Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

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  • Show reader our exciting new plant arrivals
  • Also present desirable and requested species
  • New additions with photos added ever few days
  • Jump to older parts of this from links below
  • Includes palms, cycads and tropical plants
  • Species presented in reverse order with most recent at top


  • Brief comments given about species presented
  • Information on sun and cold tolerance given when known
  • Pictures of mature specimens given when possible
  • Ease of growth discussed where applicable

  • On some, prices given below


  • Occasional special offers made in this blog
  • Specials expire when removed from this section
  • To get special pricing you must mention this special at time of purchase
  • Specials apply to both drop in visits and mail order 



  • Shipping or deliver available on most items
  • We ship to all states within the U.S.
  • No international shipping
  • Plants typically shipped in their containers with soil
  • Some states require phytosanitary permits
  • To order, just call us at:  619 291 4605


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MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012


Sometimes known as the "Teddy Bear Palm",
this species is an absolute must for any
garden in the coastal area of Southern CA.
It was introduced about twenty years ago
and has proved to be a gorgeous plant.  It
in thin trunked, gets to about 20 feet tall,
and has a rusty-orange-red fuzzy crown
shaft. The trunk is a silver blue color with
prominent rings.  Cold hardiness is into the
mid-twenties F. and along the coast it can
take can full sun.  Inland locations would
require some sun protection.  Most
enthusiasts would list this species on the
"top twenty" list for sure.  It is becoming
somewhat hard to find lately.  Shown here
is a 25g plant forming some trunk.  I'm
showing various pictures so you can get
a feel for the plant.  Also shown are some
garden specimens.  Although we have
very limited supplies, we sell 5g, 15g and
25 g sizes.  The fifth picture is a habitat
photo from Madagascar donate by JS.
If you like colorful palm trees, this species
is a "no brainer" for your garden.
Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos trunk
Dypsis leptocheilos in garden, juvenile
Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos crown Dypsis leptocheilos
We've discussed this great palm previously on
this blog, but I wanted to show a few more
pictures.  This species is from New
Zealand.  It gets to about 25 feet, but this
will take several decades.  When I think of
this species, I remember most the upright
leaves and the thick, bulging crown shaft. 
Rhopalostylis sapida would also be on most
people's top twenty list.  It can tolerate full
sun if you are within five to eight miles of
the ocean in Southern CA.  Most people
in other areas give it morning sun or
filtered light.  Getting trunk from a planted
nursery plant may take five to seven years.
Cold tolerance is about 22 or 23 degrees F.
The most common mistake is giving it too
much sun if you live in a hot area.  Shown
here is a nursery plant, 25g and a much
smaller 5g plant from our place.  We also
have 15g size for sale, shown below.  Be
aware that there are several forms of this
species and we them for sale as well.
They differ in the appearance of the leaves
and overall size.  Another day I will show
pictures of different types of Rhopalostylis.
Rhopalostylis sapida 25g Rhopalostylis sapida, 5g

Rhopalostylis sapida rusty 15g rhopalostylis spaida Rhopalostylis sapaida
Rhopalostylis sapida
25 gallon size
Rhopalostylis sapida 5g
5 gallon size
Rhopalostylis sapida 15g
15g size

This is a slow growing New World cycad species
that comes from Mexico.  It is very attractive.  One
of the things that is particularly nice about this species
is that the crown size is compact and not that large. 
For this reason, it fits into a small sunny location
in the garden where no other plant would work.  Its
leaves are a silver-green in color and it holds many 
leaves.  An extremely old plant might have a foot or
two of trunk.  In the wild there are specimens that are
possibly a thousand years old with many meters of
trunk, often leaning over toward the ground.  But,
from a practical point of view, it is a small plant. 
Cold hardiness is into the low 20's F. and it prefers
full sun except for harsh desert climates.  We offer
many sizes of this species from seedlings up to
trunked plants that are many decades old. 
For mail orders, this is a perfect size to ship.  We can
easily ship plants up to the 15g size and even boxed
specimens if needed.   Some of the nursery plants

you see here are extremely old specimens.  The last
pictures shows how new leaves are very upright.  If one
cuts off older leaves, this species has very little
lateral spread and can fit into rather small areas.  I
hope that you like this cycad; it's one of my favorites.
For upscale landscaping, nothing beats it.
Dioon merolae  Dioon merolae 
Dioon merolae  Dioon merolae  Dioon merolae 
Dioon merolae box Dioon merolae cluster
an interesting clustering specimen
Dioon merolae crown of leaves



We have found that this Central African
cycad species is a quick growing plant
and has a very green leaf with a distinctive
appearance.  It is easy to grow and has
some frost tolerance, probably into the
mid twenties F.  It can develop an six
foot trunk with leaves than can be
eight to ten feet long.  It will tolerate
sun except in inland areas.  To the right
is first a nice citrus pot plant, then a
15g plant.  Below is a picture of a
garden specimen, a close-up of
the leaf of a 15g container plant,
and a male cone.  We have all sizes
for sale up to boxed specimens.  
Encephalartos kisambo cit pot Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo leaf Encephalartos kisambo cone


I just got in a few plants of a very rare species of Chamaedorea.  You will not see this species mentioned in standard palm tree references.  But, Don Hodel's book on the genus has some information.  This is a South American species from Brazil and Peru.  It is on the eastern Andean slopes to an elevation of about 2000 feet.  It is a solitary species with a trunk height of four to 15 feet, one inch thick trunks, leaves three to five feet long with a good sized petiole, mottled green crown shaft (leaf bases) and petioles and reportedly fragrant flowers.  Although the plants we have are not mature nor exceptionally well grown (were outdoors in quite cold weather), photos here show you some of the characteristics of this species.  The green and white mottled stem are very unusual.  It is a shade palm and I suspect cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties, which these plants have already seen.  If interested, contact me immediately as these will sell out in a matter of a day or two. 
Chamaedorea angustisecta 5g Chamaedorea angustisecta
Chamaedorea angustisecta Chamaedorea angustisecta Chamaedorea angustisecta
Chamaedorea angustisecta Chamaedorea angustisecta  

This popular suckering, medium sized palm comes from Madagascar and surrounding islands by report.  It is sometimes called the "Yellow Cane Palm" because it has as a predominant color yellow in the trunks, leaf stems and even the leaves.  it gets to a height of about 15 to 20 feet.  Sometimes you'll see plants in full sun that never get over ten feet.  It's trunks are typically two to three inches in diameter, sometimes a silver gray color.  It is crown shafted.  Leaves are typically about five feet long.  It suckers freely and as a younger plant looks quite bushy.  Over time, many of the smaller suckers die off giving an eventual plant with perhaps five to ten stems and sometimes just a few.  Leaves are typically flat or slightly keeled.  In habitat, one might say that this is a "complex" of plants as many variations to this description are evident.  In Southern California, it is not unusual to occasionally see this species in domestic plantings.  Along the coast it can tolerate (and perhaps prefers) full sun.  In far inland areas, some sun protection is needed.  Cold tolerance is into the mid and perhaps lower twenties F.  Shown here  (with our in-house comedian Rusty) are some ten gallon plants that we just got in.  For one week we are having these on special for $150 (normally $175).  They are seven to nine feet tall and very full and attractive.   We have larger and some smaller for sale.  Also shown is a mature clump at an apartment building here in Encinitas and another shot of mature foliage. 
Dypsis lutescens 10g Dypsis lutescens 10g
Dypsis lutescens Dyspis lutescens at apartment Dypsis lutescens


This is a very rare and hard to find species that is monocarpic, single stem and has leaves all in one plane.  This means that the foliage is presented in a flat, single plane.  It is native to Western Asia in areas from Thailand to India.  It is present in mountainous areas to heights of 4000 feet and therefore has a good deal of cold hardiness.  The arrangement of the leaves in a single plane gives this species its name with the pairing off in the same plant of two leaves.  When people see this palm they tend to be impressed and drawn to it.  It gets to about thirty feet tall with a one foot thick trunk.  I've seen various specimens of this species grown successfully in Southern California.  As mentioned, once this species flowers the plant will die.  Cold hardiness is probably into the upper twenties F.  It is not quite as cold hardy as several other species in this genus.  Shown here is a 5g plant of this species.  We also have smaller plants for sale.  Also shown are some pictures of mature plants.  One shot shows Rusty with a blossom removed from a local fruiting tree.   A close up of the leaf and trunk are shown.  You can see how its leaflets resemble Arenga or even Caryota.   The last picture shows the tiny seeds that I collected from a fruiting tree.
Wallichia disticha 5g Wallichia disticha
Wallichia disticha 5g Wallichia disticha Wallichia disticha
Wallichia disticha Wallichia disticha blossom Wallichia disticha leaf
Wallichia disticha trunk Wallichia disticha Wallichia disticha seeds



FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012

Our nursery has over a mile of running plant tables or walkways where plants are placed.  So, sometimes one finds some real lost treasures in the bowels of the nursery.  Such is the case when, yesterday, a customer found and purchased an extremely rare plant that even I didn't know we still had.  I thought immediately that I should show photographs of this species as it's so rare and you never get a chance to see it.

Probably the fact that it is from Cuba contributes to the fact that it is rarely seen.  It has a trunk that is usually between three to four inches tall and a few inches wide.  True to its name, the leaves are about a foot long and green in color.  This plant is a male and I've taken various photos of its cones.  They are approximately two inches long and brown in appearance.  However, on close inspection, they have a red color between the cone scales.  This plant is probably about fifteen years old.  There are two small caudexes in the pot with a third one forming.  These are largely subterranean and hard to see in the photos.  But, this verifies that this species does sucker.  I am not positive about the cold hardiness of this species because we've had so few.  This plant has seen 33 degrees F. inside our greenhouse.  But, I'd estimate it's in the mid-twenties, perhaps a bit higher.  It is known to tolerate coastal sun or strong filtered light.

The last two photographs are of a female plant and seeds that this plant produced.  I apologize, but I can't give proper credit for these two photos as they are old and in my computer's galleries.  But, you can see it's from a private collection.  It's a shame that this species is so rare because, with its small size, it would be a fun potted cycad or a nice species for people with limited space.  Other rare small Zamia which we grow include Z. kickxii, amblyphyllidia and another called "Dwarf Cuba".      
Zamia pygmaea Zamia pygmaea
Zamia pygmaea Zamia pygmaea zamia pygmaea
Zamia pygmaea Zamia pygmaea, photo by unknown person
unknown photographer
Zamia pygmaea seeds
unknown photographer


This species of Chamaedorea is from Mexico and Central America.  it is a thin trunked, solitary species that gets to a height of about eight to ten feet.  The leaves are about two feet long on a long petiole.  Leaflets are thick, leathery, shiny and puffy in shape with a pointed drip tip.  Also note how there is essentially no stem to the leaflets; they are closely attached to the petiole.  And, the leaflets tend to be oval in shaped, flexed down and end in a fine point.  There is also a prominent gap between the leaflets, typical of this species.  We just got in these beauties and they are interior quality and about seven feet tall in their pots.  They are being grown in attractive groups of five to six plants per pot.  This gives a much fuller appearance.  This is an extremely attractive house plant.  In the garden it thrives here in Southern California.  It is a filtered light plant with a cold tolerance of about 25 degrees F.  These beauties can be easily shipped right to your door.
Chamaedorea oblongata Chamaedorea elegans mulitiples
Chamaedorea oblongata Chamaedorea oblongata Chamaedorea oblongata
Chamaedorea oblongata    




People frequently ask me what is the best size to purchase when getting unusual palm trees.  This, of course, depends on one's budget.  But, we've found that most
people prefer the 5 gallon and 15 gallon size.   Our one gallon and band size plant are typically pretty nice and have some age, but, with these, you are still purchasing
a small plant.  With a 5 gallon plant, you are typically getting a plant that is ready to go in the garden.  Acclimation may be needed, but it's far enough along to take hold
and grow well.  The larger 15g are further along in this process.  For mail orders, the 5 gallon size is definitely more affordable to ship.

Today I wanted to show you an assortment of desirable 5 gallon plants.  I took most of these photos yesterday.  All are unusual and rare.  All are
available.  I won't be making comments on this group.  Nearly all of these plants have been locally grown and seen temperatures at least into the low 30's F.  Sizes in
the containers range from two to five feet tall.

I hope this gives you a quick opportunity to scan a large number of species that are difficult to find.  At the nursery I just randomly grabbed and photographed
these plants.  In the next week or so, I will be showing a large number of other exciting new arrivals.

Cyphophoenix elegans 5g
Cyphophoenix elegans
Burretiokentia hapala 5g
Burretiokentia hapala
Burretiokentia koghiensis 5g
Burretiokentia koghiensis
Allagoptera arenaria 5g
Allagoptera arenaria
Trithrinax schizophylla 5g
Trithrinax schizophylla
Rhapis multifida 5g
Rhapis multifida
Rhopalostylis sapida 5g
Rhopalostylis bauerii
Beccariophoenix alfredii 5g
Beccariophoenix alfredii
Archontophoenix tuckeri 5g
Archontophoenix tuckeri
Bismarckia nobilis 5g
Bismarckia nobilis
Arenga obtusifolia 5g
Arenga obtusifolia
Ceroxylon amazonicum 5g
Ceroxylon amazonicum
Chamaedorea radicalis 5g
Chamaedorea radicalis
Dypsis crinita 5g
Dypsis crinita
Euterpe edulis 5g
Euterpe edulis
Hedyscepe canterburyana 5g
Hedyscepe canterburyana
Ravenea hildebrandtii 5g
Ravenea hildebrandtii
Ravenea glauca 5g
Ravenea glauca
Carpoxylon macrosperma 5g
Carpoxylon macrosperma
Brahea decumbens 5g
Brahea decumbens
Clinostigma savoryanum 5g
Clinostigma savoryanum




This is a beautiful and fascinating palm species.  I say this because it is a monotypic palm (only one species) but has several different appearing forms.  And, because all forms are very beautiful and desirable.  It is native to Queensland, Australia.  The species names "australasica" refers to its native locality.  It comes from mountainous areas, up to 4500 feet.  There is a single trunk form of this species and two different appearing suckering forms.  The single trunk form has a somewhat thicker trunk up to four inches and the suckering forms are shorter palms, ten to twelve feet, with thinner trunks.  The trunks are covered with some degree of fibrous material that falls off with age.  The leaves are short, perhaps six feet long with prominent green petioles and leaflets.  In a way, this species is reminiscent of a Howea Palm, but much smaller.  I've heard some people call the suckering form the "Suckering Kentia". 

I mentioned two different suckering forms.  This is important from a cultural point of view.  One form, which tends to grow at lower elevations natively and sees more warmth, has shiny leaves and is red emergent.  It is very slow growing.  Another form does not have red emergent leaves, the leaflets are less shiny and thinner, and it suckers much more readily.  It's this latter form that I like the most.  I say this because, in my experience, it is a better growing palm and does quite well in Southern California.  By report, it is from a higher natural habitat and is more use to cold weather.  I have had, over time, several of this latter type in my garden that grew to maturity and produced thousands of small red seeds. (see picture of one of my plant below)

For whatever reason, this has historically been a difficult palm to locate.  We presently have some one gallons available.  I think they are the thin leaflet variety.  I also have a good amount of seeds coming along, so hopefully over time we'll be able to offer some nice larger plants for sale.  The photos here are random pictures of the various types.  I've noted my plant and the thin leaflet, suckering form.   Note than none of these plants are very large, a nice thing for those seeking a beautiful palm that doesn't get too large.

