Palm Library

Sit back and enjoy exploring the palm jungle.

Alexander Palm

Arikury Palm

Cabbage Palm

Caranday Palm

Cardboard Palm

Chinese Fan Palm

Cuban Royal Palm

Dioon Edule

Dioon Spinulosum

Dwarf Sugar Palm

European Fan Palm

Foxtail Palm

Wild Date Palm

Gingerbread Palm

Lady Palm

Mountain Date Palm

Mule Palm

Needle Palm

Piccabeen Palm

Pindo Palm

Puerto Rican Hat Palm

Pygmy Date Palm

Queen Palm

Ribbon Fan Palm

Silver Bismarkia Palm

Washington Palm

Wild Date Palm

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Alexander Palm

alexander_palm


Scientific Name: Ptychosperma elegans (ti-ko-sper-mah elle-e ganz)
Common Name(s): Solitaire Palm, Alexander Palm

 

Typical Height: 20’

Subfamily: Arccoideae

Classification: Arecaceae

Hardiness Zone: 10B-11

Growth Rate: Moderate

Origin: Australia

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate, high

Uses: Specimen tree, interior scape

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 2-3 months

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: Scale, palm aphid, mites (interior)

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Ganoderma

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; bearing 10-12 leaves in the canopy

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Slender, gray, swollen base, ridged leaf scars

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound reduplicate with 4-5 dozen pleated leaflets that are bluntly jagged at tip

Foliage Color: Green, leaflets grayish brown

Leaf size: 8-10’ long; leaflets to 3’ long, about 2’ wide

Inflorescence: 2-3’ long, branched, yellow; borne below the crownshaft

Petiole: 1’ or less long, with dark brown scaly hairs, unarmed

Crown shaft: Smooth, waxy

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 3/4″

Fruit Color: Red

Irritant: No

 

Comments:

Solitaire palm is one of the most common palms for tropical landscaping. Its small stature fits well scaled down residential yards. It is often grown as a multiple specimen, though the species is solitary by nature. It thrives in a site protected from cold and drying winds. Large acclimated specimens are durable interior scape plants.

Arikury Palm

arikury_palm

Scientific Name: Syagrus schizophylla (sy-AG-russ skits-oh-FIL-uh)
Common Name(s): Arikury Palm

 

Typical Height: 15’

Subfamily: Arccoideae

Classification: Arecaceae

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Brazil

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Small tree, interior scape

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 1-2 months

Human Hazards: Spiny

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Slightly susceptible to lethal yellowing; ganoderma

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of several dozen crowded leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Dark Brown, clothed with old leaf stem bases in distinctive spiral pattern with fiber in between

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, reduplicate, arching; with about 80 pointed, lax leaflets in one plane

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf size: 6’ long; leaflets 2’ long, 1’ wide

Petiole: 2-3’ long, narrow, purple-black, with spiny fibers at the margins

Crownshaft: None

Inflorescence: 2-3’ long, borne from among the lower leaves, pendulous, once branched

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 1” diameter

Fruit Color: Orange

Irritant: No; edible (but insipid)

 

Comments:

The arikury palm grows well and may even prefer partial shade. Its small stature interesting leaf stem base pattern on the trunk make it striking specimen plant that will not outgrow situation. Young plants are very attractive and are starting to be offered as indoor plants.

Cabbage Palm

cabbage_palm

Scientific Name: Sabal palmetto (SAI-bahl pahl-MET-toe)
Common Name(s): Cabbage Palm, Sabal Palm, Blue Palmetto, Cabbage Palmetto, Cabbage Tree, Common Palmetto, Guana Cana, Palma Cana, Palmetto

 

Typical Height: 15’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae (will be moved to new tribe in forthcoming reclassification of the palm family)

Hardiness Zone: (7B)8A-11; no damage at 15°F (-9.4°C); thought to be hardy to at least 10°F (-12.2°C)

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Southeastern United States

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Low

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in two to three months, remote germination

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: Palmetto weevils

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Ganoderma, graphiola false smut

Cultivars: Sabal palmetto ‘Lisa’ was described by Robert Riefer, a southwest Florida nurseryman, from a stand of three mature palms that appeared to be the remnant of a once larger population. These three palmettos were characterized by a more compact crown, shorter petioles, thicker and more rigid leaves that were less twisted than those of the typical cabbage palm. It was tentatively concluded that the three palms represented a colony of Sabal palmetto that has twice the usual number of chromosomes. Seedlings from these three plants are currently in production.

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of several dozen leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Gray, smooth; frequently covered with a criss-cross of persistent, split leaf bases

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, induplicate, strongly twisted downward at middle; divided to about 1/2 into numerous segments, some stiff and some dropping

Foliage Color: Dull green

Leaf size: To 6’ wide; segments 3-4′ long, 2-3” wide

Petiole: 4-6’ long, unarmed; leaf base split

Inflorescence: 6-8’ long, openly branched borne among the leaves

Gender: Bisexual flowers

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 1/2” diameter

Fruit Color: Black

 

Comments:

The stat tree of both Florida and South Carolina, cabbage palm is one of the most common native palms in the United States, and is widely used for landscaping, adapting well to many different soils and situations. Trees are harvested from wild stands at the fraction of the cost of a similar sized nursery grown palm. Sabal palms transplants well, but cut roots do not branch as they do in all other palms examined, and the palm must therefore produce new roots from the base of the trunk. It has been found that removing all leaves from these palms at the time of digging increases survival rate after installation. Cabbage palm vary in the persistence of their leaf bases. Some remain “booted” for many years; others shed the leaf bases fairly quickly.

Caranday Palm

caranday_palm

Scientific Name: Copernicia alba
Common Name(s): Caranday Palm

The Caranday palm grows to 30-50′ height by 12′ in width. It is has a single upright trunk with persistent leaf bases. This palm prefers a sunny site, widely adaptable to soil conditions. It is drought tolerant when established yet able to withstand flooding.

