Ponytail palm

Beaucarnea recurvata

Beaucarnea recurvata is a semi-succulent xerophyte tree endemic to Central America and southeastern Mexico. The carboy-shaped base of its trunk contains the reserves needed for it to survive.


The edges of the leaves of the bottle palm are very sharp.

Species characteristics

Family: Asparagaceae

Origin: Central America, Belize and Guatemala

Habitat: Semi-desert area

Characteristics: Xerophytic, semi-succulent tree, with green evergreen foliage characterised by long leaves in narrow tapered strips.
The summer flowering occurs only on old specimens, in the form of panicles one metre long, made up of small white-cream flowers.

Flowering period: Summer

Uses and properties: Studies carried out by NASA in 1980 showed that certain plants, including Beaucarnea, have absorbent, air-cleaning and neutralising properties.

History and oddities

Charles Lemaire described the genus in 1861, naming it Beaucarnea and its specific name recurvata refers to its recurved leaves.