This species prefers filtered light or perhaps morning sun.  Cold tolerance is about 25 degrees F.
Laccospadix australasica 1g Laccospadix australasica
Laccospadix australasica red leaf Laccospadix australasica Laccospadix a. by HJD
Laccospadix a. photo by HJD.  Single trunk form.
Laccospadix australasica
Suckering form from my garden
Laccospadix australasica Laccospadix austrlasica
Laccospadix a Laccospadix australasica
Thin leaflet, suckering form
Laccospadix a
We presently offering three fantastic blue cycad species being sold in the hard to find seedling stage.  All three species are rare, beautiful, like sun and have low water requirements. 
The first species offered is E. horridus.  This species
is probably the most sought after of the blue Encephalartos.  It is a small to medium sized cycad with very spiny, twisted leaflets that is brilliantly blue in color.  Growth rate is slow, but worth waiting for.  To the right are pictures of a mature plant with a close up of these pokey leaves.  It is a stunning species.  We have one year old seedlings for $55.

The second species is Encephalartos lehmannii, kirkwood
form with its good size and nice re-curve to the
leaves.  This species is an aggressive grower and quite gorgeous when mature.  Seedlings are one year old and also $55 each in the band size.  The second row of photos shows E. lehmanii.

The third blue species is Encephalartos trispinosus.  This species is similar to E. horridus but does not the the "flip" (reflex) on the central lobe of the leaflets.  It also becomes brilliantly blue and is extremely attractive.  The seedlings offered are 3 year old and have three to four leaves.  Price is $55.  See photo.

All three species like full sun except in desert localities where partial sun is preferred.  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's F.  Note, the horridus and lehmanii seedlings are one year old, throwing their second leaf presently.  The trispinosus are older and holding at least three to four leaves. 


Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus leaf
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos lehmanii
This row of photos are Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmanii Encephalartos lehmannii
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus this row
Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus
E. horridus
E. horridus, band size seedling
E. lehmannii kirkwood
E. lehmannii, kirkwood, band
E. trispinosus, seedling band
E. trispinosus, seedling, band


At the nursery, we do try to obtain interesting and
rare tropical foliage plants as much as we can.
Posted here is a great species to add to the garden
in a filtered light environment.  This Philodendron
is a rosette type of plant as opposed to a climbing
species.  It develops very thick stems and wide
leaves.  It is quite rare and hard to find.  We
are offering nice 7g plants, at least five years
old.  Although I don't know cold tolerance for
sure, I'd estimate it can easily take a freeze.
This species doesn't get a lot bigger than you
see here and can occupy a space about 4 foot
diameter.  I like this species and would
recommend it for the garden.  

Philodendron cannifolium Philodendron cannifolium



MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012

This tall, elegant crown shafted palm in native to southern Jamaica.  It can get to a height of over fifty feet with a light gray trunk.  The base is swollen, but the trunk otherwise is columnar and straight.  Its crown shaft is long and an emerald green color.  We were very lucky to get seeds from its habitat.  It lives normally in a very wet, swamp like area and, as you'd expect, loves water.  I've shown here some pictures of 5g plants which we presently have for sale.  Also shown are a 15g and two pictures from the wild.  It is a fairly quick growing species and in most areas wants full sun.  Cold tolerance is uncertain. But, if it's like other Royals, will be somewhere in the mid-twenties F.
One characteristic of this species is that is has very long leaflets that hang down and are on multiple ranks.  Therefore, one gets a more plumose leaf with this type of Royal Palm.  If you are interested in trying a rare crown shafted Royal Palm, this is one you probably won't find anywhere and could be a great addition to your garden.  
Roystonea princeps Roystonea princeps
Roystonea princeps by RL
Roystonea princeps, photo by RL
Roystonea princeps by RL
Roystonea princeps, photo by RL 
Roystonea princeps



I have been wanting to cover this topic for quite
a while.  I first covered this about four months ago.
It is indeed fascinating, this idea of certain types of
hybrids with extremely rare parents.  One of the most
difficult to find, rare and most expensive cycads in
the world is Encephalartos woodii.  There is only
one single plant known to exist from habitat and that
plant is in a botanical garden in Durbin, South Africa.
It is a male and no female plants are known to exist.
It does produce pups and offsets from this original
plant have traveled around the world.  And, these plants
have produced male cones and pollen.  But, there have
never been any females found.  The only way you
can obtain a pure  Encephalarots woodii is to purchase
an offset that is a descendent of this original plant. 
They cost many thousands of dollars to buy.  In this
first part here, I am showing you the pure male plants
from domestic collections.  This species is a large
cycad with a preference for sun and heat.  The leaflets
overlap to some extent and have prominent wide
barbs.  It is a green cycad species.     
Encephalartos woodii Encephalartos woodii


Because it is impossible to produce seedlings of pure E.
enthusiasts have used the pollen from a mature male
pure E. woodii to cross with other similar species.  It is
felt that Encephalartos natalensis is genetically the closest
to E. woodii.   Therefore, and historically, pollen has been
used to pollinate receptive female cones of this species.
Shown here is a superb 15g E. natalensis x woodii.  Also
shown is a smaller citrus pot of this F1 hybrid.  It has
always been felt that doing such a hybrid gives a "normal'
collector the chance to have a plant that has similarities
to woodii.  These plants are the original or F2 hybrids.
Pollen from a pure woodii is given to a pure female
Encephalartos natalensis. 
E. natalensis x woodii


This is considered a "backcross", where the pollen from one of the parents (not necessarily the same actual parent, but rather from the same species) is used to fertilize the female cone of one of the first, or F1 hybrids.  This gives an F2 hybrid.  The hybrid notation above has parenthesis around the seed producing female.  And, the second part of the name gives the pollen bearing species. 

This backcross is an attempt to produce offspring that are genetically closer to pure woodii.  Getting one of these plants is a very desirable thing and typically takes many years for the first crosses to mature, display their cones and be old enough to set seeds.  These are culled out to select the offspring that have the most prominent characteristics of pure woodii.  Third generation backcrosses are presently being done (by report) from such selected offspring.  Shown here are some of the "double backcrosses" we've had at the nursery. 

E. natalensis x woodii x woodii E. natalensis x woodii x woodii


E. natalensis x woodii x woodii E. nat x woodii x woodii  




Pollen from a pure male E. woodii has been used to
pollinate a variety of cones from other Encephalartos
species.  I am going to show you a few here.  Obviously,
I cannot show mature specimens as they may not exist
elsewhere or I might not know of them.  Typically an
F1 hybrid will take on characteristics of both parents.
One sees this with palms as well.  The cross shown here
is between Encephalartos altensteinii and E. woodii.
With hybrid work, one really doesn't know what the
offspring will look like until they are grown.  And, plants
from various seeds from the resulting hybrid cone
may look quite different.  Genetic penetration from
the parents might be variable.  Remember, all of your kids
don't look the same!  I am going to show close up photo
of the leaflets as well. 
Encephalartos altensteinii x woodii Encephalartos altensteinii x woodii


This is an interesting hybrid because of the prominent
spines on the arenarius.  Obviously, one would expect
to get a green hybrid, and this is what occurs.  And, one
would expect a plant with prominent leaflet lobes.  We
see this as well.  Shown is a citrus pot size of this hybrid
with a close up of the leaflets.  Note how these lower
leaflets have (already) very prominent wide lobes on
the edge of the leaflets.  This should prove to be a very
attractive plant with interesting leaflets.
Encephalartos arenarius x woodii Encephalartos arenarius x woodii


Hybrids of E. woodii are perhaps left up to the imagination
of the hybridizer, often dependent on what receptive
females are available.  This cross might be such a case.
I show it here because it is sought after and has a
distinctive appearance.  Here you can see we got a
very prickly lobed leaflet.  But, the color is not as blue
as a horridus. 
Encephalartos horridus x woodii Encephalartos horridus x woodii



SUMMARY Encephalartos woodii is an extremely rare, expensive and sought after species of cycad.  All pure woodii plants that you may come across have come from one known original male plant located in South Africa.  No female plants are known to exist.  This species is extinct in the wild.  Male plants produce pollen.  This pollen has been used by enthusiasts on receptive females of other Encephalartos species.  This is typically done out of curiosity and the desire to produce offspring which are beautiful and unique in the plant world.  The concept of crossing pollen with Encephalartos natalensis (the genetically closest cycad to woodii) is a more scientific approach to try to "recreate" what was somehow lost in evolution.  Hybrids (back crosses) to the third order are now being grown.  The thinking is that someday we'll be back to a nearly pure Encephalartos woodii again.  And, this will give the world female plants for further propagation of the species.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, there are some fascinating hybrids with other species available from time to time.


SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2012

This is a very rare, smaller cycad from Mexico that has a noticeably plumose leaf.  This means that the leaves come off the stem in an irregular fashion as opposed to the typical flat plane pinnate plant.  Its stem gets to a maximum size of about 16 inches with a three to four inch diameter.  Its leaves are short, about two to four feet long.  The photographs of the mature nursery specimen shown here demonstrate the unique plumose character of the leaves.  It is similar in appearance to the Ceratozamia norstogii (plumosa) that is seen more frequently.  I have heard it said that if one could "untwirl" the leaves of norstogii, the leaf would be flat.  With doing this on zaragozae, the leaves would still be plumose. This means that the leaflets emerge in an irregular pattern from the leaf stem in terms of the longitudinal axis, as opposed to a flat leaf just twirling in a spiral fashion.  After inspecting plants, I think this statement is probably true. 

In general, C. norstogii is a bigger plant compared to zaragozae with a female cone that has larger barbs on the cone.  Cz zaragozae can tolerate coastal sun or bright filtered light.  Its cold tolerance is estimated to be into the low 20's F.  I am showing you a lot of photos here as nowhere on the Net can you find good pictures of this species with close up views.  Although we no longer have them available, I'm showing you a photo of a one gallon plant as well, grown from seed.  By the way, this larger plant is a male.  The last photo is Ceratozamia norstogii (plumosa) for comparison.  Its leaves are not particular plumose on this plant, but I chose it to show you how, if this leaf just twirled, it would take on an appearance similar to zaragozae.  Most of them do twirl.
Ceratozamia zaragozae Ceratozamia zaragozae
Ceratozamia zaragozae Ceratozamia zaragozae Ceratozamia zaragozae
Ceratozamia zaragozae Ceratozamia zaragozae 1g Ceratozamia plumosa
Ceratozamia norstogii (plumosa)


This is a medium sized fan palm from Hispaniola in the Caribbean.  It is most known for the silver underside of the leaves and thin trunk.  Height is typically under twenty feet (sometimes taller) with a trunk diameter of six to eight inches.  The leaf crown size is not overly large.  Leaves are four to five feet wide.  Its trunk have a beautiful, woven pattern that is quite attractive.  But, the most prominent characteristic that attracts collectors is the brilliant silver color on the underside of the leaves. 

This, like all Coccothrinax, likes full sun exposure along the coast.  The limiting factor on this species will be the cold you see.  it can tolerate temperatures a bit into the twenties F.  Growth rate is slow, especially as a smaller plant.  It is one of the more attractive members of this genus and sought after.  Shown here are juvenile 2g and 5g sizes.  Also shown are mature specimens.  Note how below the dorsal (upper) side of the leaf is a green or silver green color whereas the underside shown next definitely is more silver.  This silver color is gorgeous when the plant is overhead and reflecting light.  I think several of the mature plants demonstrate the great coloration of the leaves and why people seek out this species.   
Coccothrinax argentata Coccothrinax argentata 5g
Coccothrinax argentata 2g leaf Coccothrinax argentata under side leaf Coccothrinax argentata
Coccothrinax argentata Coccothrinax argentata Coccothrinax argentata


FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012

This genus is mostly native to Hawaii, but some species
extend into the South Pacific.  At our nursery, we
specialize in the native species from Hawaii because
they are more cold tolerant and easier to grow in
Southern California.  All are tropical fan palms
and all are very desirable.  For those of you who "only
like feather palms", think again.  These plants are
gorgeous and add a real diversity to the garden.  There
are about 25 or so species in this genus, and at any time
we typically offer ten or more species for sale.  They
tend to be small to medium sized palms, typically
under 20 feet of height with thin or medium sized
trunks.  The leaves are near entire and often flat in
their shape.  They are easy to grow and some tolerate
temperatures into the mid-twenties F.  In coastal areas
they take full or part day sun.  Inland they may be grown
in strong filtered light.  We have all sizes from seedlings
to boxed sized plants.  Shown here are an array of sizes
and species.  Come visit us and you'll be pleasantly
surprised to see that we have hundreds of this genus
for sale.  Over the past 3 decades we have sold
thousands of Pritchardia  of all species and
everyone loves them.  We are one of the only nurseries
in the country that offers so many species and
sizes of Pritchardia.   By the way, Pritchardia are
the only true palm species native to the Hawaiian
Islands.  All other palm species were introduced by man!
Pritchardia pritchardia
pritchardia leaf pritchardia pritchardia 5g


This is a single trunk, pinnate, crown-
shafted palm species from northern
Australia.  It gets to 40 feet or more and
has a rather thin trunk.  It is a fast grower.
Cold tolerance is slightly below a freeze.
It is uncommonly seen in Southern CA.
It is a species that should be started in
strong filtered light and then allowed to
grow upwards into full sun.  Shown is
a 5g plant and a mature specimen.  This
species is seldom seen for sale in CA.
I am also showing a close up photo of
the crown shaft and red fruit.
Carpentaria acuminata Carpentaria acuminata



This species from Zimbabwe, Africa, has always been a bit of a confusion because this area has several similar species and identifying them taxonomically was difficult.  For this reason, a few decades ago, plants were considered to be in the "Manikensis Complex".  Other put into this group later became species such as E. gratus, E. chimanimaniensis, concinus, bandula, etc.  Encephalartos manikensis is a medium sized cycad.  Trunks can get up to three or even five feet tall.  Clustering does occur.  Leaves are about six feet long, leaflets one inch wide.  Leaves are held upright at about a 45 degree angle. 

As it is a Central African cycad, one will find that it does better with humidity than some of the South African species and is not quite as cold hardy.  For this reason, it does quite well in the SE areas of the U.S. where cold is not an issue.  It will tolerate a freeze and can usually take temperatures down into the mid-twenties.  At our nursery, plants has easily withstood temperatures of 25 degrees F. without any problems.  Sun exposure is another issue that you must consider.  Along the coast, full sun is tolerated well.  In inland locations, consider part day sun.  In desert areas, filtered light would be best.  I'm showing here a whole assortment of plants, from boxed specimens to seedlings.  Also shown is a garden specimen.  We have a good supply of this species in all sizes for sale.
Encephalartos manikensis 15g Encephalartos manikensis 15g
E. manikensis box E. manikensis leaf E. manikensis leaves
E. manikensis box Encephalartos manikensis band E. manikensis garden


 I have written a very comprehensive article on this species,
found elsewhere at this website.  I'll put the link to this article at the end below.  This species is from South America and can get over fifty feet tall with the thickest trunk of any palm species.  Specimens over four feet diameter have been reported.  They are very slow growing and it takes decades to get a nice, mature plant.  Mature trunks are clean of leaf bases, the color of the leaves is almost always green, the leaves are essentially flat in cross section or have a minimal keel to them.  The petioles are unarmed.  At the nursery we have all sizes for sale and
occasional broker large mature specimens.  Shown here first is a 5g plant which is easily shipped for mail order.  Next is a 15g which can also be shipped, but costs a lot more for shipping.
The third photo shows how the leaves are flat in cross section and more or less upright with minimal re-curve.  The leaf stems are rather clean at the base and have no barbs.  The final tree
shows a specimen in San Diego.  This particular plant has a bit of blue color.  But, I said Jubaea leaves are green.  It is known that a small percentage of this species are blue-green in color, and we also have a few of these for sale.  Do note how the trunk on a mature trunk is clean appearing.  This species is a full sun plant and is cold tolerant to about 15 degrees F.  Below is the link for a full article on this species.