This palm can be used as an accent tree or groups of 3 or more with staggered heights can create a canopy scape.

Copernicia alba has a dense crown of wax covered stiff fronds which are blue-green or silver-green on the surface and distinctively light-gray or powder-white beneath. Persistent leaf bases add interest to its graceful trunk.

Cardboard Palm

cardboard_palm

Scientific Name: Zamia Furfuracea
Common Name(s): Cardboard Palm

Description: A small to medium-sized cycad with much branched, subterranean stems, each to about 15cm across. Young leaves pale green, covered with rusty brown hairs.

Distribution and Habitat: Endemic to eastern Mexico (Veracruz), growing in coastal regions, often in exposed situations where plants can be subjected to salt spray. Vegetation consists of sparse coastal scrub and savannah dotted with palms. Elevation ranges from a few meters above sea level to about 50m altitude. Soils are sandy.

Notes: This species, described in 1789, was once common in its natural habitat but has been reduced to rarity by over collecting. Z. furfuracea is a very distinctive species which can be recognized by its broad, hairy, rigid leaflets crowded on the leaves. Plants typical of the species are found only in undisturbed habitats.

Cultivation: As for the genus, Z. furfuracea is one of the most popular species in cultivation and is valued for its ornamental appearance, adaptability and hardiness. It grows well in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions and is always best in sunny situations. Plants resent poor drainage, shade and excessively wet foliage.

Propagation: From fresh seed which takes about twelve months to germinate; less commonly by division of clumps.

Chinese Fan Palm

chinese_fan_palm

Scientific Name: Livistona chinensis (liv-i-STON-a chi-NEN-sis)
Common Name(s): Chinese Fan Palm

 

Typical Height: 25’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae (will be moved to new tribe in ta forthcoming reclassification of the palm family)

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: China, Southern Japan

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to high

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germination in one to two months; remote germination

Human Hazards: Sharp teeth variably present on petiole

Major Pest Problems: None reported

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Moderate susceptibility to lethal yellowing (USDA Hardiness Zone 10-11 only), ganorderma

Cultivars: Var. suglobosa has been applied to wild forms with spherical (rather than ovoid) fruits

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 30-50 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Brown initially, gray with age, closely ringed with incomplete leaf scars, eventually corky below

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, induplicate, divided to about 2/3 into 60-100 deeply split segments that are pendant in their lower half

Foliage Color: Olive green

Leaf size: 6′ diameter; segments 3-4’ long, 2” wide

Petiole: 6’ long, teeth (if present) along margins of lower half

Inflorescence: 6″ long, produced from among the leaves, densely branched

Gender: Bisexual flowers

Flower color: Cream

Fruit Size: 0.5-1” long

Fruit Color: Grayish-blue

 

Comments:

By far the most widely planted member of the genus, Chinese fan palm makes a slow-growing but handsome specimen, forming a wide-spreading attractive crown even as a young plant. This has even led to their use as a ground cover in landscaping, an outrageous practice since at least half of the palms will require removal as they age. The long leaf segment tips hang gracefully giving the canopy a weeping appearance. They are tolerant of relatively infertile soils, but respond favorable to good nutrition. It is probably the hardiest of the Livistonas, and can withstand several degrees below freezing without any damage. Full sun is best for the Chinese fan palm; in anything more than light shade, the leaves have a tendency to “stretch.”

Cuban Royal Palm

cuban_royal

Scientific Name: Roystonea regia (roy-ston-e-ah re ge-ah)
Common Name(s): Cuban Royal Palm

 

Typical Height: 50’ – 70’

Subfamily: Arecoideae

Classification: Araceae

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Moderate

Origin: Cuba

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to high

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree, street tree, border

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 2-3 months

Human Hazards: Irritant

Major Pest Problems: Royal palm bug

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Fungal leaf spots, potassium deficiency (Florida), ganoderma, phytophthora bud rot

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 15 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Light gray, smooth, closely ringed, swollen at base and again at middle or just below crownshaft

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, reduplicate, several hundred multi-ranked leaflets with conspicuous secondary ribs on either side of midrib

Foliage Color: Bright green

Leaf size: 10’ long; leaflets 3’ long, 2” wide

Petiole: Short, stout, unarmed

Crownshaft: Long, smooth, deep glossy green

Inflorescence: 3’ long, borne just below the crownshaft, tightly branched, the branches straight

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: Yellow

Fruit Size: 1/4” long (oblong)

Fruit Color: Reddish-purple

Irritant: Yes

 

Comments:

The majority of old, large royal palms in south Florida are species, brought from Cuba during the 1930s. Most royal palms sold in nurseries are Cunab, even if they are labeled the Florida royal. The bulging trunk is most characteristic of this species. The Cuban royal occurs natively on upland sites; it is thus likely more drought tolerant than the Florida species. It makes a fine specimen in lawns, however, thriving on the extra irrigation. Royal palms are best avoided when landscaping around modestly sized homes; their stature makes a small house look even smaller. Royak palm bug, which destroys young leaves, can be a persistent problem in Florida, especially after a mild winter. Dimethoate foliar sprays have provided the best control.

Other Species: R. boriqueana (Puerto Rico) resembles Cuban royal but has shiny surfaced leaves. R. oleracea (Venezuela, southern Caribbean) hold its leaflets in only 1 plane and lacks trunk bulges. R. princeps (Jamaica) has a fairly slender trunk and a sparser canopy than most royals.

