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Jubaea chilensis, the Chilean Wine Palm

Jubaea chilensis, the Chilean Wine PalmJubaea chilensis, the Chilean Wine Palm, is a tall-growing, unique, smooth-trunked drought-resistant palm native to central Chile mountains. The only species in the genus Jubaea, Jubaea chilensis can grow to over 80 feet tall, its trunk reaching 5 feet diameter. Its 10–16 ft leaves are pinnate (feather-shaped).

Named after Berber king and botanist Juba II, Jubaea chilensis tolerates frost down to 5°F, and hot summers, making it one of the hardiest pinnate-leaved palms. In habitat, Jubaea chilensis grows up to nearly 1 mile above sea level on steep slopes. In the USA, Jubaea chilensis grows best in arid climates, and does not like humid heat.

Jubaea chilensis’ common name refers to the use of its sap to produce a fermented beverage. It also produces small round fruits about 1 inch in diameter, resembling a miniature coconut. In Chile, these are commonly sold as snacks during their fruiting season. Jubaea chilensis is a protected plant in Chile, because unlike most other palm wines, collecting the sap requires cutting down the tree.

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Jubaea chilensis, the Chilean Wine Palm