Jubaea chilensis 5g
Jubaea, 5g size 
Jubaea chilensis 15g
Jubaea, 15g size  
Jubaea chilensis leaves  Jubaea chilensis 15g base  Jubaea chilensis 



Caryotas are a Fishtail Palm.  Yesterday I discussed
another species of this group, Caryota urens, but
made reference to this larger trunked species.  Caryota
is a rather recent arrival to the nursery trade.  It
is from northern Thailand and has gone by a whole
assortment of common names as mentioned above.
It is known for its very beautiful appearance and for the
thickness of the trunk.  It is a giant of a species with 
a very sizeable trunk that needs room to grow  It tolerates
full sun in most areas but may burn in the desert full sun.
It's growth rate is fast.  Cold tolerance is about 22 degrees.
Trunk diameter is 2 to 3 feet and typical overall
height is 35 to perhaps 40 feet.  Shown is a good
sized 15g plant, perfect to plant in the garden.
Also shown are several photos of a boxed plant,
a 5g plant and a close up of the leaves.  Below is a photo
of a mature specimen and a close up of the leaf.  
Note that the leaves are very large, sometimes up to
15 feet in length and very wide.  It is interesting
to compare this gigas to the Caryota urens
below.  The latter is quicker growing vertically,
has a thinner trunk and shorter leaves.  C. gigas
has an enormous trunk, longer and broader
leaves, produces more shade, and doesn't get
as tall.  Make sure you plant either of these two
species a good distance from the house.  If you are a
palm enthusiast, you're going to try at least one
Caryota, and this is a very nice species to try. 
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas box Caryota gigas 5g Caryot gigas leaf
Caryota gigas Carytoa gigas  




Hyohorbe is a genus of single trunk palms from the Mascarene Islands.  All are unique and sought after.  The most popular is the Bottle Palm, Hyophorbe lagenicualis.  Here we are discussing H. verschafeltii, the Spindle Palm.  I mention these two because there are differences and the latter palm is more cold hardy and there's a better chance of success with it in Southern California. 

People get these two mixed up.  But, there's a simple way to tell them apart.  The Bottle Palm gets the bulge in the trunk from the ground level; i.e., it swells from the base.  The Spindle palm starts smaller at the base and bulges in the middle or toward the top of the trunk, below the crown shaft.  Also, the Spindle Palm has more yellow in it whereas the Bottle Palm has more red in the petioles and leaves.  Both are more or less dwarf palms, rarely over ten feet.  Both like full, hot sun.  But, H. verschafeltii can tolerate about five more degrees of cold weather.  It can take down to about a freeze.  Not so with the Bottle Palm. 

Shown to the right are 2g and a small 15g plant.  Below, note the classic appearance of the Spindle Palm.  Note the location of the bulge, giving it a 'cigar trunk".  Crown shafts are similar.  The bottom row of photos shows the Bottle Palm so you can compare it.  Also shown is a Spindle Palm grown in the shade.  Note that such conditions fail to give it a nice bulge in the trunk. This species wants full sun.   A well known trio of this species can be found close to the CostCo in East San Diego.  These plants, last time I checked, had six to eight feet of trunk and have been there for over twenty years.  Also of note, imports of this species to California are never seen.  This is because the Spindle Palm is susceptible to Lethal Yellow Disease.  Therefore, plants of this species cannot be imported into California from Florida.  So, CA nurseries have to grow them from seeds.  Bottle Palms are apparently free of this risk.  
Hyophorbe verschafeltii 2g Hyophorbe verschafeltii 15g
Hyophorbe verschafeltii Hyophorbe verschafeltii trunk Hyophorbe verschafeltii
Hyophorbe verschafeltii shade
Spindle Palm grown in shade
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis
H. lagenicaulis, trunk fat at base



This great palm is one of my favorites.  It is native to Lord Howe Island.  This is the same island habitat as Howea species, but Hedyscepe look entirely different.  In contrast to the Kentia Palm, Hedyscepe are a crown shafted palm that has a silver trunk.  A picture below shows how, in the right sun exposure, this species maintains a silver trunk.  Side by side, it's impossible to guess that they are from almost the same locality as the Howea.  Along the coast they tolerate full sun but would like protection inland.  Cold tolerance is the mid-twenties F.  Growth rate is not fast, but steady.  They seem to grow better if given some sun.  Selecting the right exposure in inland areas is tricky.  Shown here is a 20g plant just starting to form trunk.  We have various sizes down to one gallon.  Also shown is a nice domestically grown tree.  Smaller shippable sizes are available.  Simply put, this is a fabulous species for Southern California.  Of note, this species produces beautiful large red fruits, about the size of a golf ball.  Many trees throughout Southern California have produced this fruit.  
Hedyscepe canterburyana 20g hedyscepe
Hedyscepe silver trunk Hedyscepe leaf Hedyscepe base 20g



Caryota are a genus, and all are a type of Fishtail Palm.  This species is single trunk.  It is monocarpic.  This means that, after about two decades, the plant flowers and dies.  Caryota urens
makes a very tall tree and is extremely fast growing.  In Southern California it is the fastest of any palm in terms of vertical growth.  It is considered the ultimate species for forming canopy.  Its trunk matures to a height of fifty feet or more and is about 18 inches thick.  It will get taller and has a thinner trunk
than the presently popular species, Caryota gigas.  Shown here to the right is an exceptional 25g plant.  It is about 16 feet tall.  We also have nice 15g plants as shown below.  The second photo to the right shows two palms, mature, in an Encinitas garden.  Below is a series of Caryota urens planted at the Catamaran Hotel in San Diego.  These plants were fairly short lived because they were field grown and then dug.  Digging triggers the life cycle of Caryotas and threw these palms into blossom.  Unfortunately, the landscape people were unaware of this at the time they purchased and dug these trees.   The last photo is of a mature tree in Balboa Park, San Diego.
Caryota urens 25g Caryota urens
Caryota urens Caryota urens 15g Caryota urens Balboa park






This is a dwarf palm from South America.  It is very cute and petite.  It is a pinnate palm with a fibrous thin trunk and short leaves, typically about three to four feet long.  It has had various name changes over the years and is presently part of the Syagrus genus.   If there were a "true" Baby Queen Palm, this would be it.  It seldom gets over eight feet tall and is very slow growing.  Many are growing this species in Southern California.  I've found they do best if started in filtered light and can grow into the sun where needed.  Interestingly, this is a species that seems to do well with neglect.  If you give them too much attention (water, fertilizer, etc.) they seem to react by having problems.  So, just plant this one and forget it.  Cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties F.  Shown here is a 15g plant and a big 5g.  We only have one or two 15g for sale presently.  Also shown are garden specimens and a close up of a blossom.  Since this species takes up so little space, almost anyone in these parts could try one.
lYTOCARYUM WEDDELIANUM Lytocaryum weddelianum
Lytocaryum w. trunk Lytocaryum w. garden Lytocaryum w. garden
Lytocaryum w. garden Lytocaryum w. garden Lytocaryum w. blossom



We grow about six different types of "King
Palms".  I.e., six different Archontophoenix
species.  Many people just think that there is just
one type of King Palm.  This is not true.  There are
six different species within this genus.  All are a bit
different from the others.  We feel one is superior.

The most common one seen in nurseries is
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana.  This is the
one you'd see if you drive around in So Cal
looking for a King Palm.  But, it is not the
prettiest species and does have problems with
leaf tip burning in full sun.  A. purpurea has
a purple color to the crown shaft and
A. myolensis has a very clean, emerald green
crown shaft. Both have silver color on the under-
side of the leaves. 

Enter Archontophoenix maxima.  I said it
could be the best of all.  I say this because it is
a larger species, has a very thick trunk (almost
resembling a Royal Palm), has a larger crown
of leaves, holding more leaves and each leaf
is more robust and longer.  But, one thing that
really is a preference is that it has much less of
a tendency to brown tip in full sun. This is not
only my personal experience, but also that of
others in So Cal who have grown this species.
The crown shaft is a silver-green color.  It is a
fast growing palm.  Shown here are some photos
of nursery plants followed by multiple photos
showing a mature plant.  Note the crown size and
the thickness of the trunk.  Of note, seeds from
my plant are larger than the regular King Palm
seed.  This species is a winner!  The last photo
shows this species from afar.  Look at the
other Kings beyond it to compare the two.
This species outgrows the regular King Palm
and will get much taller. Note how the leaves
are a darker green with no tip burn and no
yellowing.  All of these things make it "maxima"
for sure and, I think, the best species to choose
when you want a King Palm.  

So, if you want a King Palm, come by and get
this one.  All species are definitely NOT the
same!  We have various sizes for sale and can
ship easily ship them.  I'd estimate cold tolerance
to about 25 degrees, similar to the common
King Palm.
Archontophoenix maxima Archontophoenix maxima
Archontophoenix maxima A. maxima crown shaft A. maxima trunk
A. maxima, leaf A. maxima A. maxima





We are offering a brief special on this species that does well indoors or outdoors in temperate areas.  It is Rhapis excelsa.  It is known as the Lady palm.   It prefers filtered light outdoors and makes a wonderful interior houseplant.  It is fairly disease resistant.  The only problem indoors is the build up of salts in the soil.  This is seen if you use municipal water and will eventually occur with all plants grown inside.  Rhapis excelsa are variable in height.  Some just get to about three feet tall, other over ten feet.  The number of the leaflets and width of these is variable.  to the right you see our 3g size. These are about 30 inches tall in the pot. 

Regular price is $65.  SPECIAL FOR 3 DAYS: $29.99

Cold tolerance is into the upper teens F.  We have limited numbers, so don't miss out.  Call for mail orders.

Also shown are some high quality interior grade 7g plants which are not on special and some mature plants.    
Rhapis excelsa 3g Rhapis excelsa 3g, several
Rhapis excelsa 7g Rhapis excelsa Rhapis excelsa



MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2012

This is a single trunked fan palm from Baja, Mexico with extension of its distribution into Southern California.  It has a very thick trunk.  It resembles the Mexican Fan Palm (W. robusta), but has larger leaves, a more open crown, a much thicker trunk that seems to shed leaves more quickly and has more cold hardiness.  It will tolerate temperatures into the mid-teens F.  One of the reasons for enthusiasm about this species is its cold hardiness.  In domestic gardens, seeds are often hybridized with robusta.  Seeds from wild locations tend to be pure.  This species is hard to locate.  We have some nice one gallon plants that can easily be shipped.  Also shown are a few mature specimens.  The last photo is interesting.  It has a mature W. robusta to the left and what appears to be filifera to the right.  I cannot guarantee that the plant to the right isn't a hybrid.  In any case, not the more open crown and thicker trunk with the filifera.  As the more common Mexican Fan Palm often suffers from cold damage in marginal areas, many feel eager to try the W. filifera in their area.  Obviously, it wants full sun.  Growth rate is a slower than the robusta, but still fairly fast growing.   
Washingtonia filifera 1g Washintonia filifera 1g
Washingtonia filifera Washintonia filifer Washingtonia filifera and robusta
left, W. robusta; right, W. filiferat


This species from Brazil is a good sized palm, similar
to B. capitata, but with less silver to the leaves.  It is known
for having a brown wooly material on the flower spathe.
Cold hardiness is well into the teens F.  Shown here is a 5g
plant.  Also pictured is a mature specimen showing the
leaves curving downward toward the ground.  I don't think
this species is quite as hardy as the more common Pindo
Palm, but it should go into the upper teens F.  It wants full
sun.  We've found it to be a good growing species.   
Butia eriospatha Butia eriospatha




This cycad species is makes a stunning specimen
and is one of my favorites.  It is from South Africa,
an easy cycad to grow, and in most areas likes
full sun.  Its leaf color varies from green to
blue, with many somewhere in between.  The
leaves are curved toward the ground and in
many specimens there is overlapping or
stacking of the leaflets.  Some varieties
have a rather blunt (non-pointed) tip to the
leaflets and this form is sought after by
collectors.  All the photos shown here are of
nursery plants.  This species is so cool that I
thought I'd just show you a whole bunch of
plants.  I hope you like this species because
it looks great in the garden.  Most of these
plants are large, but we have everything from
seedlings up to coning sized specimens as
shown here. In these pictures note the variation in
the leaf color, the leaves that curve toward the
ground, and the tight proximity of the leaflets.
If you only want one cycad, this might be a great
Encephalartos longifolius pot Encephlartos longifolius 15g
Encephalartos longifolius Encephalartos longifolius box Encephalartos longifolius
E. longifolius E. longifolius E. longifolius leaf
E. longifolius, cit pot E. longifolius box E. longifolius bue


I thought this morning I would show you some starter plants.  These are in our "band" containers.  A band container is a square pot. 
It is 3" x 3" x 9".  A lot of growers have started using these containers because they nicely group together in carrying trays. 
A tray will hold 25 plants (five rows of five plants) and can easily be moved or carried.  The nice thing about these pots for consumers
is that these pots give a nice, high quality seedling and they can be easily shipped.  It is very easy to pack four, nine, or sixteen of these
into a "block" and box them up safely.  And, typically the plants in these band containers are good sized, equivalent to a very healthy
one gallon plant.  I'm going to show you an assortment of band sized plants with minimal comments about the species.

Nannorrhops ritcheana
A suckering palm from the Middle East that has anywhere from a green
color to a prominent blue, gets to a height of about eight feet and is
cold hardy into the upper teens F. and likes sun.
Nannorrhops r. band  
A dwarf Sabal that never gets over about four feet tall, is single trunked,
has fan leaves with prominent flower spikes that come above the foliage.
Native to the southern U.S., this species is cold hardy into the mid teens F.
It wants full sun.
Sabal minor band  
This South American palm is a fan palm, suckers, has a very blue color, likes
full hot sun and surprising cold tolerance.  It can take temperatures into
the mid teens F.  Overall height is about ten feet or less.  
Trithrinax campestris band  
This South AFrican rare cycad species is extremely blue when grown in the sun
and never gets overly large.  A plant five feet tall would be a big plant.  It likes
full sun, heat and good drainage.  Cold hardiness is into the low 20's F.
Encephalartos trispinosus  
This is a shade loving dwarf cycad that has interesting groups of leaflets along
the stem.  It typically is never over four feet tall.  It is a very "cute" species
and cold tolerant into the lower twenties f.
Ceratozamia hildae  
This is another South African cycad.  This is a dwarf species with a trunk
that is typically under six to eight inches in size.  Leaves are about three
feet long and fluffy appearing.  It likes sun and good drainage.  Cold tolerance
is about 22 degrees F.  Cycads are easy to cold protect.
Encephalartos cerinus band  
This Madagascar species resembles a more blue colored Dypsis decipiens.
It is a new introduction.  It may sucker over time, this is not well known.
It will want sun and should be cold hardy into the lower 20's F.
Dypsis betafaka band  
A Mexican cycad, this species prefers strong filtered light or perhaps
full sun along the coast.  It is a medium sized plant with leaves about
five to six feet long.  The interesting thing is the curve of the leaflets
in a sickle like downward curve.  This is seen in only a few cycad
seedlings.  Cold hardiness into the low 20's f.
Dioon tomasellii band  
This species looks more like a fern than a cycad.  It is from South Africa
and is quite easy to grow.  It can take sun along the coast or filtered light
inland.  Cold hardiness is like other species, into the low 20's f.  It is
a dwarf species with leaves about three feet long.
STangeria eriopus band  
This New Caledonian palm is single trunk, pinnate,
and has a white crown shaft.  It is very beautiful and a quick
growing plant.  It likes full coastal sun or part day sun/filtered
light inland.  Cold tolerance is into the mid, perhaps lower
20's F.  It is rare and hard to find.
Burretiokentia koghiensis band  
As you can see here, some of our band plants are huge, bigger than
most nursery's one gallon plants.  This is an example of that.  P. munroii
is native to Hawaii and is a medium sized fan palm that will take full
sun along the coast, wants protection inland, and has a broad, flat
green leaf.  It is a very pretty species and hard to find.
Pritchardia munroii band  

This will give you a taste of plants in band containers.  What most people don't know is that we have a tens of thousands of band sized plants.  So, there's a pretty good chance that the species you want might be available in this smaller size.  Most are very affordable in price.  And, if you get a good number of these, a volume discount would be considered. 


FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012

I thought today I would show you some Zamia photos. This genus of cycads is felt by many to be among the most exotic plants in the world.  I hope you like them.  

This is a Panamanian cycad.  Its name comes from the fact that this is a very elegant, handsome plant.  It can develop a trunk well over six feet tall and carries a full crown of green leaves that are typically four to five feet long.  The trunk diameter is about four to six inches thick.  Leaflets are one to one and a half inches wide, four to eight inches long and are serrated at the ends.  The leaflet color is a shiny bright green.  It prefers filtered light, good draining soil (like all Zamia), and probably will not tolerate a freeze.  Below I have shown a pollinated cone with progression through to the ripe red-orange fruit.  Also shown are a seedling and mature nursery specimen of this species.

In the garden, this species prefers filtered light.  It would not tolerate a freeze.  The plant you see to the right is approximately fifty years old.  For over ten years I grew it outdoors at my home in San Diego.  It flushed years every year or two.  The close up shows the trunk in detail.  The last photo shows a seedling.  We have a few of these for sale.  
Zamia elegentissima nursery Zamia elegantissima trunk
Zamia elegantissima Zamia elegantissima Zamai elegantissima female conee
Zamia elegantissima female cone with seeds Zamia elegantissima female cone ripe fruit Zamia elegantissima band


This cycad is a South American species native to the Pacific slopes of Equador.  It produces a medium sized plant with a trunk of several feet, about five inches in diameter.  It has long, upright and slightly arching leaves that can be six to eight feet long .  It has matched leaflets that are typically one to two inches wide and six to eight inches long.  As the photographs below show, the dorsal surface of the leaves are prominently veined giving it a corrugated or plicated surface.  These veins run the length of the leaflet.  As you can see from the photos, this is a gorgeous species. It is almost impossible to find for sale in cultivation.  It is closely related to another South American species, Zamia roezlii, which forms a taller trunk.  It is a filtered light species that won't tolerate below freezing temperatures and likes warmth, humidity and good air movement.

This is just a drop-dead beautiful species.  From time to time we do have one for sale.  If you look at the nursery plant to the right, it's hard to imagine a plant more exotic and appealing than this one.
Zamia gentryi Zamia gentryi leaf
Zamia gentryi leaf Zamia gentryi leaflet  



There is a tremendous array in the appearances of the leaves of this genus.  In terms of orientation, some are very upright. 
Others, like Zamia pseudoparastitica, are very dependent and hang downwards, way below the stem.  Many new leaves
as they flush from the stem are green.  But, others are gold, bronze, brown or red emergent.  These colors are transient and
typically revert to a green color over time.  Leaf length can be as short as one foot long in some dwarf species.  Others have
leaves of six or more feet.  Leaflet appearance is also variable.  Most species have serrated edges, but many are smooth
without teeth.  Pictures below will show the variation in the appearance of leaves.  Of note, some of the most sought after
species have wide, exotic leaflets.  The leaf stems of Zamia are typically armed with small spines.  Some species have
almost or completely smooth petioles.  One species shown below, Zamia picta (Z. variegata), has variegated yellow splotches
on the leaflets.  Below are pictures of an assortment of Zamia leaves.  I hope you like them. 

Zamia cremnophila leaves
Zamia cremnophila leaves

Zamia dressleri newly emergent leaf
Zamia elegantissima leaves
Zamia elegantissima leaves 
Zamia muricata leaf
Zamia muricata leaf 
Zamia picta leaf
Zamia picta leaf 
Zamia skinneri red form leaves
Zamia skinneri leaves 
Zamia splendens leaf
Zamia splendens leaf 
Zamia vasquezii leaves
Leaves of Zamia vasquezii 
Zamia obliqua
Zamia obliqua 
Zamia pseudoparasitica
Zamia pseudoparasitica in a basket
Zamia kickxii
Zamia kickxii
Zamia skinneri Robert Martin
Zamia skinneri, red emergent by R. Martin



Syagrus is a genus of thirty to forty species.  Syagrus coronata is an interesting member of this genus.  This is a single trunk, non-crown shafted, pinnate palm native to Brazil.  It's most prominent characteristic is the presence of retained leaf bases that spiral down the trunk below the crown of leaves.  Overall height is about forty feet, trunk diameter one foot.  When old leaf bases fall off, there is an interesting knobby appearance to the trunk.  The leaves are silver-green with more of a blue color on the underside of the leaves. It has an average growth rate, likes full sun along the coast, and has a cold tolerance estimated to be into the mid twenties F, although it's lowest tolerance is not known.  Shown here is a 15g plant and a one gallon seedling.  Also shown are garden specimens, one with close ups of the upper trunk.  Because of its cold tolerance, this species is sought after by some collectors.  It is surprisingly handsome and needs space around it to view its interesting appearance.  

Syagrus coronata 15g Syagrus coronata 15g base
Syagrus coronata 1g Syagrus coronata Syagrus coronata
Syagrus coronata twirl trunk leaf bases Syagrus coronata juvenile  


It is not unusual to come across cycad hybrids.  This can be done either intentionally by a grower or just happen because a receptive female is in proximity to a pollen producing male of another species.  You'd like to think that logic and planning are involved in hybridization.  Such would be the case with hybridizing a woodii x natalensis with pollen of a woodii.  There is a scientific explanation and goal for doing this cross.  But, there's an additional factor involved that you might not think of.  This is the fact that cycad owners don't want to "waste" a female cone and will try hybridizing it with anything that is producing pollen.  They feel they must produce seeds, even if such seeds are an unthinkable cross. 

With this in mind, you'll come across the most peculiar hybrids imaginable.  Remember, with cycads, inter-generic hybridization essentially doesn't happen.  It's different with palms.  Shown here is a cross that, through imagination, held challenge and appeal.  Ceratozamia plumosa has a twirling, thin leaf crown of leaves.  Ceratozamia hildae is a dwarf plant with wide, cute, grouped leaflets.  The cross you see here has taken on more characteristics of the pollen donor (C. plumosa) than the seed producing female.  The leaflets are not grouped, but much wider than the C. plumosa.  I think it's an attractive cycad.  There was some scientific challenge with this cross to produce a more attractive offspring.  But, did the availability of pollen at the right time play a part in it?  Of course it did.   And, such is the case of the majority of hybrids you see out there.

I'll show examples of the parents below.  Imagine you haven't seen the hybrid to the right.  Think about what the hybrid would look like.  Imagination is accurate to an extent, but the plant produced and shown here isn't exactly what I thought would be produced.   
Ceratozamia hildae X plumosa Ceratozamia hildae x plumosa
Ceratozamia hildae
Cz hildae, seed producer for above hybrid
Ceratozamia plumosa
Cz plumosa, pollen bearer for above hybrid



TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2012 

This is a single trunk, pinnate, crown-
shafted palm species from northern
Australia.  It gets to 40 feet or more and
has a rather thin trunk.  It is a fast grower.
Cold tolerance is slightly below a freeze.
It is uncommonly seen in Southern CA.
It is a species that should be started in
strong filtered light and then allowed to
grow upwards into full sun.  Shown is
a 5g plant and a mature specimen.  This
species is seldom seen for sale in CA.
I am also showing a close up photo of
the crown shaft and red fruit.
Carpentaria acuminata Carpentaria acuminata




This is a favorite among palm enthusiasts.  It is not overly large, has nice recurved leaves, is clean appearing and has a nice crown shaft.  The problem is that this species does poorly in Southern
California.  There are other species of Veitchia that do better.  It has been renamed as Adonidia.  Most people still know it by its former name. Shown is a 9 foot tall 7g plant, available on request.  Also shown is a pair of beautifully grown plants in
a garden. This is a popular interior palm.  It does reasonably well inside the home.  I am amazed at the number of people who visit Hawaii and then call me on their return looking for this species.   
Veitchia merrillii Veitchia merrillii


This is a shorter form of the Pheonix
genus with a somewhat stout trunk but
only a height up to about 10 feet.  Of
interest is that sometimes it suckers,
other times it is single trunk.  The
leaflets are pointed like many Phoenix
species.  It is synonymous with P.
loureiri var loureiri.
  Shown is a 5g
plant, $65.  Also shown is a larger
specimen.  I would consider this a
"medium sized" Date palm.  It would
work well for someone who wants a
smaller Canary type palm. 
Phoenix hanceana 5g Phoenix hanceana (loureiri)



We've probably discussed this species before because it is one of our favorites at the nursery.  This New Caledonia palm is a good grower here in Southern California.  It is native to Mt. Koghi, just outside of Noumea.  The IPS Biennial trip in the year 2000 visited this habitat.  I've seen this plant in its habitat and can vouch for the fact that it is a very attractive species.  They are thin trunked with a white crown shaft and can reach a height of over forty feet.  We have a good selection of these for sale.  Shown are some containerized plants as well as photos from habitat.  Part day sun or filtered light would work best for these.  Cold tolerance is not documented, but anticipated to be into the mid-twenties F., perhaps a bit lower.
Burretiokentia koghiensis Burretiokentia koghiensis
Burretiokentia koghiensis blower Burretiokentia koghiensis wild Burretiokentia k wild
Burretiokentia koghiensis band Burretiokentia k. new leaf  


Since I talked about a favorite palm above, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to discuss one of my favorite cycads: Dioon merolae.  This Mexican cycad is just a gorgeous plant.  It is slow growing.  It has a petite crown of leaves, typically no more than six feet across.  The leaves are stiff and the leaflets have a gentle flex downward.  You may see near overlapping of the leaflets.  In general, the leaves are upright and green or gray-green in color as shown here.  Sometimes you'll see a frosty white coloring on the leaflets.  The stem is upright, but can sucker as seen below.  Trunk diameter is usually under one foot and leaves are about four feet long.  Because of its slow growth rate, a plant with 2 feet of trunk could be fifty or one hundred years old.  This species likes full sun along the coast.  Far inland might require part day sun or strong filtered light.  Such would be the case for a hot desert area like Phoenix.  They like good draining sandy soil and average water.  But, they can tolerate drought.  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's F. and perhaps into the upper teens.  We are offering a great selection of this species, from bands to very old boxed specimens.  I am showing here pictures of only nursery plants, as these photos show it all.  In the wild, centuries old plants have attained a trunk height of ten feet.  I've noticed that, from plant to plant, you'll see minor variations in the appearance of the leaves.  Reports of plants from habitat show that different localities show these variations as well.  This adds to the intrigue of this species.  For those who like beautiful plants that are easy to grow, this is  species for you.
Dioon merolae box Dioon merolae new flush
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae box Dioon merolae 15g
Dioon merolae trunk Dioon merolae box Dioon merolae box
Dioon merolae leaf Dioon merolae cluster Dioon merolae box
Dioon merolae box Dioon merolae box Dioon merolae box


Chamaedorea is one of my favorite genera.  Here's a link to an article on many of the species:


The species Chamaedorea woodsoniana is a great plant from this group.  It comes from Mexico and is a large species.  It is single trunk that has a trunk diameter of almost four inches and can get well over 30 feet tall if given the right environment.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F.  It prefers shade in our locality of Southern California.  It is a good and fairly quick growing species.  It is a nice dark green, has keeled four foot long leaves and a gorgeous, prominently ringed trunk.  We should have a nice assortment of sizes for sale.  Shown here are 15 to 20 gallon plants.  This species would look very nice as a small colony of three to five plants planted in the garden side by side.  It is rare and hard to find at nurseries.  I hope you like it as much as I do. If you have shade in your garden, do click on the link above to learn about this genus.
Chamaedorea woodsoniana Chamaedorea woodsoniana leaves
Chamaedorea woodsoniana Chamaedorea woodsoninana Chamaedorea woodsoniana trunk

This is a very rare species of Dioon with its habitat being in the area of Pueblo in the country of Mexico.  Several decades ago one could only dream about this species with only about a hundred plants in habitat.  In the 1990's, some seeds did come out of habitat and it is occasionally seen for sale.  It is not a big cycad.  Trunks are typically one to two feet, rarely to three feet.  The leaflets are very thin with gaps between the leaflets.  The color is green or gray-green.  Leaves are stiff and usually two to three feet long.  It is slow growing and prefers sun along the coast or very bright filtered light.  It is an endangered species and next to impossible to find in a nursery.  We are quite fortunate to offer you plants in a variety of sizes, from band up to 15g size.  Mature plant photos and a female cone are provided by a friend of mine, Mark Mason.  Although the coldest limit is not known, I'd estimate cold tolerance to be in the upper teens F.
Dioon caputoi cit pot Dioon caputoi b ase
Dioon caputoi Dioon caputoi wild Dioon caputoi female cone by MarkM
Dioon caputoi band Dioon caputoi leaf Dioon caputoi nursery



Two days ago I talked about Livistona saribus.  Today I thought I'd discuss two more species of this genus with over thirty species.  Be aware that nomenclature of Livistona has changed over the last two decades.  Names have been changed and "locality names" previously used have been replaced with more taxonomically "correct" names.  Names like "blackdown table" and "carnavon gorge" are no longer utilized.  Such old names described localities where the species grew.  Be aware that the distribution of Livistona species is wide, spreading from Africa through China and Indochina, down through the Philippines and Indonesia into Australia.  The greatest number of species are in Australia and have recently been re-worked by botanist John Dowe.    

Livistona benthamii is native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.  Even though it is native to lowland, wet areas in the native habitat, we have found that this species can be grown in Southern California.  It is a tall, thin trunked species and can grow to fifty feet.  Old leaf stalks tend to stay on the trunk unless removed.  If you manually removed them, small "knobs" are left on the trunk, similar to what you'd see with Phoenix dactylifera.  The leaves can be near spherical with leaflets going close to 360 degrees around the circle of the leaf.  Leaflets are deeply divided with long segments.  Sometimes the terminal portion of the leaflets can droop downwards.  Growth rate is moderate.  It likes sun and can take temperatures into the mid to low 20's F.  Shown here is a 5g plant we photographed yesterday.  Note the deeply divided leaves.  On the mature specimens from gardens, note the knobby surface of this interesting trunk.  I find it sort of cool.
Livistona benthamii Livistona benthamii 5g
Livistona benthamii Livistona benthamii trunk, HJD  

As you might guess, this species in native to Australia where it is found from Queensland down to far southern Australia along the eastern side of the continent.  It is the most "southern" species of fan palm in the world and only loses out to Rhopalostylis (a pinnate palm), which is the palm found at the most southern latitude (New Zealand) of any palm tree.  Knowing this, you would be right to assume this is a fairly cold hardy species.  It is a very tall species with plants in habitat approaching one hundred feet.  But, the trunk is quite thin, usually about a foot thick.  The leaves are near circular and about five feet across.  The terminal portion of the leaflets can droop downwards and the leaflets are divided half way or more on the leaf.  Trunks tend to be very straight, growing upwards.  Growth rate is medium to quick.  This species wants full sun and heat.  Shown here is a 15g nursery plant and a boxed specimen at our nursery.  If you think this species resembles Livistona decipiens, you would be right.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell them apart.  But, I've found an interesting thing with L. decipiens is a white colored tinge to the leaflets and white hairs hanging randomly from the leaves.  You won't see this with L. australis.  The second photo shows the crown, looking from below and the last photo was taken by Mike Gray and is from the PACSOA website.  This species likes full sun and tolerates temperatures down into the upper teens F.    
Livistona australis 15g Livistona australis box
Livistona australis crown Livistona australis by Mike Gray, habitat
Photo by Mike Gray, PACSOA

This species is a new introduction to commercial nurseries in the past ten years.  It is from a high elevation desert area in central Mexico.  As a nurseryman, I know little about this palm other than what I have read.  Seeds were distributed by Tobias Spanner in Germany.  Most growers just have smaller plants for sale.  As a young plant, all have found this species to be green.  But, we all know that many species don't show their true color until larger and growing in full, hot sun.  Tobias (RPS) describes this plant as being thinner than a typical Brahea armata, having no spines on the petioles, and displaying an even more intense silver-blue color than the Mexican Blue Fan Palm.  All these things make this a very desirable species.  Cold tolerance is estimated to be in the upper to mid-teens, F.  Time will tell as to just how great a species this is.  Shown here is a 5g plant at our nursery.  Also shown are two photos from RarePalmSeeds by Tobias Spanner of mature plants in habitat.  So far, everyone is excited about this species.  We are offering a limited number of 5g plants only on this very rare plant.
Brahea species super silver Brahea species super silver
Brahea species super silver by T. Spanner, RPS
Photo by T. Spanner, RPS
Brahea species super silver by T. Spanner
Photo by T. Spanner, RPS



I have talked about this very cold hardy cycad species before.  Today, I'd like to show some additional photos and tell you why this is an ideal cycad for many people.

