Adonidia merrillii (Becc.) Becc.

Etymology Genus After Adonis, a Greek god of beauty and desire. Reference to plant unknown.
Species After Elmer Drew Merrill, an American botanist
Family Arecaceae
Synonyms Veitchia merrillii (Becc.) H.E.Moore, Normanbya merrillii Becc.
Common Names Manila Palm, Christmas Palm, Merrill's Palm
Status Exotic: Cultivated Only
Form Single stem palm
Native Distribution Philippines


A single stem palm, Adonidia merrilli is a short palm normally up to 5m. It has a clean length of crown shaft and threads of marginal strips can often be seen drooping from the leaf. Two distinguishing features are the floppy ends of the leaflets, and the smoky green colour of the leaves.

Interesting Facts:

The Manila Palm is endemic to Philippines where it can only be found on limestone hills. However, it is now a very popular cultivated palm in the tropics (Wee, 2003). In Singapore, this is commonly planted within housing estates. This is the 9th most abundant palm species based on a survey I conducted in 5 towns in 2011.

Form of the Manila Palm.

Ends of leaflets are floppy.

The rings on the stem are closely compacted together.

Very clean crownshaft. Note the drooping marginal strips.


Developing fruits have a similar greyish green colour.

Ripe fruits.


Wee YC. (2003) Tropical Trees and Shrubs: A Selection for Urban Planting. Sun Tree Publishing, USA. 392 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-01-31 / Modified: 2017-12-25