Dioon Edule

dioon_edule

Description: A medium-sized cycad with an erect or reclining trunk to 3m tall and 30 cm across. Young leaves pale green, shortly hairy. Mature leaves numerous in a stiff, obliquely erect crown, 0.7-1.4m long, stiff, rigid, light green. The Dioon edule var.edule belongs to the Zamiaceae family within the order Cycadales. It is commonly called the Chestnut Dioon. Cycads are among the oldest seed plants and even pre-date the dinosaurs.

Distribution and Habitat: Endemic to Mexico where widely distributed in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range between sea level and 1500m altitude. The species is most commonly found growing in tropical deciduous forest and oak forests. Most of the areas in which the Dioon edule resides are subjected to very dry climates and frequent brushfires which impact their survival and distribution.

Cultivation: Suited to subtropical and warm temperate regions. Both varieties of D. edule have similar cultural requirements. Very widely grown and proven to be adaptable to a range of climates and situations. Plants grow best in full sun and need excellent drainage. Watering during summer is beneficial and unimpeded air movement is important to avoid foliage damage resulting from being excessively wet. Tolerant of light to moderate frosts.

Propagation: From fresh seed; occasionally plants can be propagated by basal suckers.

Endangerment: The Dioon edule is on the verge of becoming an endangered species. They are threatened by human habitat destruction and collection for horticulture and medicinal purposes. Bouncing back from these disturbances is extremely difficult for slow growing plants such as the Dioon edule. The United States Botanical Garden suggests that plant material should be conserved, seed banks should be established and legislation regarding trading cycads and protection of their habitats should be implemented and enforced. (The United States Botanical Garden).

Dioon Spinulosum

dioon

Description: A medium-sized to very large cycad which in nature develops an erect or reclining trunk to 16m tall and 40cm across, although trunks are most commonly 5-10m tall. Young leaves slightly hairy, translucent blue green, often covered with a yellowish bloom. Mature leaves numerous in a graceful, arching to rounded crown, a.5-2mlong, curved, light green.

Distribution and Habitat: Endemic to Mexico where once widely distributed but now localized in the lowlands of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range at between 20m and 300m altitude. Plants grow in shady ravines and canyons developed on limestone formations and covered with tropical evergreen forest.

Cultivation: Suited to warm tropical and subtropical regions. A popular species prized for its attractive crown. Plants require warm humid conditions and grow well in partial shade or filtered sun. A wide range of soils are suitable with those of a neutral to slightly alkaline pH being preferred. Frost-tolerance is very low.

Propagation: From fresh seed.

Dwarf Sugar Palm

dwarf_sugar_palm

Scientific Name: Arenga engleri  (ah-RENG-ah ENG-l’r-eye)
Common Name(s): Dwarf Sugar Palm, Formosa Palm

 

Typical Height: 12’

Subfamily: Arccoideae

Classification: Caryoteae (this tribe will soon be reclassified into subfamily Coryphoideae)

Hardiness Zone: 8B) 9A-11; variable damage at 22oF (-5.6oC); stems may be killed to ground below 20oF (-6.7oC)

Growth Rate: Moderate if well irrigated, otherwise slow

Origin: Ryukyu Islands of Japan, Taiwan

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Best on moist, fertile, slightly acid soil

Drought Tolerance: Moderate, lowest in full sun

Soil Requirements: Best on moist, fertile, slightly acid soil

Light Requirements: Full sun to half shade

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate, best with regular fertilization

Uses: Screening, specimen plant, large containers

Propagation: Seed, germinating erratically in one to six months; remote germination; clumps may also be carefully divided

Human Hazards: Juice of fruit contains oxalic acid and may irritate skin; if ingested, fruit may cause suffocation if breathing passages swell shut

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Moderately susceptible to lethal yellowing (USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11 only)

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Clustering densely, each stem with 6-10 leaves; stem dies after flowering and fruiting

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Short, slender, covered with black fibers, 3” (7.6cm) in diameter

Leaf Type: Pinnate, induplicate, with 100 or more jagged tipped leaflets

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf size: 6-9’ long; leaflets 1-1.5’ long

Petiole: Unarmed, 6-18” (15.2-45.7cm) long

Inflorescence: Borne from among the leaves, 1-2” long, pendulous

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same flower stem

Flower color: Orange, very fragrant

Fruit Size: 1/2 – 1” diameter

Fruit Color: Red

Fruit: Irritant

 

Comments:

The best known and most widely available of the hardy sugar palm species, A. englari has been successfully overwintered across much of the Gulf Coast. In marginal areas, it can be situated in protected situations that afford a microclimate effect. The silver underside of the leaves makes it an attractive accent plant. In USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11, the presence of lethal yellowing disease limits its use, but unfortunately, there are more tender, similar looking Arenga species that can substitute. The fragrant yellow to orange flowers are showy, but can be lost among the foliage if lower leaves aren’t trimmed. Stems begin to decline as the fruits ripen.

European Fan Palm

european_fan_palm

Scientific Name: Chamaerops humilis (ka-MEE-rahps HYOO-mil-lis)
Common Name(s): European Fan Palm

 

Typical Height: 10’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification:  Corypheae

Hardiness Zone: 8A -11; no problem at 16-17°F (-8.9 to -8.3°C); thought to be hardy at 0°F (-17.8°C)

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Mediterranean region

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Moderate (possibly high for natively coastal forms)

Light Requirements: Moderate; high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen plant; shrub; container plant

Propagation: Seed, germinating in two to three months, possibly division; remote germination

Human Hazards: Sharp teeth on petiole; pollen from male trees causes allergy

Major Pest Problems: Scales; palm aphid; ambrosia beetle

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Potassium deficiency (Florida); ganoderma, fungal leaf spots

Cultivars: Many forms occur throughout the range of this species; some of which have been named in the past. The most stable variant is so-called variety cerifera, the name given to forms with very waxy, silvery leaves. These forms are reportedly slower-growing than the typical European fan palms, but may be slightly hardier. The formal varietal name C. humilis var elatior has been applied to solitary-stemmed, non suckering individuals. A particularly tightly suckering, low-growing, green-leafed form is marketed as the cultivar ‘Green Mound’.

