Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Palms in Cool Climates

* effective Jan 2012...each genus of palm beneath will be separated into individual feature articles...more species and much more complete descriptions complete with photos will be added.

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii ( Paurotis Palm )

Native to the Florida Everglades this ornamental Palm will grow much further north and is hardy to 3 F ( very brief exposure with dieback ). Reaches up to 20 feet in height.
Due to its requirement of subtropical summers, it will likely not survive outside the Deep South.

* photos taken on Jan 3 2010 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida

Brahea aculeata

This fast growing Palm is hardy to 19 F. Its fan shaped leaves reach up to 3 feet across. Is extrememly drought tolorant.

Brahea nitida

A moderately fast growing Palm reaching up to 30 feet. Hardy north to zone 8

Butia capitata
A hardy Palm native to eastern Brazil; reaching up to 25 or rarely 40 feet in height and 20 feet in crown width with a short stout trunk up to 3 feet across.
This Palm can make up to 10 inches in trunk growth a year.
In appearance it looks somewhat like a shorter Phoenix canariensis.
The arched pinnate leaves are blue-green and up to 6 feet in length.
The short flowers clusters are yellow or pinkish.
The flowers are followed by sweet, edible berries up to an inch that are borne in large, heavy clusters.
Hardy to 0 F ( brief exposure in dry climate only, otherwise closer to 10 F ). Very vigorous in Cornwall, England.

Butia eriospatha

Slow growing Palm making up to 13 inches trunk growth in a year. This Palm is hardy north to zone 7 and can tolorate 0 F in a dry climate where it can harden off.

Butia paraguayensis

Growing to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide; this Palm is hardy to 5 F

Chamerdorea microspadix

From southeastern Mexico; this Palm makes a clump of Bamboo like stems. It is very fast growing and the dense clumps reach up to 12 feet tall and 10 feet across. The up to 40 inch fronds are pinnate with wide dark but non shiny green leaflets up to 10 x 2 inches. After blooming it can produce scarlet berries. Growing well in sun or shade and tolorate light snow. This Palm is hardy zones 8 to 10 ( unconfirmed reports of 7 in very sheltered sites ). Is leaf hardy to 15 F

Chamaedorea radicaulis

A shrub Palm reaching 7 feet tall and 6 feet wide. leaves are pinnate & up to 3 feet long with dark green leaflets up to 13 x 1 inches. hardy zones 8b - 11; it looses its leaves at 12 F but is known to survive as low as 0 F on a protected site.
Drought tolorant

Chamaerops humilis ( Meditteranean Fan Palm )

The one and only species in the Chamaerops family; this Palm is native to the Meditteranean Region of Europe and North Africa. It's a survivor of the evergreen laurel forest that covered much of Europe before getting wiped out by the ice ages of the last few million years.
Usually shrubby in the wild they may become trees in cultivation however still usually multi stemmed. Such trunks may reach up to 33 feet in height with a diameter of 0.7 feet. The largest of this species was 40 feet in height recorded in Spain in 1836. Clumps of Fan Palm may be up to 20 feet across. Moderate growing; the leaves are fan shaped and up to 3 feet across and on leafstalks up to 52 inches long. Leaves are grayish-green though some very attractive blue forms exist. Dull orange small date like fruits follow the dull orange date like fruits. They grow best in well drained soil in full sun. Old dried fronds can be a fire hazard and should be cut off however not to close as to cause damage to the main trunk.
Hardy from zone 7 to 10 it is known to tolerate 0 F on sheltered sites. One tree is reported to survive - 7 F though just barely.

* photo taken on Jan 3 2011 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida

Coccothrinax barbadensis

A fast growing Palm hardy north to zone 8 and reaching up to 50 feet in height and 15 feet in crown width.

Nannorrhops ritchiana ( Mazari Palm ) -

Extremely rare; from mountainous Afghanistan, India & Pakistan; this is the Worlds Hardiest Palm and is known to tolerate -14 F in dry climates, as well as heat up to 125F. Hardy north to zone 6 b where winters aren't excessively wet.
It is fast growing though rarely growing over 15 feet, however it has been known to approach 30 x 25 feet . The blue-green, fan shaped fronds reach up to 4.5 feet across. Old leaf bases persist and should be removed.
The white flowers are borne on branched spikes reaching above the crown that reach up to 5 feet in length.
The fruits are orange brown.
Hardy zones 7 to 11

Phoenix loueiroi

The hardiest Date Palm; it is very robust growing and hardy north to zone 7a ( estimate ) on a protected site.

