The Brazilian needle palm is not widely cultivated in Southern California despite being well suited to the climate. Best known for its trademark spines that jut out from the fibrous trunk like the thick hairs of a porcupine, the Trithrinax is one of those rare finds that is hard to forget or overlook once spotted.
The Trithrinax is hardy, takes lots of abuse, and is drought resistant - a slow grower that tolerates heat, cold and full sun. The palm is moderate in size, with a neat crown of dull to dark green palmate leaves. The leaf petiole, or leaf stalks, are unarmed and about 3 feet in length. The leaf itself is about 3-4 feet wide. From the top of the trunk on up, this palm looks similar to a Windmill Palm palm.
There is much ado in the literature regarding the 'armed' spines on the trunk of this plant. The spines are in fact stiff and rather pointed, but not nearly as intimidating as the leaf armature of, say, the Phoenix or Livistona saribus.