Barbel Palm, Acanthophoenix rubra

The Barbel Palm (Acanthophoenix rubra) is a critically endangered species of palm native to Mauritius, Rodrigues, and La Reunion. It is also known as the Red Barbel Palm or Yellow Barbel Palm, Red Palm, Mascarene Islands Cabbage Palm and a variety of other names (French). It was first described as Areca rubra by French naturalist Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent in 1804. It was put into its own genus by German botanist Hermann Wendland in 1867.

The Barbel Palm can reach a height of nearly 40 feet. The trunk is slender, with a diameter of 7 inches. The crown has about 10 leaves each approximately 10 feet in size and are arranged convoluted. This plant is prized for its edible palm hearts.

It is endangered due to habitat destruction to make way for sugarcane plantations, and its high value as an edible and medicinal plant. Only 150 individuals still occur in the wild on Mauritius, however it is widely grown in cultivation.

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