This specieS is native to China and in sun the leaves have a blue-green color.  It tolerates temperatures easily into the low 20's F., perhaps lower.  It is probably more cold hardy than the common Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta.  The later takes temperatures into the upper teens.  Nice characteristics of C. panzhihuaensis are that it has a smaller size than the Sago Palm and a more interesting color.  Trunks are known to get to eight feet tall but this will take a lifetime to achieve.  It is an excellent growing cycad.  In most coastal areas it would take full sun.  In inland areas with extreme heat, I'd recommend giving it some protection from the sun.  The first photo shows a 15g nursery plant.  The second is taken at Montgomery Foundation in Miami, FL.  Note the leaf color on their plants.  I have known of this species being successfully grown in northern California and even in the U.K. 
I am showing 15g size, a boxed plant and a smaller, easily shippable 2g size.  The photo showing the blue-green color is how some plants look; no photo-shopping.  This is a cycad ideal for a lot of people in colder areas. 

Cycas pansihuanensis  
Cycas panzhihuaensis Cycas panzhihuaensis box   Cycas panzhihuaensis 2g
cycas panzhihuaensis color blue      



Allagoptera is a genus of South American palms with four species.  They are single trunk but these trunks can bifurcate, thus giving them the appearance of being a suckering palm.  They are pinnate palms with plumose, fluffy leaves.  Allagoptera arenaria is the species you are most likely to find in a nursery.  But, it is very rare and seldom seen.  There are several things that make this a very appealing palm.  First, it's a small palm and only gets to about six, perhaps eight feet tall.  Secondly, it takes full sun with ease and tolerates temperatures down into the upper teens F.  Finally, it can tolerate salty air that will be seen near the ocean.  Although not tall, it can almost get as wide as it is tall.  The leaflets are very thin and irregularly placed and make for a fluffy looking leaf (see photo).  In far inland areas, it may need partial sun or filtered light.  It tolerates very sandy soil and might be one of the more salt tolerant palms around.  Shown here are several 5g plants, a few garden specimens and the close up of the leaf.
Allagoptera arenaria Allagoptera arenaria 5g
Allagoptera Allagoptera Allagoptera leaf

This is a single trunk fan palm from Asia, specifically China, Indochina, Indonesia and parts of Philippines.  It can get quite tall over many decades and has a trunk diameter of about a foot.  In time, old leaf bases fall away to give a fairly clean trunk with some stubs.  When I first saw this palm, I became enthralled with one characteristic of the plant.  It had the most wicked, curved black colored hooking spines I had ever seen.  Some were over 2 inches long.  They were scary in a way, almost a weapon.  But, this became part of the charm of this palm.  It is now known that there are two varieties of this species.  One has smaller green spines and the other has these larger dark spines.  There is also mention that the petiole color is variable as well.  Another cool thing about this species is the color of the seeds.  They definitely have a blue color; blue is quite a rare fruit color with palms.  The leaves of this species are interesting in that, when mature, they are a 360 degree leaf; i.e., they are a complete circle of leaflets (see photo).  Shown here are several nursery plants, pictures of the leaf and seeds, and some garden plants.  I apologize that I don't have a close up of the hooked spines, but trust me that they are impressive.   This species likes sun and is cold tolerant into the lower 20's F.        
Livistona saribus 5g Livistona saribus 5g
Livistona saribus leaf Livistona saribus seeds Livistona saribus
Livistona saribus juvenile Livistona saribus  

This is an interesting South African cycad species that is not that commonly seen in collections.  As the photos will show, it is strikingly different from most of the other species of Encephalartos.  This is because it has thin leaflets and does not have the prominent lobes or barbs on the leaflets.  Trunks can get over ten feet tall in many decades; leaf length is typically four feet, sometimes longer.  Leaf color is green to silver, sometimes yellowing with age.  As mentioned, there are no spines on the lateral surface of the leaflets but the tip of the leaflet is pointed.  Because of these thin, spineless leaflets, this species is similar to and often confused with Encephalartos cycadifolius and ghellinkii.  This species likes heat, sun and good draining sandy soil.  Shown here are various containerized plants.  Note that the leaf color is variable.  I think, once a plant gets into the full hot sun, the more silver color appears.  Also, on the clay pot plant, note how the leaves are discolored.  This plant was about to throw new leaves.  I think you'll see this just before the emergence of a new throw of leaves.  The last photos are of garden specimens.  Cold tolerance on this species is into the lower 20's F.  In the ground, it is an easy cycad to grow.  In containers, it is much slower growing.  At the nursery, we have an assortment of sizes for sale. 

EFG leaf EFG 15g
EFG 5g EFG 15g EFG clay pot
EFG in garden EFG mature EFG leaf


Ptychosperma is a group of pinnate palms from Australia, PNG and various Pacific islands.  There are single trunk and suckering varieties.  All are crown shafted.  The hallmark for identifying this species is the leaflets.  All have a jagged, chopped off terminal leaflet.  In other words, the leaflet tips don't come to a pointed end but rather a notched or jagged end.  Ptychosperma elegans is one of the most cold hardy species of this group.  They get a thin trunk, a somewhat silver crown shaft and a medium sized crown of leaves.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to upper 20's f.  They prefer to "work their way" into the sun.   So, planting in strong filtered light would be ideal if they can grow up into the sun over time.  Inland areas would require filtered light at all times.  They are a medium rate grower.  Planting in clumps can be attractive.  Shown here are examples of 15g and 5g plant material at the nursery.  I have a very nice plant in my garden that is about 25 feet tall and gets eastern light.  Also shown are some mature plants in gardens.  The fourth photo was taken by HJD.  The last photo demonstrates the terminal portion of the leaflets and their jagged edge.  This photo is of a P. schefferi, another nice species.
Ptychosperma elegans Ptychosperma elegans
Ptychosperma elegans Ptychosperma elegans Ptychosperma schefferi leaflets
This single trunk, pinnate palm comes from
Mt Lewis mountain area of Queensland.  It
grows right next to native stands of

Archontophoenix purpurea.  It is
surprisingly cold hardy and can temps
into the mid twenties, F.  It has a bronze-
silver color to the underside of the
leaves, thus giving it its name.  Trunks
are about 12 inches and overall height,
similar to the Purple Crown Shaft King,
is about 35 feet.  Shown is a 5g nursery
plant for $75.  We also have 15g plants
for sale.  The second photo is from
habitat and shows the bronze color to
the underside of the leaves.  By the way, the
reason this species is called "The Bronze
Palm" is because of a bronze color to the
back of the leaf.  I apologize that I don't have
a close up photo to show this, but it's really
a silver-brown color when you look closely.
Oraniopsis apendiculata Oraniopsis appendiculata
oraniopsis a Oraniopsis  

This is a rare species of Encephalartos from the
Transvaal area of northern South Africa.  It is
medium sized when mature and has either a blue
color to the leaves or is blue-green.  It is very
sought after by collectors and likes full sun and
heat.  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's F.  Desert
locations may require only part day sun.  It is slow
growing when young and takes at least 4 years to
offer a good seedling.  Shown first here is a 7g plant
with a six inch caudex as well as a mature specimen. 
The mature plant is from a botanical garden in
Hawaii and really shows the blue color.   We have
available bands, citrus pots, and a few 15g for sale.
I've shown some close ups of the leaves as well.  
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii 7g Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii, band E. eugene-maraisii leaf


I thought I'd do something different this morning.  I am going to show you some pictures from the actual gardens of customers of our nursery.  All of these photos were taken in the San Diego area.  This will give you an idea of what others have done with our plant material.  For privacy reasons, garden locations and ownership are not given.  I will show various types of gardens from the "Jungle look" to a more formal garden design.  This is just a photographic tour without comments.  I will attempt to show close-ups on some plants rather than just all panoramic views.  I'll show some detail pictures and share many different species and types of plants.  I am hoping this will demonstrate what can be accomplished with the plants and different effects you can create.  I hope you enjoy this quick garden excursion.  Feedback always appreciated.     


For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you know that my favorite Archontophoenix are A. maxima and myolensis.  But, the most commonly grown King Palm is by far A. cunninghamiana, and this morning that's what we'll talk about.  The King Palm is a fast growing palm.  In the ground, a well grown plant will go from a 15g palm to one with ten feet of trunk in three to four years.  It loves rich, good draining soil and lots of water.  Along many coastal areas, you can grow it in full sun.  Far inland, part day protection is needed.  Its cold tolerance is down to about 25 degrees F. 

The question for you is "should I pick a single or a multiple?"  I've always been attracted to the way multi's arch and bend away from each other.  To get this, you have to grow a multiple as such from the very beginning.  If you plant three single trunk plants "close" to each other, you won't get the bending seen below on the garden specimen triple.  So, as a grow, from the seedling stage we'll put three plants in one little pot.  Single trunk specimens grow vertically more quickly than multi's.  If you want quick height for canopy, go with singles.  Also, two or three in a pot is ideal.  Don't get a plant that has six or eight together in one container.  When grown, these just don't look right and are far too busy.  With Kings, "more is not better" when talking about multi's.  The last photo shows a closer view of three kings grown as a multiple. 

Right now we have some very nice boxed triple King Palms as shown.  They are begging for a home.  We also have or can get much taller specimens for you.  Shown is a single trunk specimen in fruit.  Realize that any plant over 30 inch box size will probably need a crane to plant.  Typically, the maximum trunk size you'll see on the market is fifteen to eighteen feet.  If you want smaller, we have a good assortment of five and fifteen gallon plants.  So, triple or single? You just have to decide.    
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana triple box Archontophoenix cunninghamiana triple box
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana triple box Archontophoenix cunninghamiana triple
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana box King palm garden, triple Kingle, single trunk
Archontophoenix c. base, triple    

This petite cycad seldom gets very tall and is native to Mexico.  It has a small caudex, often subterranean,  typically holds five to eight leaves, has serrated leaf margins and an overall height usually under three feet.  It is rare to see an old plant with a cuadex more than twelve inches long.  This species is an ideal choice for a small, filtered light area in the garden.  Along the coast they can tolerate full sun.  And, surprisingly, they make a wonderful house plant.  They, like all cycads, like good draining soil.  I've found that, on a cold winter, leaves may brown and the plant becomes deciduous.  But, the following season, a new crop of leaves appear.  They also make a very nice potted cycad.  This species will sucker, so small colonies can develop in the garden.  Shown here is a female plant in a citrus pot.  Note the cone in the third picture.  The fifth picture is a very old specimen in a pot.  I'm showing an old picture (last photo) to show that you can get a full throw of leaves, even in a pot.  We have a great supply of these for sale and can ship them anywhere within the U.S.  I'd estimate cold tolerance to be in the mid-twenties F.
Zamia vazquezii Zamia vazquezii
Zamia vazquezii Zamia vazquezii Zamia vazquezii
Zamia vazquezii Zamia vazquezii Zamia vazquezii


FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012


Recently I talked about the trunking form of this species that got to a height of eight to ten feet.  Today I'm discussing the regular or dwarf form that reaches a height of three, sometimes four feet.  This is a single trunk Chamaedorea that is quite remarkable for several reasons.  First, it takes up very little space and fits nicely into small areas of the floor of the garden.  Second, it is one of the most cold hardy of the Chamaedorea group, taking temperatures into the upper teens.  Third, it can tolerate some sun; it doesn't demand full shade.  Another cool thing are the blossoms.  Female blossoms reach above the leaves, are orange in color and develop large black seeds.  They are easy to pollinate and, if you plant a small colony of males and females, are almost certain to get viable seeds.  Shown here is a 5g plant.  We have a pretty good supply of both this form and the trunking form of this species. 
Chamaedorea radicalis, 5g Chamaedorea radicalis 5g
Chamaedorea radicalis leaf Chamaedorea radicalis trunk Chamaedorea radicalis garden


Like Chamaedorea radicalis above, this is another quite cold hardy Chamaedorea.  However, this species is a suckering species with very thin trunks.  I've seen specimens where the trunk diameter is no greater than the standard pencil.  For a suckering species, it is also not too tall.  Typically this species gets up to seven, perhaps eight feet.  It is not uncommon on mature trees to see some trunks leaning out from the center of the plant, gently reaching upwards.  Leaf color is green, but on some plants there is an iridescent gray discoloration to the leaves or even a glaucous white backside to the leaflets.  Female plants produce pretty clusters of red seeds.  This plant looks it's best in filtered light and has a cold tolerance into the upper teens.  I've seen very nice specimens in the San Francisco Bay area.  This Mexican species' name implies that the blossom is "small", which is not the case.  Our photos here show a 15g plant with views of a flower.  Note the very thin trunks shown here.  This plant will fill in over time and have a dozen or two trunks when mature.  On the fourth photo, not the sheen to the leaves, typical of some strains of this species.
Chamaedorea microspadix 15g Chamaedorea microspadix leaf
Chamaedorea microspadix trunks Chamaedorea microspadix iridescent Chamaedorea microspadix garden

One hardly ever sees this genus Ceroxylon for sale.  They are extremely rare in nurseries.  All species in this genus come from the Andes Mountains in South America.  They are unique for two reasons: first, they are among the tallest palms in the world.  Secondly, they are very high elevation palms with some living at altitudes of 5000 feet.  This species is from Ecuador and lives up to an elevation of about 2500 to 3500 feet.  It is one of the shorter Ceroxylon, only reaching a height of about thirty feet.  It has a prominently gray tubular trunk and resembles a Coconut when mature.  This species would like to "grow into" the sun and has a cold tolerance probably into the lower 20's F.  As this species comes from a lower elevation than other Ceroxylon, perhaps it might be better for areas like Southern California where more summer heat is seen.  Shown here are pictures of a 5g plant that I took yesterday.  I don't have any photos of a mature plant but am showing a plant in habitat.  This picture was taken by Martin Gibbons, a friend of mine and is from the website of the Palm and Cycad Society of Florida.  Martin lives in London, U.K.  For those of you who are located there, do drop in and visit his Palm Centre. 
Ceroxylon amizonicum 5g Ceroxylon amizonicum 5g
Ceroxylon amizonicum base 5g Ceroxylon amizonicum Martin Gibbons
Photo by Martin Gibbons, Palm & Cycad Society of