Phoenix sylvestris

Growing to 40 feet in height with a trunk diameter up to 1 foot; this Palm can tolorate as low as 17 F

Sabal Palms - all being hardy and adaptable; these Palms make their best growth on well drained deep fertile soil in full sun with adequate water while in growth. Resistant to most disease. Usually propagated from seed.

Sabal bermudiana ( Bermuda Palmetto )

A very fast growing Palmetto Palm growing to 50 feet tall with a massive crown up to 30 feet across. Though it is native to only Bermuda; some trees have already grown huge. The 10 foot fronts are circular with 24 inch segments with a central section of 12 inches wide that is undivided. Foliage is very lush and blue-green. Tolorant of drought and limey soils - this Palm is hardy from zone 8 b to 11 and has been reported to grow in zone 7 as a perennial. This Palm defoliates at 6 F but may survive as low as - 3 F

Sabal 'Birmingham'

Large and fast growing hybrid. Reported to have survived - 11F with only 20 % leaf tip damage

Sabal blackburniana ( Hispanolian Palm )

With a clean gray trunk; this Palm grows to 85 feet tall with a crown to 20 feet wide and a diameter of 2 feet. The circular fronds are large( up to 9 feet across ), long stemmed and gray-green with an undivided central section. The leaflets are up to 40 inches long and 4 inches wide. This Palm is hardy from zone 9 to 10 but is known to survive to as low as 10 F

Sabal causiarum ( Puerto Rican Hat Palm )

Native to Hispanola and Puerto Rico; this palm is very fast growing with a gray trunk and reaches up to 60 feet tall; 20 feet wide and with a trunk diameter of up to 4 feet! It has a heavy crown of bright green fan shaped fronds; the leaves reaching up to 10 feet long. Each leaflet ( up to 60 of them ) can be up to 40 inches long and 5 inches wide. The white flowers are in sprays that can be up to 7 feet long and are followed by small black fruit. It is tolorant of dry conditions once established. Hardy from zone 8 to 12 and tolorates as low as 16 F

Sabal domingensis

A large fan Palm from Hispanola that can grow to 100 feet tall with a trunk diameter up to 2 feet. The trunk can grow as fast as 2 feet or more in height in a year. It also has a heavy gray trunk but a more open crown of gray-green leaves and pear shaped larger fruit than the similar S. causiarum. The flowers grow in sprays that are shorter than the 6 foot long leaves. Very tolorant of hot, dry inland regions and is hardy from zone 8 to 12 surviving as low as 4 F

Sabal etonia

A little known and rare shrub Palmetto which can grow up to 8 feet tall and 10 feet across and is hardy as far north as zone 7b

Sabal louisiana

A natural hybrid shrub Palmetto growing to 8 feet tall and wide and can survive temperatures as low as 0 F

Sabal mauritiformis

A graceful palm native over a wide area from Columbia & Venezuela and north to Mexico. It is fast growing with a slender gray trunk and grows to 82 feet in height and up to 25 feet in width. The crown is somewhat open with drooping fan shaped bright green leaves that are blue-green below. The leaves are up to 6 feet across and are divided into up to 60 leaflets which can reach up to 40 x 4 inches in size. The sprays of flowers are longer than the leaves and are followed by black berries.
Hardy from zone 9 and south. This Palm can survive as low as 20 F

Sabal minor ( Dwarf Palmetto )

Living up to 400 years in age; this Palm usually remains a shrubby clump however sometimes it does develop a trunk above ground and will reach up to 28 feet tall with a crown up to 16 feet wide. Largest trunk diameter on record is 1.5 feet. Slow growing; in North Carolina this Palm reaches up to 5 feet tall in 8 years. The leaves are blue-green, large and stiff splitting up into 20 to 30 narrow leaflets ( the center one being most prominent ).
The small creamy-white flowers are borne on erect sprays that emerge from the middle of the clump and is often taller than the foliage.
They are followed by rounded, glossy black berries.
It is hardy from zone 7 to 10 and is reported to tolorate as low as - 10 F.
It may survive zone 5 as a perennial though will certainly remain very small.
A clone from Oklahoma is the hardiest and there are reports of this palm surviving - 24 F in Kansas. Prefers a light, humus-rich, very well drained soil.
Propagation is from seed sown in spring.

The form from Texas hill country should be used in the sw. U.S.