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Usually clustering, but solitary forms occurs; canopy of 15-30 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: About 1′ diameter; dead leaves persist below crown; covered for many years with dense, brown fibers

Leaf Type:  Palmate, induplicate, very deeply divided into several dozen narrow segments which split at their tips

Foliage Color: Green, blue-green or silvery green; glossy or dull

Leaf size: About 3’ in diameter

Petiole: 3-5’ long; armed with fierce orange teeth that point toward leaf

Inflorescence: Short; about 6” long, with thick branches, hidden among the leaves

Gender: Usually separate male or female plants

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 1/2”in diameter

Fruit Color: Yellow, orange or brown

Foxtail Palm

foxtail_palm

Scientific Name: Wodyetia bifurcate (wod-yeh-te-ah bi-fer-cah-tah)
Common Name(s): Foxtail Palm

 

Typical Height: 30’

Subfamily: Arccoideae

Classification: Arecaceae

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Fast

Origin: Northern Australia

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 2-3 months

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Leaf spots with overhead watering

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 8-10 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Slender, gray, swollen at base, ringed with leaf scar

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, reduplicate, arching; several hundred fishtail leaflets attached in several ranks; marginal reins frequent

Foliage Color: Deep green; silvery on underside

Leaf size: 8-10’ long; leaflets about 6” long. 2” wide (widest point at tip)

Petiole: .5-1’ long, whitish green, with brown scales

Crownshaft: Narrow, green with whitish waxy scales; leaf sheaths with dark brown scales at top

Inflorescence: Branched, borne below the crownshaft, green

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 2” long

Fruit Color: Red

Irritant: No

 

Comments:

The foxtail palm, little known before the last few years, has taken the palm world by storm. There is currently an unprecedented demand in the nursery industry for seed, and this attractive Australian species will likely become one of the most popular items for landscaping in moist tropical and subtropical areas. The common name is derived from the very full appearance of the leaves, formed by the circular arrangement of the leaflets around the rachis. Foxtail palm is very fast-growing, and appears adaptable to a broad range of soil conditions. Young plants can be afflicted by leaf spot fungi, though not consistently; this seems to be aggravated by frequent overhead irrigation. Foxtail palm takes full sun even at a young age

Wild Date Palm

wild_date_palm

Scientific Name: Phoenix sylvestris (fee-nix sil-VES-tris)
Common Name(s): Wild Date Palm, Toddy Palm, India Date

Typical Height: 40’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Phoeniceae

Hardiness Zone: 9A-11; has remained undamaged at 22oF (-5.6°C

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: India

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: High, but best with periodic irrigation

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable, but well-drained

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in two or three months; remote germination

Human Hazards: Spiny; male plants produce large quantities of potent airborne pollen

Major Pest Problems: None reported

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Graphiola false smut

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 100 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Robust, to 1.5’ diameter, with diamond-shaped leaf scars and frequently a skirt of aerial roots at base and persistent leaf bases above

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, induplicate; lower leaflets modified into spines; 200-250 leaflets arranged in groups of two or three, often criss-crossing

Foliage Color: Blue-green

Leaf size: 9-12’ long; leaflets 6-18” long, 1” wide

Petiole: 3’ long, armed with leaflets spines

Inflorescence: 2-3’ long, much branched; borne from among the leaves

Gender: Separate male and female plants

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 1” long

Fruit Color: Orange yellow, ripening to reddish purple

Comments:

Toddy palm has characteristics in common with the edible date. P. dactylifera, and the Canary Island date, P. canariensis. It does not sucker and bears shorter leaves than either species. The sap is collected from the cut inflorescence in India and boiled down into sugar (jiggery) or fermented into an alcoholic beverage (toddy). It can be expected that hybrid seed will be formed where it is grown close to other date palm species. Like most of the larger date palms, it makes a durable specimen plant.

Gingerbread Palm

gingerbread_palm

Scientific Name: Hyphaene spp. (hi-fe-ne)
Common Name(s): Gingerbread or Duom Palms

 

Typical Height: 15-40’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Borasseae

Hardiness Zone: 10B-11

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Africa, Arabia and India

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: High

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Low

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 6 months or more; requires deep container

Human Hazards: Spiny

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: None

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary or multi-trunked, rarely trunkless, branching; 20-30 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Black, deeply fissured, with brown leaf scars and tufts of fiber; covered with white to gray leaf bases when young

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, induplicate, round; arched and folded inward at tip of costa; divided 1/2 to 2/3 into several dozen pointed stiff segments

Foliage Color: Silvery-green, blue-green or glossy green

Leaf size: Averaging 4’ in diameter

Petiole: 3-4’ long; edged with sharp, hooked black teeth that turn gray with age

Crownshaft: None

Inflorescence: Averaging 4’ long; with short, thick branches

Gender: Separate male and female plants

Flower color: Purplish-brown or yellow

Fruit Size: About 3” long

Fruit Color: Brown, black or yellow

Irritant: No

Comments:

The gingerbread or duom palms comprise of group of about 10 species not yet well circumscribed from each other. They are a rarity within the palm family insofar as trunks of many of the species regularly branch well above the base. They are denizens of very arid regions by-and-large, but grow where sub-surface water can be mined by their deeply penetrating root systems. Their slow rate of growth and difficult handling has kept them from becoming well represented in nurseries and landscapes, but they are extremely tough palms, with some species that may even be hardly slightly north of USDA Zone 10. Thriving cultivated specimens of several species can be found in south Florida, southern California, and other sub-tropical and tropical regions. The sizable fruits are edible, though barely palatable, and have been utilized as subsistence or survival food. They are often pear or top-shaped. A few of the occasionally encountered species and their place of origin are: H compressa (East Africa). H thebaica (North Africa) and H. coriacea (Southeast Africa).

