Thursday, November 17, 2011

Needle Palm

Rhapidophyllum hystrix ( Needle Palm )

A suckering clump Palm, native to the Florida panhandle, that is usually slow growing but recorded growing as fast as 5 feet tall and wide in 3 years on ideal sites. It can reach 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide in 10 years or 10 feet tall and 16 feet wide in 50 years. The largest recorded is 14 feet in height. The trunk typically grows no taller than 12 inches in height. The fan shaped leaves are up to 5 ( rarely over 3 ) feet across and borne on stalks up to 7 feet long.
Each leaf is composed of up to 20 leaflets which are dark green above and silvery below. It is hardy north to zone 6 and reported to survive as low as - 26 F though with severe leaf dieback. Has been grown successfully on protected sites in northern Ohio and Michigan and survived in Colorado Springs, CO. Endangered in wild in its native southern U.S.A.! The Needle Palm requires hot summers with temperatures reaching up to the 90s on a regular basis. Young plants should be protected with burlap during the first few winters in colder climates.

* photo taken on Feb 2009 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* looking resonably good after the severe 2011 winter


* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.










* photo taken on Aug 3 2014 @ National Zoo, Wash., DC

* photos taken on Feb 8 2014 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Nov 19 2016 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* historic archive photos


RELATED SPECIES

Nannorrhops ritchiana ( Mazari Palm )
An extremely rare, fast growing, multi-trunked fan palm that is native to mountainous areas of Pakistan, northern India and Afghanistan where it is endangered. Some records include: largest on record - 30 x 25 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot ( though usually seen as a shrub ).
The leathery, fan-shaped leaves, up to 4.5 feet across, are blue-green.
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 6a to 9 in full sun on well drained soils in dry climates. It can tolerate as low as -14 F if dry during winter and can also easily tolerate 125 F during summer and actually requires hot summers. Very drought tolerant.
It thrives well in places such as California, Italy and southern France.

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