SCIENTIFIC NAME: Gaussia
COMMON NAME(S): Maya palm, Llume palm, Gaussia, Opsiandra
FAMILY: ARECACEAE (PALMAE) - Palm family
ORIGIN: Mexico, Central America and West Indies, 4 spp.
HABITAT: Cultivated landscapes
HEIGHT: Up to 50'
CHARACTERISTICS: Stems often swollen at base, ringed with leaf scars, short prop roots visible at base
LEAVES: Alternate, feather-like, 6-9' long, the leaflets lance-shaped and pointed at tip
FLOWERS: Inconspicuous, in numerous linear clusters of 4-5 on branched, brown flower stems, only the lowest flowers female, the rest male
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring, summer, fall
FRUITS: Red, orange or black, spherical, about 3/4" diameter, fleshy, 1-seeded
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Calcium oxalate
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: The fruit pulp of these rather uncommon palms is highly irritating. The two species occasionally cultivated in Florida are G. attenuata (Cook) Becc. and G. maya (Cook) Quero & Read.