Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis)

Tree
J. spectabilis. Cocos chilensis
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chilean Wine Palm
Jubaea chilensis
Palmae

The leaves are used to make baskets, brushes and for thatching[46, 61, 139].

Fibres from the plant are used as a stuffing material for mattresses etc[139].

A paper is made from the fibres in the trunk[139].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Sap – raw or cooked. A very sweet taste, it can be used as a refreshing drink[1, 2, 11, 61], concentrated into a syrup or fermented into a wine[183]. The tree is felled and the crown removed, the sap then begins to flow and, providing a thin section of trunk is removed daily, the sap will continue to flow for several months[2]. Yields of over 400 litres of sap can be obtained from a tree[2].

    Fruit – candied and used as a sweetmeat[61, 183].The fruit is about 5cm in diameter[200].

    Seed – raw or cooked[46, 61]. A pleasant nutty flavour raw[2], they are also used in sweetmeats[183]. The seed is about 5cm in diameter[231].

    An edible oil is obtained from the seed[46, 61, 105, 177].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse. The seed can take 6 months to germinate[200]. Stored seed should be soaked for 12 – 24 hours in warm water as soon as it is received and then sown in a warm greenhouse. It can be very slow to germinate. The seed has a short viability. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.
We have no records of the cultivation needs of this plant in Britain. It is said in many books that it is not hardy in Britain but some trees have been growing outdoors in Britain at Torquay since 1900 and they were 7.5 metres tall in 1972[11, 166]. It will probably require a sunny sheltered position in a moist but well-drained soil[231]. Some reports say that it can tolerate several degrees of short-lived frost[200, 260]. Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants[231]. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates[231]. Palms can also be transplanted even when very large. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established – removing many of the leaves can also help[231]. This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit and seed plus its many other uses[139]. It is a very slow-growing plant that takes several years before it begins to form a trunk and takes up to 60 years to produce seed[139]. The tree is becoming very rare in its native range because it has been widely exploited for its edible sap. The trees are beheaded and a large quantity of sap exudes from the trunk. Unfortunately, the tree cannot produce side branches and so it dies after this treatment[139].
S. America – Chile.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.