Lady Palm

lady_palm

Scientific Name: Rhapis excelsa (RAP-is ek-SEL-sa)
Common Name(s): Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Ground Rattan, Fern Rhapis, Miniature Fan Palm

 

Typical Height: 7’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae

Hardiness Zone: 9A-11; little or no damage at 21°F(-6.1° C); damage increases at lower temperatures down to 15-18°F (-9.4 to 7.8°C) at which point stems may be killed

Growth Rate: Moderate

Origin: Thought to be from southern China and Taiwan; not known in the wild

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, low

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Shrub, hedge, specimen plant, interiorscape

Propagation: Seed, germinating over several months with heat, division remote germination

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: Scales, mealybugs

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Iron deficiency, manganese deficiency on alkaline soils

Cultivars: A large number of named variegated forms, propagated by division, are popular in Japan

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Clustering densely; up to several hundred stems, each with 4-10 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Slender, covered with brown matted fiber and protruding leaf bases; eventually black with tan leaf scars

Leaf Type: Palmate, appearing reduplicate, deeply divided into 4-10 wide segments, bluntly toothed at the tip

Foliage Color: Shiny green

Leaf size: 2.5’ wide, segments ½-1” wide

Petiole: 15-18” long, unarmed

Inflorescence: Slender, short, less than 1’(.3m) long, branched, pinkish; borne from among the upper leaves

Gender: Separate male and female plants; occasionally both sexes on the same plant

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: ½” diameter

Fruit Color: Black

Mountain Date Palm

mountain_date_palm

Scientific Name: Phoenix loureiroi var. humilis
Common Name(s): Kashmir Mountain Date Palm

Native to the open forests of India, Bangladesh and Nepal, this solitary or clumping palm is of small to medium height. It has crowns of twisting feather leaves with plumose leaflets and the trunks are usually covered in persistent leaf bases. A hardy palm, it prefers and open, sunny, well drained position in tropical to warm-temperate climates. The fruit is small and purple to black when mature. Seed germinates in two to three months.

Distribution and Habitat: This palm is found from India to Taiwan and the Philippines, growing from sea level to over 5000′ of elevation. This form is native to the Himalayas in northern Pakistan. It is an attractive, nonsuckering type.Both clustering and solitary-stemmed forms are known. The stems rarely exceed 10′ in height, up to 1′ in girth, and resemble the tender pygmy date (P.roebelenii) in being clothed in brown fiber and stubby leaf bases. The leaves are typically 6′ long with narrow, sharply-pointed, dark green leaflets radiating in different planes from the rachis. Forms with bluish-green leaves have been reported. The flower stems are short and kept among the leaves. The fruits are blue-black. The species has remained undamaged at 24 degrees F and regional variants may be hardy as far as USDA Hardiness Zone 8B.

The peithet honors Joao de Loureiro (1717-1791), a Portugese Jesuit missionary to Southeast Asia, naturalist, and author of an early account of the flora of Indochina.

The variability of P.loureiroi is pronounced and seems to be related to types of exposure: in full sun the species tends to be short, slow growing and more readily clusterming, with shorter, bluer leaves and more crowded and fatter leaflets, while as an undergrowth subject in moist, partially shady forests, it grows taller with markedly fewer clusteing individuals and with the leaflets less stiff, more widely spaced and pure green.
Because of its wide range and many differing habitats, this little palm has unusual hardiness to cold for a species confined mainly to the tropics. It has withstood temperatures in the mid-20s Fahrenheit unscathed. It grows in partial shade or full sun with the exporure variations listed above to be expected. As for soil type, it seems to almost run the gamut, thriving in calcareous as well as acidic media, although always becoming more robust on good soils. It is not fast growing.

Mule Palm

mule_palm

Scientific Name: Butiagrus nabonnandii

Known as mule palm, is hybrid of Butia capitata(pinto palm) and Syagrus romanzoffiana (queen palm). The intergeneric hybrid first appeared in France where two parental species were cultivated in close proximity. The cross has been repeated, both spontaneously and deliberately by growers, and there are at least reports of similar hybrids occurring naturally in South America. Mule palm does not form viable seed. The appearance of the hybrids, which can be roughly described as intermediate between the parents can vary depending on the individual characteristics of the parent plants, and the direction of the cross. Growers tend to prefer individuals that take after the Syagrus parent, as they are taller and faster-growing, and have a lusher, more tropical look. Mule palms range from 15 to 25′ (4.6-7.6m) in height. The palms can only be produced by cross-pollinating the two parent species. Hybrid seed germinates readily. The palm is also known by synonyms Syagrus x fairchildiana and xButiastrum nabonnandii. It is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 8B-10B; some individuals have survives 15°F with little or no damage, though 19°F is a safer bet.

