abaxial hastula a low ridge or absent; adaxial hastula a crescent-shaped ridge to semi-cylindric excrescence; blade palmate; plication induplicatee (V-shaped); segments lanceolate, basally connate; cross veins obscure [conspicuous]. Inflores cences interfoliar, downcurved [long and arching], not extending beyond leaves, with 2 orders of branching; prophyll short, peduncular bracts several, sterile, tubular, distally expanded, silky-pubescent; primary branches subtended by smaller peduncular bracts. Flowers bisexual, borne singly along rachillae, short-pedicellate; perianth 1-seriate, shallowly cupulate, lobes 5–7, apiculate; stamens 7–12; filaments acute; anthers dorsifixed, twisted when dry; pistils 1, 1-carpellate, glabrous; style slender; stigma funnelform. Fruits globose; stigmatic scar apical; exocarp purplish, smooth, slightly warty when dry; mesocarp fleshy; endocarp membranaceous. Seeds globose, irregularly brain-shaped; endosperm homogeneous, bony; embryo apical [superior]; eophyll undivided, lanceolate.
Coccothrinax shares a similar floral morphology with Thrinax, and like Thrinax it is wind pollinated. Fruits of C. argentata are one of the most important foods of Florida’s Key deer (W. D. Klimstra and A. L. Dooley 1990), but seeds are not excreted intact (W. D. Klimstra, pers. comm.).
Coccothrinax includes a great number of species with ornamental potential, and many of the cultivated ones are discussed by C. E. Nauman and R. W. Sanders (1991). Because of their generally small and slender stature and their predictable growth form, they make elegant horticultural subjects.
Theis genus is in dire need of systematic study.
Species 14–50 (1 in the flora).