Clivia are not particularly rare, but it is not common to see the yellow flower variety of this genus.  One mostly sees orange flowers, sometimes red.  Shown here is the yellow form.  These are an ideal companion plant.  Plant height is to about two feet.  They are a Spring blossoming plant, producing flowers as we speak.  I shot these photos yesterday.  Clivia like filtered light.  The strap-like foliage is quite attractive and with any luck, your blossoms may produce viable seeds.  Clivia are a must for almost every garden and reliably blossom.  We have a limited number of 5g yellow strain plants for sale.
Clivia yellow  Clivia yellow 5g 
Clivia yellow blossom     



Most people know that edible dates coming from the true Date Palm, Phoenix dactylifera.  To get dates you need a flowering male and female plant in proximity.  And, for people who seek out Date Palms, ones with blue color are most popular.  There are an assortment of "varieties" of these.  Shown here is an example of these sought after blue Dates.  I just got them in.  This will make the typical mature Date Palm over time.  You cannot know the sex of any given plant unless it came from a removed offset of a known female plant.  Most prefer to remove suckers on a garden plant as this species normally is a suckering plant  and they want a single trunk specimen.  This species is a good growers and likes full hot sun.  This is why they do so well in desert environments.  They are also very cold hardy, probably to about 15 degrees F.  For this reason people in colder areas seek them out.  I only have a few of these and they are huge for their container size.  They can be shipped via Fed Express.  I am showing a picture of immature dates forming and of this species usage in a commercial project.  Unfortunately, these latter are blue green and not the prominent blue as shown in the 15g plants here.
Phoenix dactylifera blue 15g Phoenix dactylifera blue 15g base
Date Palm blue 15g Date palm fruit Date Palms Commercial  


This species is a single trunk, dwarf, shade-loving palm that rarely gets over about four feet tall.  True, it can get taller than this, but that will take many decades.  Most commonly, this species is grown in nurseries as multiple plants in the same pot, giving it the appearance of being a suckering plant.  But, it is not.  This technique gives a fuller plant with more activity.  The plants we just got in are about 18 inches to two feet tall.  They are very nice.  They make a wonderful interior houseplant.  In the garden they prefer filtered light.  They are slow growing and cold tolerant into the mid-twenties F.  If you order in the next ten days, we are having a special on these plants:  $29.  Just mention this blog to get the discount.  I can ship them right to your door. On the pictures here, note that the female flowers are yellow in color.  if you set seeds, they will be black.
Chamaedorea elegans mulitiples  Chamaedorea elegans multiples base 


This is a magnificent species with a huge tubular trunk that get taller than 60 feet.  It is known as the thickest trunk palm in the world.  Diameters can exceed 4 feet!  The reason you don't see these around too much is because they are extremely slow growing.  The 15g plant I'm showing here is eight years old.  Most nurserymen won't spend this amount of time growing a product to sell.  They want a quick turn over and fast growing plant.  Thus you see Queens and Majesties all over the market.  If you are patient, this is a great species for the garden.  It does need room to grow.  We have wonderful 5g and 15g plants for sale.  The 5g are $75 and the 15g are $350.  For a 15g plant, these are very large.  I also have a few larger plants in 25g or boxes.  Also shown here are some mature specimens.
I can have delivered any size plant right to your home.  The 15g plants give you a great head start on this slow growing palm.  They are faster growing in the soil compared to a container, so get one in right away.  You'll find they'll put in trunk width before they put on much plant height.  To those who don't know him, the last picture shows the trunk with my son Jesse.  To learn more, check out our article on Jubaea here at this website.  
Jubaea chilensis 5g  Jubaea chilensis 15g
Jubaea chilensis 15g, 8 inch trunk 
Jubaea chilensis trunk, 15g  Jubaea chilensis  Jubaea trunk with Jesse 


I've previously discussed this superior suckering, shade loving palm as an ideal choice for the garden or inside the house.  It has narrow trunks, suckers, gets to a height of about twelve feet and is quite attractive.  Yesterday I acquired a plant that has five variegated stems.  For interest purposes, I thought I'd show it to you today.  Variegation is a peculiar thing.  It just appears from time to time in all sorts of species.  I've had quite a few species where variegation just spontaneously appeared.  Sometimes it's prominent, other times quite subtle.  This plant shows it quite well on several stems.  What's different about this plant is that some leaves are totally yellow/white.  It affects the entire leaflets.  On other leaves, leaflets are striped with yellow and green.  I'll show both types of variegation here. I prefer the "striped" look myself.  With Rhapis excelsa there is a very exclusive collector group that covets different forms of plant variegation.  And, they are very rare and expensive, being quite hard to find.  If one were to propagate a stem of this plant shown here, the variegation would continue.  But, if you had a female here and set seeds from this plant, the variegation may not continue to the progeny. 

I am going to show a lot of photos here because it's not often you get a chance to study a variegated plant.  I hope you enjoy these photos.  Note how even the stems are striped with variegation.
Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g
Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g
Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g Chamaedorea hooperiana variegated 7g



Euterpe is a genus of typically solitary, crown shafted palms from South America.  There is a species that suckers.  The only one I've found easy to grow is the single trunk species E. edulis.  It comes from Brazil and northern Argentina.  It is a very thin trunked palm with a long, elegant crown shaft.  The crown shaft is sometimes a green-brown or green-purple color.  Its trunk is usually no more than six inches thick and eventual plant height is maximum thirty feet.  It is a medium rate growing palm and my specimen made thousands of purple colored fruits over the years.  The leaves are somewhat dependent, hanging down and it is tropical appearing.  It can be grown as a grouping with several plants side by side.  Of note, the heart of this palm is edible and this threatens native populations of this species.  Shown here is a 15g plant that we photographed yesterday.  We also have smaller sizes for sale.  The second photo is a 20g plant that already sold, but this shows how the 15g will look in a year or two.   The last photo shows the small seeds, not yet having attained their ripened color.  This plant likes sun or half day sun, but likes to "grow up into it", starting in filtered light.  Cold tolerance is into the upper 20's F.
Euterpe edulis 15g Euterpe edulis 20g
Euterpe edulis Euterpe edulis seeds green  


For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you know I love Pritchardias.  As you might recall, this is the only native palm genus to the Hawaiian Islands.  This endangered species is from the Big Island at about 2500 feet in the mountains.  If you think that Prtichardia are only short palms, think again.  This one reaches a height of over 100 feet and is the tallest of the genus by far.  This puts it in the height category with other tall palms like Royal Palms, Ceroxylon, etc.  Also, for their height, they have a very large crown of leaves and a trunk that is typically about a foot in diameter.  Cold tolerance is into the upper 20's F. and they like sun when mature.  Getting one of these is very difficult.  We have a limited number of plants.  Shown here is a 5g plant as well as pictures of a 15g plant.  The last photo was borrowed from the PACSOA Website and taken by a long time friend of mine, Al Bredeson, who migrated to HI many years ago from his home in San Diego.  
Pritchardia schattaueri 5g Pritchardia schattaueri leaf
Pritchardia schattaueri 15g
 A 15g plant at the nursery
Pritchardia schattaueri in HI by Al Bredeson
Habitat photo from PACSOA by Al Bredeson


This is another very rare species, this time a cycad from Thailand.  It is known for the fact that it throws a new set of leaves that emerge silver.  But, as you can see, they turn to green later.  The seeds on this species became available about 15 years ago.  I have not seen them since.  This plant has an 8 inch caudex, stem-like, and is in a 15g pot.  It is very attractive. I only have this plant and another with a 6 inch caudex.  After these are gone, there will be no more for quite a while.
Cycas species Thai silver  Cycas species Thai Silver 


MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012

Note that the word "betafaka" above is not in italics.  What this means is that it is not an accepted name.  Taxonomists often put such names (not formally accepted) in quotations as well.  Such is the case with this "species".  It is a palm from Madagascar, probably suckering, that we really don't know much about.  There is speculation that this is a blue form of Dypsis decipiens, a well known species.  It doesn't show blue presently, but that would not be unusual, showing green when a plant is juvenile.  I would suspect this will end up being a species that suckers to a limited extent or not at all, is crown shafted and has a "decipiens"-type leaf.  Shown here are two examples of 2g plants.  I cannot show a mature specimen as the true identity of this species is unknown as of now.  But, for you Dypsis enthusiasts, this is one to try.   
  Dypsis betafaka

This cycad species is from Mexico and is
known for its very thin leaflets.  You will
see this cycad as a single trunk plant or as
a cluster with multiple stems.  The overall
crown size is not large, typically with a
spread of four feet.  A plant with a cuadex
of 12 to 18 inches is a very old plant.  Cold
tolerance is definitely into the low 20's F.
It likes full, hot sun.  This would be a good
sun species of cycads for those who live in
a colder climate.  It is closely related to
Dioon edule.  I am showing several plants
from the nursery.  Note the leaf and leaflet
appearance.  Also note that one specimen
shows how this species can sucker and make
a clustered plant.   the boxed specimens
are at least 20 years old.  So, you can
see this species is also ideal where
an enthusiast needs a plant that will not
get tall and needs to fit into a smaller area.
Dioon angustifolia Dioon angustifolia
Dioon angustifolia Dioon angustifolia Dioon angustifolia



This is a very rare South African cycad that
never gets big.  A large caudex would be six to
eight inches with a plant height of three to
four feet.  The leaves are a blue green in color
and tend to be upright.  This species likes sun
and appears to have cold tolerance to the low
20's f.  Shown here are the seedling band size
and a 5g plant.  Also shown is a mature
specimen.   I've found that sometimes this species
takes on a plumose appearance to the leaves,
making them "fluffy" in appearance.  This is
a very nice species for a sunny location where
a petite cycad is needed.  Enthusiast love this
rare species.  They are hard to find and we have
a good supply of seedlings and juvenile plants
for sale.
Encephalartos cerinus band Encephalartos cerinus 5g
Encephalartos cerinus    

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012

This is a single trunk, pinnate, crown-shafted
palm from the Mt. Lewis area of Queensland,
Australia.  It is a species in the group of palms
commonly known as "King Palms".  Most
people don't realize that there are actually
five or six different types of "King Palms",
and A. purpurea is one of them.  This species
is known for the purple like color of the
crown shaft.  The underside of the leaflets
are silver as contrasted to the dull green of
the common A. cunninghamiana.  It can be
planted as a single or as a multiple.  Cold
tolerance is not quite as good as the common
King, probably about 26 degrees.  The color
of the crown shaft is variable, some being more
purple than others.  This species is also known
by the older common names of "Archontophoenix
Mt. Lewis" and "Purple Crown Shaft King Palm".
Shown are a 5g plant, a 15g plant and some more
mature specimens.  Also, be aware that the
purple color won't appear until the plant is
in the garden several years and has some trunk
height.  The last photo is of a fruiting mature
specimen in the San Diego area.  Note the
silver color to the underside of the leaflets.
5g plants are $65, 15g $175.
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea


This is a single trunk, crown shafted pinnate
palm from New Zealand.   Some would group
this with Rhopalystlis baueri as a subtype.  It
is from Raoul Island.  It's crown shaft has a brown
or purple color and is quite attractive.  It is
a somewhat slower grower when small but
picks up speed once planted.  It's trunk is about
10 inches.  The leave droop with a gentle arch. 
This species tolerates full sun right on the coast
and would prefer filtered light in inland
locations.  Shown is a 15g specimen, price $175,
followed by a 5g plant, $65.
Below are two garden specimens.  These are
not very old plants and are just showing a bit
of trunk.   Cold tolerance is into the
mid-twenties F.  Some feel this is the most
beautiful of the Shaving Brush type palms.
Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii, 5g
Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii



I am particularly fond of this species of Dioon from Honduras because of its upright leaves and the soft, wooly appearance of newly emerging leaves.  When this species has a new throw of leaves, you cannot help but touch them.  They are unbelievably soft and furry.  Some describe them as similar to a baby rabbit foot's feel.  They retain this hairy, soft appearance for several months and then shed the fur and harden off.  Trunks can get up to 20 feet and new leaves are held upright as shown in the box nursery plant to the right.  We offer a great selection of this species from small plants to boxed specimens.  Shown here are pictures of several nursery and garden plants.  Very nice young plants start at $45.  We also have 5g, 15g and boxes available.   
Dioon mejiae box Dioon mejiae Rusty
Dioon mejiae garden Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae leaf 

This is a single trunk, crown shafted pinnate
palm from New Zealand.   Some would group
this with Rhopalystlis baueri as a subtype.  It
is from Raoul Island.  It's crown shaft has a brown
or purple color and is quite attractive.  It is
a somewhat slower grower when small but
picks up speed once planted.  It's trunk is about
10 inches.  The leave droop with a gentle arch. 
This species tolerates full sun right on the coast
and would prefer filtered light in inland
locations.  Shown is a 15g specimen, price $175,
followed by a 5g plant, $65.
Below are two garden specimens.  These are
not very old plants and are just showing a bit
of trunk.   Cold tolerance is into the
mid-twenties F.  Some feel this is the most
beautiful of the Shaving Brush type palms.
Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii, 5g
Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii


This is good sized, crown shafted pinnate
palm from New Caledonia.  It comes from Mt.
Koghi in the central area of the island.  Mature
trees obtain a height eventually of 40 feet or more.
The leaves tend to be upright in the crown and the
crown shaft has a white color.  It is more difficult
to find than other species of Burretiokentia.
An interesting thing about this species is that
younger plants have a triangular shape in the
crown shaft area below the leaves.  Shown here
is a 15g plant as well as mature specimens from
the wild.   One photo shows a blossom on a
fruiting tree.  We also have 5g nursery plants
at the nursery for sale.
Burretiokentia koghiensis Burretiokentia koghiensis
Burretiokentia koghiensis Burretiokentia koghiensis blossom  



This is an attractive cycad of the genus Cycas and is native to Africa, Madagascar and the Comoro Islands.  It is a lush green species with a trunk height that can, over decades, get over twenty feet, even with some branching.  The leaf length can reach six to eight feet, although under six feet is more common in full sun.  It will carry dozens of leaves at the same time.  Growth rate is fast.  Cold tolerance is in the mid to low 20's F.  Along the coast it can tolerate full sun but would prefer part day sun or filtered light inland.  Shown first to the right is a nice 5g plant, followed by a 15g below and a garden specimen.  This is a very satisfying cycad to grow.  
Cycas thouarsii 5g Cycas thouarsii 5g
Cycas thouarsii 15g Cycas thouarsii garden  


This is a fast growing, single trunk, plumose leaf Chamaedorea from Mexico.  It was only recently given this name because of the "plumose" leaves (fluffy, on multiple planes).  It is related to Chamaedorea glaucifolia and graminifolia.  I've discussed this species before but wanted to show some newly acquired plants.  This species is sometimes called the 'Baby Queen Palm", a name which I don't like at all.  I don't think it resembles the common Queen in any fashion.  It is thin trunked, crown shafted, and a completely different genus.  But, I've heard customers say "Oh, it looks like a little Queen Palm!", so perhaps its more useful than I give it credit.  In any case, it's becoming super popular.  It does well in a thin garden area and can tolerate full sun along the coast.  It looks best if planted in groups and is very fast growing, with a maximal height of about sixteen feet.  Shown are 15g and boxed plants with close up views of the trunks. 
Chamaedorea plumosa 15g triples Chamaedorea plumosa trunks
Chamaedorea plumosa Joaquin Chamaedorea plumosa box Chamaedorea plumosa box trunks