Needle Palm

needle_palm

Scientific Name: Rhapidophyllum hystrix/em> (rap-i-doe-FYL-lum HISS-trix))
Common Name(s): Needle Palm

 

Typical Height: 5′

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae

Hardiness Zone: (6B) 7A-10B; no damage at 5°F(-15° C); considered by many to be hardy to -5°F (-20.6°C) once established

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Southeastern United States

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to low

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Shrub, florist trade

Propagation: Seed, germinating erratically in six months or more, remote germination; division

Human Hazards: Spiny

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: None reported

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Clustering; essentially trunkless; stem prostrate or erect, each with 6-18 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Trunkless, fiber-matted crown occasionally elongating to 5’; covered with needle-like fibers from decayed leaf bases

Leaf Type: Palmate, induplicate, divided deeply into 15-20 blunt and jagged-tipped segments

Foliage Color: Dark, green above, silvery below

Leaf size: 4’ wide, segments 2’ long, 3/4” wide

Petiole: 2′ long, unarmed

Crownshaft: None

Inflorescence: 1′ long, held among the crown fibers and leaves, shortly branched

Gender: Separate male and female plant, occasionally both sexes on the same plant

Flower color: Yellow, purple

Fruit Size: 1” long

Fruit Color: Purple-brown, wooly

Comments:

Though usually found in the understory of rich, hardwood forests, needle palm can be adapted to full sun and makes an interesting specimen plant for accent. Nowhere abundant throughout in broad range, wild populations have been heavily collected in some areas for horticultural production by division of clumps, largely because the seed is difficult to collect and slow and uneven in germination. The foliage was also heavily harvested for the florist trade. Fortunately, nursery seed production has increased over the past decade. It is one of the hardiest palm species (perhaps the hardiest of them all), though growth will be slowest at the northern end of its range. Legend has it that mature needle palm resides on Cape Cod!

Piccabeen Palm

piccabeen_palm

Scientific Name: Archontophoenix cunninghamiana (ark-on to fe nix cun-ing ham-e-ann-ah)
Common Name(s): Piccabeen Palm, Bungalow Palm

 

Typical Height: 30’

Subfamily: Arccoideae

Classification: Arecaceae

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Moderate

Origin: Australia

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 6 weeks to 3 months; best sown fresh

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Fungal leaf spots

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 8-12 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Slightly swollen at base; ridged leaf scars

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound reduplicate; over 100 leaflets

Foliage Color: Green on both sides; brown wooly scales on underside near midrib

Leaf size: 8-10’ long; leaflets to 3’ long, about 2’ wide

Petiole: Short, .5-1’ long, unarmed

Crownshaft: Smoothe, rusty brown to dull purple

Inflorescence: Numerous 3-4’ long pendulous branches

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: Pale lavender to purple

Fruit Size: 1/2”

Fruit Color: Pink to red

Irritant: No

 

Comments:

The piccabeen palm is slightly more cold hardy than its relative, A. alexandreae, and usually does not grow as tall. It became differentiated from the latter by its lack of of grayish wax on the leaf underside, less swollen trunk base, frequently colored crownshaft, lilac-colored flowers and much less strongly ribbed leaflets. The leaves of the piccabeen palm tend to be more lax than the King Alexander, giving it a slightly less formal appearance. It’s cultural requirements and landscape use are similar, however.

Pindo Palm

pindo_palm

Scientific Name: Butia capitata (BYOO-tee-a kap-i-TAHT-a)
Common Name(s): Pindo Palm

 

Typical Height: 15’

Subfamily: Arccoideae

Classification: Arecaceae

Hardiness Zone: 7B 8A – 10B no damage at 14°F(-10°C); thought to be hardy at 10°F (-12.2°C)

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Central-southern Brazil, contiguous Argentina and Uruguay

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate, high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Small tree, specimen plant

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 6 months or more, adjacent germination, cracking the hard endocarp (shell) speeds germination

Human Hazards: Spiny

Major Pest Problems: Scales

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Ganoderma, stigmina leaf spot, graphiola false smut, phytophthora bud rot

Cultivars: ‘Bonetti’ or ‘Bonnetii’: this form of B. capitata is considered to be the hardiest strain of the species. It has reportedly withstood 9°F (-12.8°C) without damage. It is sometimes listed as a distinct species. It is typically shorter than other forms, with smaller leaves and fruit.

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 40-50 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Thick, covered with overlapping, stubby and woody leaf bases for many years

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, reduplicate,stiffly arching, with numerous leaflets

Foliage Color: Blue-green to silvery

Leaf size: 4-6’ long; leaflets about 2.5’ long, 1” wide

Petiole: 4-6’ long, with slender, fibrous spines on margins

Crownshaft: Smoothe, rusty brown to dull purple

Inflorescence: 3-4’ long, with 50 -100 ultimate branches, bract smooth

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: Creamy yellow to reddish

Fruit Size: 1”

Fruit Color: Yellow to orange

Fruit: Edible

 

Comments:

Pindo palm is the hardiest feather-leafed palm currently in cultivation. It is used throughout the northern half of Florida as a specimen plant, functioning well in median and even avenue planting, despite its relatively small stature. Its performance is best above USDA Hardiness Zone 10B, and it is hardy into the Carolinas. The arching, blue-green leaves are crowded with many upward pointing leaflets that form a pronounced V-shape. The species is considerably variable in nature, the forms differing in ultimate height, trunk thickness, leaf color and amount of arching, and fruit color and taste. The best quality pindo fruits are very sweet with a flavor some find reminiscent of a pineapple/banana mixture. They make a tasty jelly. Some botanists feel that the proper name for the Butia capitata palms in cultivation in U.S. is B. adorata.

Puerto Rican Hat Palm

puerto_rican_hat_palm

Scientific Name: Sabal causiarum (SAI-bahl kow-see-AHR-um)
Common Name(s): Hat Palm, Puerto Rican Hat Palm, Palma Cana, Palma de Sombrero, Yarey

 

Typical Height: 50’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae (will be moved to new tribe in forthcoming reclassification of the palm family)

Hardiness Zone: 9A-11; no damage at 21°F(-6.1° C); though to be hardy to at least 20°F (-6.7°C); reports exist of old specimens surviving 10°F(-12.2°C)

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Puerto Rico

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Low

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating readily in 2 or 3 months; remote germination

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: Leaf hoppers

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Ganoderma

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary, massive; canopy of about 40 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: 2’ or more in diameter; leaf base shed relatively quickly; grat, smooth and closely ringed

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, induplicate; twisted; divided for about 2/3 length

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf size: 6’ or more, segments 4’ long, 2” wide

Petiole: 6’ or more long, extending far into leaf blade, unarmed

Inflorescence: Long, much branched, extending past leaves

Gender: Bisexual flowers

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 1/3”

Fruit Color: Dark brown to black

 

Comments:

This relative of Florida’s native S. palmetto makes an imposing specimen plant on the weight of its massive trunk which achieves nearly four feet (1.2m) in diameter. Despite its hardness (large specimens in Gainesville, Florida attest to a surprising degree of frost resistance for a palm from Puerto Rico), S. causiarum has not been widely available from nurseries and it’s not frequently seen in landscapes, probably because of its slow rate of growth. As with all Sabal species, a great deal of underground elaboration of the stem takes places before much top growth is apparent. Even before much trunk development occurs, the canopy of large leaves requires ample room for its spread.