Sabal palmetto ( Cabbage Palm )

Native to the southeast U.S. from Louisiana to the coastal Carolinas and south; this Palm thrives unharmed by drought, fire, deer, salt and storms. It is usually slow growing but with ideal conditions can become fast growing and reach up to 6 feet in height in 1 1/2 years. With a bare trunk and leaves on top of long stalks; this Palm can reach up to 100 feet tall with a canopy up to 22 feet across and a trunk up to 2 feet in diameter. However usually much smaller where winters are cold. it has a large crown of blue-green leaves that are fan shaped and up to 8 feet long that are 2 /3 rds divided. The flower sprays are about the same length as the leaves and are made of small white flowers. The fruits are glossy and black. Hardy from zone 8 to 12 - a large Sabal palmetto has survived - 6 F in zone 7 Knoxville, Tennessee. It is reported to survive in Ocean City, Maryland but struggling.

* photo taken on Jan 3 2011 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida

Sabal 'Riverside'

A hybrid originating in southern California that is hardy north to zone 8a

Sabal texana ( Texas Palmetto )

A very adaptable Palmetto which is native to Texas and northern Mexico. Reaching up to 70 feet tall; 36 feet in crown width with a thick trunk up to 3 feet across. A massive mature tree grows in cool wintered Dallas, Texas. This Palm has a crown of light green leaves with blades up to 6.6 feet long that are deeply divided with thread like filaments. The white flower sprays are equal in length to the leaves and are followed by large black berries. Hardy from zone 7b to 11 and survives as low as 1 F
Endangered; this Palm formerly grew wild on 40 000 acres in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. Only 32 acres are left. It is flood tolorant and very drought tolorant. This Palm is not prone to Lethal Yellowing Disease.

Sabal tamaulipas

A rare Palmetto native to extreme northwest Mexico and looks alot like Sabal minor but is much faster growing. It has no trunk and forms a clump with huge fan shape leaves up to 9 feet across.

Sabal uresana ( Sonoran Palmetto )

From northwest Mexico; this very beautiful Palm is fast growing and reaches up to 66 feet in height with a canopy up to 10 feet across. The 6 foot striking silvery fan shape leaves are deeply divided into very weeping segments. The flower sprays are about as long as the leaves and the fruits are brown. For warm temperate and subtropical regions; this Palm is very heat, cold and drought tolorant. Hardy from zone 8 to 12 ( possibly 7 ) it can tolorate 7 F with no damage. Adaptable and grows well in southeast U.S.

Serenoa repens ( Saw Palmetto )

This southeast U.S. Palmetto is the one and only member of the Serenoa family. It often forms large colonies of dense clumps , especially in coastal areas and pine forest. Growing up to 15 feet tall and 20 feet across with a trunk diameter up to 1.5 feet ( more often no trunk at all ) - the alltime tallest recorded Saw Palmetto is only 30 feet.
The 4 foot fan shaped leaves are born on very thorny stalks and are deeply divided into stiff segments. Depending on clone and soil conditions the foliage ranges from yellow-green to silvery-green to bluish.
The woolly flowerheads up to 24 inches long bear fragrant cream flowers.
The fruits are small blue-black berries. The berries have medicinal value in possibly reducing enlarged prostates. They may even increase the production male sex hormones.
Hardy from zone 7 to 12 this Palm can tolerate as cold as 12 and dies off at 3 F

* photo taken on Jan 3 2011 @ Deerfield Beach Arboretum, Florida


These long lived Palms grow best on moist, fertile, well drained soils sheltered from winds in sun or part shade. Dead fronds should be removed especially in drier climates where they can become a fire hazard. new plants grown from fresh seed sown in spring

* photo taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum

Trachycarpus fortunei ( Chusan Palm. Windmill Palm )

This cold hardy Palm is widely cultivated around the world. Native to central and eastern China and northern Burma; this Trachy grows to 33 feet in height in 20 years and up to 50 feet ( record size to 70 feet tall with crown to 16 feet across ) with a trunk up to a foot across. On ideal site this Palm can become fast growing - the most recorded being 32 inches in a year and 20 feet in height in 7 years. 50 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 1.3 feet has been recorded in 35 years.
Old leaf bases and dark brown fibers cover the trunk. The up to 7 foot wide dark green ( blue-green below ) fan shaped leaves are divided into numerous segments up to 34 inches long each. The small yellow flower clusters are followed by dark blue 0.5 inch fruits.
Living up to 100 years or more. Hardy from zone 8 to 10 - a seed source originating from Bulgaria is reported to be zone 7 hardy or even zone 6 if sheltered and has survived - 12 F with claims of - 20 F

* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.