This is a South African cycad species that
has green leaves and makes a medium sized
adult plant.  By this I mean you, over several
decades, will get a plant with perhaps 4 feet of
trunk.  It's crown width is about 8 feet.  It likes
full sun and heat unless you are in a desert
locality.  It is a quick grower and has cold
tolerance to the low 20's F.  It can go even
to lower temperatures if you give it some cold
protection.  Shown first here is a coning sized
boxed specimen.  Also shown are a smaller
containerized plant and a few photos of a
mature garden specimens and the adult
Encephalartos natalensis
Encephalartos natalensis  



This is a single trunk species from Brazil.  Polyandrococos is a monotypic genus with only one species.  It is a very interesting palm.  It's height is variable, depending on conditions.  However, some trees can get up to thirty feet tall.  The trunk is medium sized, about twelve inches thick, with no crown shaft.  The leaves are eight to ten feet long and very silver underneath.  See the third photo where this is shown on our nursery plant.  I am intrigued by the interesting clusters of fruit.  Although I don't have a photo of mature fruit, trust that it turns the color of orange sherbert ice cream.  This is a very rare plant and hard to find.  Shown is a 15g plant we have available for sale.  We also have smaller plants in 5g.  This species likes sun and is cold tolerant to the mid twenties.  There is a very large specimen in Ventura, California. 
Polyandrococos c. Polyandrococos2
Polyandrococos3 Polyandrococos garden Polyandrocos green fruit


This is a gorgeous single trunk, crown shafted
pinnate palm from the mid-elevation of the
mountains of Lord Howe Island (home of the
Kentia Palm).   It has an umbrella shaped crown
of leaves, is small to medium sized, seldom over
20 feet tall.  It can take full sun along the coast
but would like filtered light inland.  It is slow
growing and is also known for its silver trunk and
crown shaft.  It's cold tolerance is into the mid-
twenties F.  Shown is a 15g from the nursery,
various photos.  We have smaller plants as well.
Also shown are pictures of mature plants. 
This species is rather hard to find in good size. 
The one shown is $195.  Ripe fruit is large and
red in color.
Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe canterburyana
Hedyscepe Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe

This is a New World cycad from
Mexico.  It is lush and tropical appearing
and has fairly horizontal or dependent
leaves.  In most areas, it prefers filtered
light and never gets more than about 6 to
8 feet vertical height (top of leaves).
Growth is slow and a plants with a 12 inch
caudex can be over 20 years old.  Cold
tolerance is into the low 20's F.  As with
other Ceratozamia, new leaves may
emerge a brown or reddish color.  They
fade to green within a month.  Shown is
a nice 15g specimen.  We have larger
and smaller plants.  I will show extra
photos of this species as it is quite
attractive.  The third photo shows
fairly newly emerged leaves.  Note how
soft they are.  They will harden over time.
 The last photo shows a garden specimen,
a slightly thinner leaflet variety.  We
offer many types of Ceratozamia for
sale.  They are a perfect plant for
gardens that have overhead canopy and
the need for more lower profile yet
tropical appearing plants.  Of note
cycads are water conserving in general.
Ceratozamia mexicana Ceratozamia mexicana
Ceratozamia Ceratozamia mexicana  

This is a Central African species that has
rather neat and small leaflets.  It is an ideal
species for someone who wants a powerful
Encephalartos but one that doesn't get too
large.  Note how the spines on the leaflets
are not that aggressive.  Over many decades,
this species can eventually put on s meter or
two of trunk, but leaf size is usually no
more than 4 to 6 feet in length.  Shown is
a 15g plant with close-ups.  Also shown is a
garden specimen.  We have various sizes of
this species for sale.
Encephalartos concinnus



FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2012

Palm enthusiasts all love any species from New Caledonia.  This is one of those species.  It is a single trunk, crown shafted palm that likes filtered light and never gets over 20 feet.  Sometimes it has a bit of a bulge in the crown shaft (as shown) but does retain a thin trunk.  It is a very attractive smaller tree.  It takes temperatures a bit below freezing and likes to grow in damp soil.  Shown here is a 5g plant with a close up of the crown shaft and also a 15g with another view of the trunk.  Also shown is a mature specimen from habitat.  We have only a few of these left, so if interested let us know asap.  BTW, we old time palm enthusiasts still call it by the name it's had for many years: Alloschmidtia glabrata. 
Basselinia glabrata 5g Basselinia glabrata 5g
Basselinia glabrata 15 Alloschmidtia glabrata 15g Alloschmidtia glabrata mature


This is not a very rare species, but sought after by people, especially who live in colder areas, because of its remarkable cold hardiness and it's fantastic blue color.  Shown here is a 15g that is very nice.  I say this because it shows a very nice "blue" color.  These photos are not "photoshopped" and are really this color.  Having grown a lot of plants, I would advise you to always select color when you pick blue species.  They are not always alike.  It's true that hot, dry environments give a better blue color.  But, even with this, there are differences, plant to plant.  This particular plant is also interesting because it is a "double".  As with other species, the larger plant will stunt the smaller one.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-teens F.  They like hot and dry sun.  People in super humid areas with lots of rain may have trouble with this species. 
Brahea armata 15g double Brahea armata double 15g


This is a difficult species of Trachycarpus to
find.  We have one or two 5g plants.  If you
read my recent article on this species at our
site, you probably could get pretty excited
about this species.  It is cold hardy and gets
to a height of about 40 feet.  Shown here is
a 5g plant.  Also shown are a few pic's of a
specimen (M.G. & T.S.), one shot showing
the complete circle of leaflets in 360
degrees.  Very cool.  I don't have any more
coming, so when these are gone it will
be a long time waiting for more. It likes sun
of course and cold hardiness is into the
mid to upper teens F.  . 
T. latisectus T. latisectus
T. latisectus MG & TS T. latisectus MG & TS  


This is a large suckering pinnate palm from Asia including Thailand, Malaysia and surrounding areas.  It is a much larger palm than a species presented previously here, Arenga enlgeri.  It is almost impossible to find in a nursery.  I only have this one 5g plant, as shown.  This species gets above 30 feet, sometimes to 50 feet and has about 12 inch trunks thick.  Arengas all have a silver discoloration to the underside of the leaves.  You can see this on the third photo below.  This species should be grown in strong filtered or part day light and allowed to grow up into the sun.  Cold tolerance is felt to be between 28 and 32 degrees.  This is not nearly as tolerant as A. engleri, which goes into the upper teens F. The last picture is of a large, but still juvenile plant.  This is a photo from PACSOA (an excellent website) and taken by a friend of mine, Rolf Kyburz.  
Arenga obtusifolia 5g Arenga obtusifolia leaf 5g
Arenga obtusifolia back of leaf Arenga obtusifolia, PACSOA, BY ROLF KYBURZ
Arenga obtusifolia, juvenile, at PACSOA website by Rolf Kyburz


Certain genera of palms are prone to hybridize.  Among this group is Chamaedorea, Dypsis, Phoenix and some others.  When you grow these genera, from time to time you'll have one that you just don't recognize and doesn't seem to key out as a known species.  Most growers will just call such a plant "species".  But, many are hybrids and the grower just doesn't know for sure what it is.  The plant given here is such a plant and probably a hybrid.  But, there are some hints:  The long and very strong blossom appearing on the third picture; the short trunk even though it's in a 15g; finally the leaf appearance.  All of these things are typical of C. radicalis.  But, it just doesn't look right for a pure Chamaedorea radicalis. The leaves are too long, the blossom is going too lateral rather than upright, and general appearance.   For these reasons, I'd bet on a Chamaedorea radicalis hybrid.  Or, if you don't agree, you can just call it "Chamaedorea, unknown".  But, I don't think it's a true species.  I do like the looks of it and think it'll be a smaller plant, single trunk and pretty cold hardy.  And, you'll probably be the only one around with this "species" if you buy it. I only have this one .
Chamaedorea species 15g Chamaedorea species 15g leaf
Chamaedorea species, base 15g    


This is a palm that makes a huge
mature specimen.  It can be single
trunk or multi-stemmed.  The most
interesting thing about this species
is the overwhelming length of the
leaves.  There are reports that leaf
length can exceed 50 feet!  There
are examples of this species growing
in Southern California.  I'd estimate
that the species will not tolerate a
freeze.  It likes full sun.  Shown is
a 15g plant for sale and a picture of
a mature specimen.  It is next to
impossible to find this species for
sale at a nursery.  Note the red-
orange color of the leaf stems.
Raphia farinifera Raphia farinifera


MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2012
(a good day for some cycads)

 This is one of the most exotic tropical Zamia species around.  It is from Panama and is known to get trunks up to eight to ten feet tall.  Obviously, such a plant is hundreds of years old.  I mention it hear because it is so beautiful and seldom available.  I have a few seedlings available.  They are in the band size and $95.  One is shown here along with a fifty year old specimen plant (male) that I have for sale.  This is a filtered light plant with cold tolerance into the lower 30's f.  The larger plant shown was outdoors in my garden for over ten years and did fine in San Diego.  Also shown is a close up of the leaves and a female cone.

This species has a trunk about six inches thick and will carry dozens of leaves.  It's leaves are not particularly armed and are glossy green.  As the name implies, it is one of the most elegant and beautiful of the genus Zamia.  
Zamia elegantissima seedling Zamia elegantissima 25g
Zamia elegantissima leaf Z. elegantissima female cone  

This dwarf species of Zamia is from Puerto Rico and surrounding Caribbean areas.  It is a small cycad with a caudex of six inches.  It suckers, forming clumps.  Its leaves are about 2 to 3 feet long, arching downwards and the leaflets are small.  The petioles are unarmed.  It likes filtered light and tolerates temperatures into the upper twenties F.  It prefers partial sun or strong filtered light.  But, it can be grown in sun along our coastal areas here.  Shown here are two cit pot sized plants.  I'm not showing any garden plants because they look identical to these.  We have plants available from bands to cit pot size.
Zamia amblyphyllidia cit pot Zamia amblyphyllidia 5g


This is a dwarf cycad species that never gets
over about 2 perhaps 3 feet tall.  It is a small
plant and forms a cluster of plants through
division.  It is very rare and almost never seen.
It is similar to Zamia kickxii.   The plant shown
here is a coning sized specimen.  They don't
get much larger than this.  For this reason, I
am only showing this one photo.  I have
perhaps one or two of these for sale.  Regarding
cold hardiness, little is known but I'd suspect
it is into the mid twenties F.  It can take
coastal sun but prefers part day sun or strong
filtered light. 
Zamia species dwarf cuba


I thought this morning I'd also like to show
you some photos of intensely blue South
African cycads.  All three are easy to grow,
like full sun and heat, and takes temperatures
down to the low 20's f.  Beginning to the
right is first Encephalartos lehmannii, then
a 5g Encephalartos horridus and finally a
blue Encephalartos longifolius.  I am
showing you these plants to perhaps stimulate
your interest in blue cycad species.  Also,
I'd like to announce an article I recently
published at our site: "ENCEPHALARTOS
Click on the icon and it'll take you straight
to this article.  I think its quite enjoyable
and there are lots of photographs and
information on culture.  
Encephalartos lehmanii 15 Encephalartos horridus, 5g
Encephalartos longifolius Encephalartos longifolius leaf Encephalartos horridus banner



SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2012

This species is one of the most perfect
suckering Chamaedorea that is around.  It
is one of the best houseplants around and 
gets to a height of about ten feet.  It's 
a very good grower.  It likes filtered light
outdoors and adequate water.  In the house,
medium light is required.  It is relatively
pest-free.  It's cold tolerance is into the
lower 20's f.  The 3g size shown is
normally $65.  I am having a three day
special starting today:
S/H would apply on mail orders and a phyto
permit to some states may be needed.
I am showing you the size to the right of
the plants that are on special.  We are 
also showing a much older plant in a 20g that
I've grown for several years.  The plants
in this 3g size are about 5 feet tall in their
pots and have multiple canes.  With three
plants you might be able to get a fruiting
colony.  Remember, you need both a male
and female plants with Chamaedorea to set
viable seeds.  For mail order, just call us.
Chamaedorea hooperiana 3g Chamaedorea hooperiana 20g
Chamaedorea hooperiana with rusty Chamaedorea hooperiana b ase  


This is a single trunk fan palm from Mexico.
There it grows at high elevation and this gives
it some degree of cold hardiness.  It is known
as the Rock Palm.  Although usually a single
trunk plant, occasionally suckering plants are
seen in the wild.  The leaves are green in color
with a hint of blue.  Some plants are more blue
thank others leading to terms like "the blue
B. dulcis".  Shown here is a 5g plant.  We also
have a limited number of 15g.  Also shown is
a specimen being grown in El Cajon, CA. 
When grown in partial sun or filtered light, the
leaves are very wide and flat; sort of exotic
appearing.  It can tolerate coastal full sun.  Cold
tolerance is into the mid to low 20's F.
Brahea dulcis 5g Brahea dulcis
Brahea dulcis garden    

This is a threatened and extremely rare species of
cycad from South Africa.  It is medium to large
in size when mature and has a blue color to the
leaves.  Once established, it is a good grower.  It
likes full sun, good draining soil and is cold hardy
into the mid twenties F.  Shown here are several
15g plants with about 4 inch caudexes.  Also shown
is an older garden plant.  Note the very nice color
to the leaves.  These trunks can, over many decades,
get to over 10 feet in height.  In the nursery
marketplace, it is getting very difficult to find
this species in anything except seedling stage,
and even then there are few of them.
E. middleburgensis 15g E. middleburgenesis 15g


E. middelburgensis 15g E. middelburgensis garden  



This is a dwarf Mexican cycad that has been around for many years.  It's leaves are typically under 18 inches long and it has a trunk usually under twelve inches in height.  It is a variable species with different leaf forms.  It grows in mountainous areas of Mexico and likes filtered light.  Plants are known to occasionally sucker from the base.  In colder areas, the leaves can die off for the winter to reappear in the spring.  Leaflets are soft and petioles are essentially unarmed.  It's a nice species for someone who needs a small plant in an area that is not full sun.  Cold hardiness is into the mid-twenties F. 

Shown first is a female plant in a citrus pot.  Note the appearance of the female cone.  One photo taken in 2007 shows particularly long leaves for this species.  We have a nice selection of this species in very shippable sizes.  We have seedlings starting at $30 that are nice starter plants. 
Zamia vazquezii cit pot Zamia vazquezii female cone
Zamia vazquezii leaf Zamia vazquezii garden Zamia vazquezii cit pot 2007


This is an Australian cycad of medium size with crown about six to eight feet across, leaf length three to six feet and trunk size under five feet, even after decades of growth.  So, it is not a huge plant but a good sized one.  The leaves are green and fairly flat in cross section.  The leaflet tips are a bit pokey, but it is not an "armed" cycad.  This species likes heat and sun and tolerates temperatures into the upper teens F.  I highly recommend some Dioons and some Macrozamias for those of you who are in marginal areas with a fair amount of cold.

Shown here is a nice 15g plant.  Note the flat leaf.  We also have available 20g and box sized plants.  Also shown is a picture of a garden plant and another nursery plant.  We have nice seedlings available for $35 and good citrus pot sized plants for $85 to $150 (last photo).
Macrozamia communis 15g Macrozamia communis leaf
Macrozamia communis Macrozamia communis box Macrozamia communis box
Macrozamia communis garden macrozamia communis cit pot  


Sometime with this blog I may have talked
about this variety of Chamadorea radicalis.
the latter is a very cold hardy dwarf, single
trunk species that is quite easy to grow.  Well,
there is a trunking species that is not a dwarf.
It gets to about 8 to 10 feet and is also cold
hardy into the lower 20's f. for sure.  It may be
able to take coastal sun like the dwarf.  These are
hard to find on the market.  Shown here are some
affordable 5g plants.  You can see there is no
question they are not dwarfs and are forming a
nice trunk.   The plants shown are over six feet
tall.  The second photo shows how we planted
more than one in a trunk.  We did this to give a
fuller looking plant over time.  Below is a more
mature plant in a 15g pot.  Also shown is the
regular dwarf form of Chamadorea radicalis.
Note how the trunking form has thinner leaflets
and a much more pronounced crown shaft. 