Sabal domingenesis, from Hispaniola and Cuba, is very similar in general appearance to the hat palm, differing primarily by the coor of the leaves (blue-green), and somewhat more twisted habit. It also has larger, pear-shaped fruits (versus round in S. causiarum). Its horticultural characteristics and hardiness are virtually the same, however, although S. domingenesis reportedly has less of a demand for summer heat.

Pygmy Date Palm

pygmy_date_palm

Scientific Name: Phoenix roebelenii (fe-niks ro-bell-en-e-i)
Common Name(s): Pygmy Date Palm

 

Typical Height: 10’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Phoeniceae

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: Southeast Asia

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate; high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Small tree, container plant

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 2-3 months

Human Hazards: Spiny

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Pestalotiopsis, magnesium, manganese and potassium deficiencies, stigmina leaf spot, graphiolia false smut

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; with a dense crown of 50 or more leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Relatively slender, often thinnest at base, covered with peg-like leaf basees; mass of aerial roots frequently at base

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, induplicate, the lowest drooping; leaflets numerous, evenly spaced along rachis, the lower ones spine-like

Foliage Color: Glossy green

Leaf size: 3-5’ long; leaflets 8-15” long, 1/2” wide

Petiole: 2-6’ long, armed with leaflet spines

Crownshaft: None

Inflorescence: 1.5’ long, produced among the leaves, branched

Gender: Separate male and female plants

Flower color: Cream

Fruit Size: 1/2” long

Fruit Color: Black

Irritant: No

 

Comments:

Pygmy date palm is one of the most widely used date palms in the United States. Though usually single-trunked in nature, multiples are frequently produced in nurseries. This species’ small stature, slw rate of growth, ease of culture, and graceful crown have made it popular accent plant in tropical landscapes. The crown requires occasional trimming of the older leaves. Pygmy date palm is also one of the most adaptable dates for container culture, though it does not hold up very well in dimly lit interiors.

Queen Palm

queen_palm

Scientific Name: Syagrus romanzoffiana (si-AG-rus ro-man-zof-ee AHN-a)
Common Name(s): Queen Palm

 

Typical Height: 40’

Subfamily: Arecoideae

Classification: Cocoeae

Hardiness Zone: 9B-11; damaged but recovered at 24°F (-4.4°C)

Growth Rate: Moderate to fast

Origin: Southern Brazil to Argentina

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Slightly acid best, but fairly adaptable

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: High

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 3-6 months

Human Hazards: None

Major Pest Problems: None

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Manganese and potassium deficiency, ganoderma, gliocladium blight (California), phytophthora bud rot, thievlaviopsis rot or blight (a new fatal decline disease, believed to be fungal, is currently affecting this species in Florida)

Cultivars: ‘Robusta’ or “Australis’ sometime ascribed to particularly robust forms

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 15 or so leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Gray, sometimes bulging at some point smooth, widely spaced rings

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, reduplicate, arching; with several hundred many ranked, drooping leaflets in groups of 2 to 7

Foliage Color: Dark green

Leaf size: 10-15’ long; leaflets 3’ long, 1.75” wide

Petiole: 6’ long, fibrous margined on the broad, sheathing base, unarmed

Inflorescence:4-8’ long, with conspicuous bract borne from among the leaves, branched densely, the branches pendulous

Gender: Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence

Flower color: Cream

Fruit Size: 1.25” diameter

Fruit Color: Yellow to orange

Fruit: Edible

Ribbon Fan Palm

ribbon_fan_palm

Scientific Name: Livistonia decipiens (liv-i-STON-a dee-SIP-ee-enz)
Common Name(s): Ribbon Fan Palm

 

Typical Height: 30’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae (will be moved to new tribe in forthcoming reclassification of the palm family)

Hardiness Zone: 9A-11; thought to be hardy to 23°F

Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate

Origin: Australia

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate; high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in 1 or 2 months; remote germination

Human Hazards: Sharp teeth on petiole

Major Pest Problems: None reported

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: None reported

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary, robust; canopy of about 40-60 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Brown, with circling reddish-brown ring scars, slightly swollen at base

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, with long costa, induplicate; divided deeply into many folded segments that split at their middle and hang down gracefully

Foliage Color: Deep green above, waxy gray below

Leaf size: 7-9′ wide, segments 4-5′ long, 3/4″ wide

Petiole: 6’ long, armed with small sharp teeth

Inflorescence: 4′ long from among the leaves

Gender: Bisexual flowers

Flower color: Yellow

Fruit Size: 5/8” diameter

Fruit Color: Dull black

 

Comments:

Ribbon fan plan most closely resembles Australian fan palm but does not grow as tall as the latter and bears larger leaves. It is most notable for its deeply-divided leaves, the long segments of which hang downward like a curtain for several feet. This effect is best exhibited in a sheltered position in the open, the leaves tend to become tattered by the wind. The species grows best and most rapidly with year-round watering.

