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A Floridata Plant Profile #643 Copernicia baileyana
Common Names: Bailey palm, yarey palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
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Palm  Attracts Birds Drought Tolerant Has Ornamental (non-edible) Fruit Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage

Bailey palms
A trio of big burly Bailey palms dominate their territory at the Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami, Florida.
The majestic Bailey palm has a massive concrete gray trunk with a slight "Coke® bottle" profile. The trunk can be up to 24 in (61 cm) in diameter and reach 50' in height. This unique palm has a large crown with dense and numerous fan shaped leaves that curve upward, like a smile growing from the petiole (leaf stem). The leaves of Bailey palm are about 5 ft (1.5 m) across, and have a thin waxy coating. The dark brown fruit is round and about 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter.

Bailey palm is native to dry savanna and woodland areas of Cuba where several other members of the genus Copernicia including the Cuban wax palm (like C. hospita and C. macroglossa) also occur.

In its native range, Bailey palm grows in poor soil and under dry conditions. Normally considered a slow grower, it responds exceptionally well to fertilization and moist, well drained soil.
Light: Likes bright, sunny conditions but will tolerate partial shade. Bailey palm does best in full sun.
Moisture: Bailey palm is highly tolerant of drought, but thrives in moist soil with good drainage.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9B - 10. Adult Bailey palms are considered cold hardy down to about 24-26ºF (-3.3 - -4.4ºC), but foliage damage may occur at these temperatures.
Propagation: By seeds which germinate in from 4 to 12 weeks.

Bailey palm
The flower stalks of Bailey palm extend well beyond the leaves.
This Cuban native palm thrives in full sun and is considered one of the most "majestic" of all palms. The thick white trunk is imposingly massive and demands attention from all who pass. The awe inspiring Bailey palm works well next to large buildings and in formal groupings. Use Bailey palm for street plantings and for large, open areas. Bailey palm is not a good choice for residences and homes with small yards.

Bailey palm is considered one of the most "stately" of all palms. The renowned Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami recommends Bailey palm as one of the ten best palms for South Florida. Bailey palm is now available from some nurseries and seed providers but still is considered quite rare and a real prize outside of its native Cuba. Even young Bailey palms are considered highly desirable due to their very large, curving fan leaves. These leaves make impressive patterns of shadows and filtered light. Bailey palm is a source of wax and is used in its native Cuba for making brooms.

young Bailey palm
Young Bailey palms also make attractive specimens.
Bailey palm is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Copernicia hospita, C. berteroana, or C. fallaense. The common name, yarey palm, is used for other species as well as Bailey palm. This genus of palm trees was named after the famous Polish astronomer Copernicus (1473-1543). The specific part of the name, baileyana, is named in honor of Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954), who was among the world's foremost botanists, horticulturists and palm experts.

Chuck McLendon 3/19/00; updated 4/19/00, 1/9/04, 11/8/08

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