* video found on Youtube of Windmill Palms growing in British Columbia, Canada

Trachycarpus 'Khasa Hills'

A Trachycarpus martianus hybrid hardy north to zone 7 with easier falling dead leaves. Smooth white ringed stem.

Trachycarpus latisectus ( Windamere Palm )

Reaching up to 40 feet in height; this Palm as huge circular fan shaped leaves like Livistonia that naturally shed. Hardy from zone 6b - 10; this Trachy tolerates both heat as well as bitter cold and snow. Trunk growth of 12 inches and more reported for a year.

Trachycarpus martianus ( Himalayan Fan Palm )

From Burma and northern India; this slender trunked Palm is fast growing reaching up to 50 feet in height and 12 feet in crown width. Most of the trunk is smooth except for fibers just below the crown. The dark green large evenly divided fan shaped leaves are borne on thin stalks up to 40 inches long. The leaflets are up to 60 inches long. Black oblong fruits follow the drooping displays of yellow flowers. Hardy from zone 8 to 11

Trachycarpus nanus ( Yunnan Dwarf Palm )

This endangered Palm is native to the mountains of west China; has no trunk and reaches 6 feet in height at most. This extremely cold tolerant clump Palm with bluish leaves is hardy north to zone 6 ( possible 5 ). No damage at - 10 F

Trachycarpus oreophilis

Not very well known. This native of the mountains of northern Thailand is reportedly hardy north to zone 7

Trachycarpus princeps ( Saramati Palm )

Growing up to 10 feet tall and 7 feet across; this Palm has very silver-white fronds and is hardy north to zone 8 ( 7 for variety 'Naga Hills' )

Trachycarpus takil ( Kumane Palm )

Nearly extinct; from w. Himalayas where winters are cold and snowy this Palm is smaller but mostly otherwise similar to Trachycarpus fortunei. The difference is the fan shaped leaves being less divided and the trunk completely covered in dense brown fibers. The small white flowers in branched clusters are followed by purplish fruit.
Growing up to 45 feet in height; this Palm is fast growing up to 16 inches per year.
Hardy north to zone 7 and even unconfirmed reports of zone 6!

Trachycarpus wagneri

From Japan; this Palm grows up to 33 feet in height with a crown up to 8 feet across. It can grow up to 1 foot or more in height per year. Fronds are fan shaped and often no more than a foot across. Much more wind tolerant than Trachycarpus fortunei and can tolerate 0 F. Great for growing on the coast and has been grown in Iceland.

Trithrinax - needs full sun and best in rich, well drained soil. Grows best if kept moist though very tolorant of drought.

Trithrinax acanthocoma ( Spiny Piber Palm )

From Brazil and Argentina; this slow growing Palm grows to 15 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 4 inches. The solitary stout trunk is densely covered in dark brown spiky fiber. The fan shaped leaves are gray-green and up to 3 feet wide. The leaflets reach 24 x 2 inches. The long showy sprays of creamy-white flowers are followed by round cream colored berries up to an inch across. Slow growing and drought tolerant. Hardy from zone 8b to 10 tolerating 10 F. Unconfirmed reports of zone 7 hardiness.

Trithrinax brasiliensis

Hardy north to zone 7b in dry climates; this very fast growing Palm can reach up to 30 feet tall with a crown width of 10 feet and a trunk diameter of 8 inches. Endangered in the wild; this Palm is native to Brazil & n. Argentina. The blue-green fan shape fronds are up to 7 feet wide with leaf segments up to 28 inches long. The trunk is both very fibrous and very spiny. Light green grape like fruits follow the sprays of small pale yellow flowers. Becoming popular in cultivation this Palm is very drought tolerant. It can survive on as little as 5 inches of rain in a year.

Trithrinax campestris

Growing up to 100 feet tall with a crown width of 12 feet and a trunk diameter of up to 20 inches; this Palm tolerates as cold as 0 F ( brief exposure in dry climate ) as well as desert heat. Very stiff leaves. Native to Argentina. It is known to have survived in a walled garden in London, England.

The prolific fruits are produced mid to late summer in clusters up to 10+ pounds.
They prefer full sun on moderately moist, fertile soil.
Propagation is easy from seed.

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