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Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)
Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Chrysalidocarpus lutescens



Origin and description

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is a palm that grows to over 10 metres tall in its native Madagascar, where it thrives in bright light and warm, humid conditions. This slow-growing cluster-stemmed palm has pale green leaves and yellowish stems that can reach up to 2 metres when grown as a houseplant. Its long, arching leaves are over 90 cm long and are composed of 40 to 60 pairs of slender leaflets.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is the only species grown as an indoor plant.

Common name

Chrysalidocarpus / Areca palm / Yellow butterfly palm

Latin name (genus)

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (syn. Areca lutescens)

English common name

French common name

Botanical family

  • Arecaceae

Growing conditions

Areca palm requires bright light and even tolerates direct sunlight in winter. It does best in a west- or east-facing window. The temperature should be high, between 18 and 22ºC year round, with a maximum of 27ºC in summer and a minimum of 13ºC in winter. Provide it with high humidity.

Easy to grow?

Areca palm is fairly difficult to grow because it requires bright light and high humidity. It does not bloom as a houseplant.

Watering and fertilizer

During the growing period, water freely without ever leaving the base of the pot standing in water, to avoid root rot. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. In winter, water less frequently, especially if temperatures are cooler and light levels are lower. Fertilize two or three times during the growing period with balanced indoor plant food or all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20.

Pruning and maintenance

It is a good idea to shower the foliage from time to time with lukewarm water to clean and dust the plant. Remove any old, dried leaves.


This plant prefers light, well-drained soil. Use a blend of potting soil, peat moss and perlite or coarse sand or a commercial potting mix for indoor plants. Araca palm likes to be potbound. Repot it once the roots form a compact ball in the pot, about every two or more years.


See also

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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