Silver Bismarkia Palm

silver_bismarkia_palm

Scientific Name: Bismarckia nobilis (bis-mark no-bil-is)
Common Name(s): Bismarck Palm

 

Typical Height: 30 – 60’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Borasseae

Hardiness Zone: 10A-11

Growth Rate: Slow (towards moderate after trunk development)

Origin: Madagascar

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate; high

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seeds, often germinating in less than 2 months

Human Hazards: None reported

Major Pest Problems: None reported

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: None reported

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary, massive; canopy of 20-30 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Leaf bases adhere when young, later gray and fissured; often swollen at base

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, induplicate, stiff and upright; divided to about 1/3 into approximately 20 segments; lop-sided blastula

Foliage Color: Blue-green to bronze-green, slight red edge, waxy

Leaf size: To 10’ in diameter

Petiole: Waxy, stout, 4-8’ long; winged at the base and very sparsely toothed at the edge

Inflorescence: 4’ long’ branched; ultimate branches thick and catkin-like

Gender: Separate male and female plants

Flower color: Cream

Fruit Size: 1.5’

Fruit Color: Brown

Irritant: No

 

Comments:

Bismarckia is one of the most beautiful and desirable fan palms for use in subtropical landscapes. Its bold and formed appearance dominates the area it inhabits. Bismarckia is particularly well adapted to Florida conditions and with only moderate fertilization the palm remains free of nutritional deficiencies. The bismarck palm is massive in aspect; even relatively young specimens may spread to 20’ or more. Consequently, this beautiful palm is out-of-scale for small residential yards, and may make a small house appear even smaller. Bismarckia transplants with some difficulty, and it is one of the few plants that are regularly root-pruned in field nurseries. The loss of several older leaves is not infrequent shortly after installation. Young palms (before trunk development) are especially intolerant of being moved due to the burial and underground development of the seedling stem and should only be transplanted out of containers. Bismarcks have been used as far north as Sarasota along the Florida coast; freeze damage occurs but the palm generally recovers in a single season of growth.

Washington Palm

washington_palm

Scientific Name: Washingtonia robusta (wash-ing ton-e ah ro-buss-tah)
Common Name(s): Washington palm, Mexican fan palm

 

Typical Height: 70-100”

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Corypheae

Hardiness Zone: 8-11

Growth Rate: Fast

Origin: Mexico

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Drought Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree, street tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating readily in 6 weeks to 2 months

Human Hazards: Spiny

Major Pest Problems: Palmetto weevils, scales

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Phytophthora bud rot, graphiola false smut, ganoderma pestalotiopsis

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of about 30 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Pale, gray, closely ringed, fissured, swollen at base; often covered for years with a long shag of dead leaves

Leaf Type: Costapalmate, induplicate; divided halfway or more into pointed, ribbed, drooping segments with white threads in between on younger plants

Foliage Color: Bright green

Leaf size: 4-6’ wide; segments 2-4’ long; 1.5” wide

Petiole: 3-4’ long, orange; sharp teeth on margin; base reddish-brown and split

Crownshaft: None

Inflorescence: 8-12’ long, branched, borne from among the leaf bases and pendulous

Gender: Bisexual flowers

Flower color: Off-white

Fruit Size: 3/8″ diameter

Fruit Color: Brownish black

Irritant: No

 

Comments:

Mexican fan palm has traditionally been more widely grown in Florida than its close relative, the California washington palm, probably because of its faster growth rate. Hybrids between the two species occur, and many specimens in landscapes on both Florida and California are likely of mixed ancestry. Though a desert palm, the species lives nearby permanent surface or sub-surface water, and fastest growth occurs with periodic irrigation, especially during establishment. In humid, subtropical climates, over-watering can lead to root and bud rots. With age, Mexican fan palm loses some of its appeal as the trunk tapers and thins. In Florida, lightning commonly ends the landscape
 

Wild Date Palm

wild_date_palm

Scientific Name: Phoenix sylvestris (fee-nix sil-VES-tris)
Common Name(s): Wild Date Palm, Toddy Palm, India Date

 

Typical Height: 40’

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Classification: Phoeniceae

Hardiness Zone: 9A-11; has remained undamaged at 22oF (-5.6°C

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: India

 

Landscape Characteristics

Salt Tolerance: Low

Drought Tolerance: High, but best with periodic irrigation

Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable, but well-drained

Light Requirements: High

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Uses: Specimen tree

Propagation: Seed, germinating in two or three months; remote germination

Human Hazards: Spiny; male plants produce large quantities of potent airborne pollen

Major Pest Problems: None reported

Major Disease or Physiological Problems: Graphiola false smut

 

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics)

Habitat: Solitary; canopy of 100 leaves

Trunk or Stem Characteristics: Robust, to 1.5’ diameter, with diamond-shaped leaf scars and frequently a skirt of aerial roots at base and persistent leaf bases above

Leaf Type: Pinnately compound, induplicate; lower leaflets modified into spines; 200-250 leaflets arranged in groups of two or three, often criss-crossing

Foliage Color: Blue-green

Leaf size: 9-12’ long; leaflets 6-18” long, 1” wide

Petiole: 3’ long, armed with leaflets spines

Inflorescence: 2-3’ long, much branched; borne from among the leaves

Gender: Separate male and female plants

Flower color: White

Fruit Size: 1” long

Fruit Color: Orange yellow, ripening to reddish purple

 

Comments:

Toddy palm has characteristics in common with the edible date. P. dactylifera, and the Canary Island date, P. canariensis. It does not sucker and bears shorter leaves than either species. The sap is collected from the cut inflorescence in India and boiled down into sugar (jiggery) or fermented into an alcoholic beverage (toddy). It can be expected that hybrid seed will be formed where it is grown close to other date palm species. Like most of the larger date palms, it makes a durable specimen plant.