We just got in some great 5g regular form
Chamaedorea radicalis as shown in the last
Cham radicalis trunking Cham radicalis trunking


Cham radicalis trunking 15g Cham radicalis 5g  



I am again mentioning this species because it is so beautiful and grows so well in most areas of Southern California.  We just got in some fantastic and huge 5g and 15g plants.  I don't think you could find any better examples for sale.  This is a single stem species that is from Lord Howe Island.  It is often planted with several plants in the same pot; these are known as "multi's".  They will reach a height of about thirty feet in full sun and be taller if grown in filtered light.  In full sun the leaflets tend to droop downwards whereas in shade the leaflets are held in a more horizontal plane.  Growth rate is medium to slow.  Cold tolerance is down to about 24 degrees.  Along the coast they tolerate full sun; inland they want partial sun or filtered light. 

To the right is a single 15g about 8 to 10 feet tall.  You can see how chunky the base is.  Next is a large 5g multi's.  These are about the size of typical 15g plants seen elsewhere and are $85.  They are about 6 (or taller) feet tall and can be shipped easily.  This species makes a great houseplant.  We also have available larger boxed size plants.  This includes crane sized plants through associates as shown below.   So, if you are looking for instant mature landscape, we can help you.  The final shots are mature specimens in public gardens. 

If you like Howeas, look at our post from March 2 for more information and pictures.  This will supplement that to show the new plants we just got in. 
Howea forsteriana 15g Howea forsteriana 15g
Howea f. 5g Howea f. 5g multi Howea 30 inch box
Howea dug specimen Howea Balboa park Howea mission bay


This is a very rare cycad from the Philippines.
It is closely related to Cycas curranii and from
the same general area.  This species gets a trunk
up to 15 feet, about a foot thick.  The foliage is
upright.  They tolerate full sun along the coast
but would need protection in inland areas.  This
is a very attractive species.  Shown here is an
old 15g plant with about a foot of trunk.  I don't
have any pictures of mature plants in my gallery,
but they resemble palm trees in their mature
stage.  This species can be grown in Southern
California but its lowest cold tolerance is not
established.  It is very difficult to locate one
for sale.  I have shown close up photos of the
leaflets.  Note that they are very thin.  A trunk
picture is also shown.   
Cycas wadei var palawan Cycas wadei variety palawan


Cycas wadei variety palawan leaf Cycas wadei variety palawan 15g trunk  

People often refer to any palm as a "Date Palm".  This is not correct for one to say because "date palms" are a specific group of palms, the genus "Phoenix".  But, there is only one true Date Palm that produces the edible dates we know so well.  This species is Phoenix dactylifera.  Although usually seen as a single trunk palm, it actually is a suckering species.  In the date groves, growers remove the suckers so the trunks can be easily approached and climbed for the fruit.  Only females make the dates and you must have a male nearby to produce fruit.  People often ask for a female when visiting the nursery.  When grown from seeds, there is no way a small plant can be identified as a female.  Only a division of a sucker from a known female would guarantee the sex. 

This species is cold tolerant into the mid-teens F.  It seems to have more cold hardiness than the common Canary Island Palm.  Phoenix dactylifera loves heat and sun and won't do well in a shaded environment.  Also interesting is its intense blue color on some clones.  Shown here is a nice blue 15g plant.  We have these and smaller 5g for sale.  Both sizes can be shipped.  Also shown are some mature specimens with a picture of the famous "knobby trunk".  The last photo shows an associate of mine who has mature specimens available that can be craned right to your garden.
Phoenix dactylifera 15g Phoenix dactylifera commercia
Phoenix dactylifera knobby trunk Phoenix dactylifera mature for sale  

Yesterday I talked about seedlings of this species
that we have on special.  Today I'll mention more.
This is a very attractive cycad that has leaves that
look like a Holly Fern.  It is very primitive looking
with a span of about six to eight feet.  The caudex
never gets overly big, perhaps 18 inches or a bit
more in maximal girth.  But, the striking thing about
this species are the cones.  They are brilliant red
or orange color.  I've found that the female cones
(which look like pineapples) tend to me more red
colored.  The male cones (sort of corn cob shaped)
are usually more of an orange.  But, this is variable
among individual plants.  Several posts down you'll
see more photos of the cones. 

The leaves are dark olive green if given a bit of sun
protection, more lime green in full sun.  In inland
areas, filtered light is needed.  Cold tolerance is into
the low 20's F. I've shown closeups of the leaves
so you see the resemblance to the Holly Fern.
Shown here is a boxed specimen with a prominent
orange-red cone.  plants.  We have all sizes of this
for sale.  This includes affordable band sizes
up through 5g, 15g, up to coning specimens.  Every
plant enthusiast should have one of these amazing
plants.  They are easy to grow.  I am showing gallery
photos side by side of male and female cones to see
the difference.  Female cones are about 12 to 16
inches long and about 10 inches wide. 

The last row of pictures shows nursery plants of
this fine species. 
Encephalartos ferox box with cone Encephalartos ferox cone
Encephalartos ferox leaf Encephalartos ferox leaf2 Encephalartos ferox
Encephalartos ferox Encephalartos ferox 15g Encephalartos ferox 15g


I showed you this species previously but wanted to revisit it because we just got in some nice 20 inch boxed plants.  This is a single trunk species from Mexico.  It is similar to Chamaedorea glaucifolia and graminifolia, but has a very important difference.  In many areas it tolerates full sun and loves it!  This is very unusual for this genus that almost universally wants filtered light.  It's trunks get to about 2 inches thick, perhaps a bit more.  So, for Chamaedorea, this is a bit of a stout species.  Its height reaches about 15 feet.  This is a species that we've found looks far superior when planted as a colony with multiple plants side by side.  The boxes I'm showing you first here have four or five plants per box.  Usually our 15g have 3 plants.  All are gorgeous.  This species is quick growing and tolerates temperatures into the low 20's F.  They are becoming very popular and fit nicely next to a walkway in a confined area, either sun or shade (coastal).  As always, for those of you in interior or desert areas, figure you'd need to plant these in filtered light.  
Chamaedorea plumosa box Chamaedorea plumosa box


We also got in a very attractive birdsnest type of Anthurium.  I like these because of the wavy leaves.  I anticipate they'll get leaves of about 4 perhaps 5 feet tat maturity.  These plants have leaves a bit over 2 feet long right now.  We have a very limited supply.  They would like filtered light or a tiny bit of sun.  I'd estimate cold hardiness into the mid to upper twenties F.  
Anthurium species  


This is an un-armed, dark green and very
lush Australian cycad.  It does get quite
large and over one's lifetime can get a
very tall trunk.  We call it a "user-friendly"
cycad because you can brush the leaves
against your face without pain.  We are
offering a good buy on these bare root
seedlings:  #3 for $59.99
plus s/h and phtyo if your state
requires one.  These are 3 year old
plants that we are putting into 1g pots. For
a seedling they are excellent size.

We also have bigger plants in larger
sizes like 5g to 24 inch box.    A larger
plant in a 25g is shown below.  Cold
tolerance is into the low 20's F
Lepidozamia perofskyana lepidozamia perofskyana



This is another rare cycad, this time an Encephalartos
from South Africa.  This one likes full sun along the
coast and part sun inland.  These are bare root seedlings
with the special price of #3 seedlings, $44.99 plus s/h
You'll note these are not fresh, tiny seedlings but rather
established seedlings with some age to them.

Also shown is a larger garden plant.  We also have
for sale 5g, 15g, and big boxed specimens.  This
species makes a big cycad and is cold tolerant
into the low 20's F.  
Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus


This is another South African cycad
with leaflets that look like a Holly Fern.
It is a medium sized plant that essentially
does not form vertical trunk.  It is best
known for its colorful cones, fire engine
red with the female. 

Shown are seedlings of this species.  Our
special is #3 seedlings, $44.99 plu s/h.  
We also have 5g, 15g and coning sized
boxed plants.  The second photo is a 15g.
Below is a mature female plant with
that super red female cone.

We're running out of these, so don't wait
too long to order this very cool cycad.
e.ferox Encephalartos ferox
Encephalartos ferox female cone   E.ferox



The definition of the word "recurved" in the dictionary is "curved backward or inward".  With cycads, this means a leaf extends either upwards or outwards and, toward the end, curves down and back towards itself.  This occurs occasionally in the cycad world but is seen most commonly in Encephalartos.   It adds charm and a unique character to the plant.   Some collectors seek out plants that show tremendous recurve to the leaves.  A 180 degree circle at the end of the leaf is striking.  On occasion, you may see a 360 circle at the terminal portion of the leaf. 

I've found that the species where this is seen most frequently are Encephalartos horridus, lehmanii, trispinosus, longifolius, lanatus and some others.  I suspect you could potentially see it in a lot of species including other genera.  It is very common to see a gentle reflex to the leaves.  What I'm talking about here is an actual curling of the end of the leaves.  Photos here show a variety of examples of this leaf phenomena.  Be aware that not all plants from these species do this.  You just see it once in a while. 
Encephalartos longifolius with recurve
Encephalartos longifolius
Encephalartos trispinosus with recurved leaves
Encephlartos trispinosus
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos arenarius
Encephalartos arenarius
Encephalartos leaf recurved
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos longifolius recurved
Encephalartos longifolius
Encephalartos longifolius recurved leaf
Encephalartos longifolius
Encephalartos lanatus leaf recurved
Encephalartos lanatus



Cycad cones are reproductive organs that are either male or female.  They are actually composed of extremely modified leaves.  They emerge from the top crown of the plant and are typically held upward by a peduncle or stem.  Female cones form the seeds.  Typically they resemble a "pineapple" whereas the male cones are usually thinner and look like a corn cob with the corn fruit removed.  Usually female cones are thicker in diameter than the males.  Males drop pollen when mature and this pollen resembles talcum powder.  Cones can be quite tiny or up to 30 inches long.  A female cone with seeds can easily weigh more than 50 pounds on some species.  A variety of colors are seen with these cones.  From a taxonomic point of view, the cones are one of the most accurate ways to identify a species.  I want to show a variety of cones here as people seldom get to see them.  I hope you enjoy these photos.  Be aware that female cones on Dioons and Cycas genera are strikingly different than other types of cycad cones.  This is just a taste for you to look at.  I have literally hundreds of pictures of cycad cones.
Zamia inermis male cones
Zamia inermis, male cones 
Encephalartos villosus male cone
Encephalartos villosus male cone 
Encephalartos villosus male cone
Encephalartos villosus male cones  
Encephalartos villosus female cone
Encephalartos villosus female cone 
Encephalartos ferox female cone
Encephalartos ferox female cone  
Encephalartos ferox female cone
Encephalartos ferox female cone 
Encephalartos ferox male cone
Encephalartos ferox male cone 
Encephalartos horridus female cone
Encephalartos horridus female cone 
Zamia obliqua female cone
Zamia obliqua female cone 
Lepidozamia p. cone female
Lepidozamia p. female cone 
Lepidozamia p. cone male
Lepidozamia p. male cone 
Stangeria male cone
Stangeria e. male cone 
Stangeria female cone
Stangeria female cone 
Cycas media female cone
Cycas media female cone 
Dioon merolae female cone
Dioon merolae female cone 
Ceratozamia miqueliana female cone
Ceratozamia miqueliana female cone,
note spines on cone, typical of Cz's 
Cycas revoluta male cones
Cycas revoluta male cones 


Sometime with this blog I may have talked
about this variety of Chamadorea radicalis.
the latter is a very cold hardy dwarf, single
trunk species that is quite easy to grow.  Well,
there is a trunking species that is not a dwarf.
It gets to about 8 to 10 feet and is also cold
hardy into the lower 20's f. for sure.  It may be
able to take coastal sun like the dwarf.  These are
hard to find on the market.  Shown here are some
affordable 5g plants.  You can see there is no
question they are not dwarfs and are forming a
nice trunk.   The plants shown are over six feet
tall.  The second photo shows how we planted
more than one in a trunk.  We did this to give a
fuller looking plant over time.  Below is a more
mature plant in a 15g pot.  Also shown is the
regular dwarf form of Chamadorea radicalis.
Note how the trunking form has thinner leaflets
and a much more pronounced crown shaft.  
Cham radicalis trunking Cham radicalis trunking


Cham radicalis trunking 15g Cham radicalis 5g  


Brahea is a genus of fan palms from Mexico and Central America.  Brahea aculeata is in this genus and specifically from northwestern Mexico where it grows in hot and dry localities.  Although it can get to heights over more than 20 feet, most specimens around are twenty feet or less.  The leaf color is green to blue-green.  One can spot this species because the petioles have a blue color to them.  The leaves are medium in size.  This species is known to tolerate very hot sunny conditions and is extremely drought tolerant.  I would consider them slow growing.  Shown here are several pictures of nursery plants and a mature specimen.  Cold hardy estimates are into the mid teens F.  The fourth picture below has a particularly full crown of leaves.  I've found usually this species is more sparse with leaves.   
Brahea aculeata 5g Brahea aculeata 15g
Brahea aculeata  Brahea aculeata  Brahea aculeata juvenile 

Since we're discussing rare Brahea, I thought I'd mention this one as well.  It's also from Sonora but extends into Baja Mexico and other parts of Mexico.  It is a thin trunked, taller Brahea.  There are many plants in Balboa Park, San Diego, with heights of at least 30 feet.  Trunk diameter is about a foot, quite thin for a Brahea.  Unfortunately, it is not quite as cold tolerant as many other species of this genus.  I'd estimate it will tolerate temperatures into the low 20's F.  It likes full sun.  Shown here are several sizes of nursery plants and pictures of mature specimens.  Note there is a bit of old retained leaf bases on the trunk.  This is a very attractive fan palm with a crown of leaves that is not overly large. 
Brahea brandegii  Brahea brandegii 15g 
Brahea brandegii mature  Brahea brandegii crown  Brahea brandegii mature 

Also from Sonora and Baja, Mexico, this blue colored, thick trunked fan palm is occasionally seen in Southern California.  It loves full hot sun and is extremely drought-tolerant.  This species has a trunk that can get up to almost 2 feet in diameter and trunk height on older specimens can exceed forty feet.  It has a full crown of five foot wide leaves.  The color is typically very blue, especially in inland areas with full hot sun.  If grown in a greenhouse or right along the coast, its color is not as blue but rather "muddy" and sometimes even green.  I had one in my garden that got shaded out and actually died.  It has yellow-tan blossoms that reach well beyond the crown of leaves and are quite impressive.  Growth rate is slow.  Cold tolerance is about 15 degrees F.  It may not like real humid environments as would be seen in tropical areas.   The fifth picture below shows how icy blue this palm can be if given hot, full interior sun.

The last picture is interesting because it shows the palm in blossom.  This specimen is two blocks from the Pacific Ocean in San Diego and does not have the intense blue color seen in more inland locations.   
Brahea armata 5g  Brahea armata 15g 
Brahea armata garden  Brahea armata mature  Brahea armata, very blue 
Brahea armata leaf  Brahea armata   


This species of cycad gets enormous!  I mean
really tall.  There are specimens with heights
to almost 60 feet.  Leaves are six to ten feet
long.  Leaflets are soft and without spines or armor.
For this reason, it is felt to be a very user friendly
cycad.  But, you must give it adequate room to
grow.  Shown is a cit pot size of this fairly rare
cycad.  Compared to the Lepidozamia peroffskyana,
the hopei leaflets are wider.  This is the best way to
tell them apart when they are young.  Shown is a
mature specimen but realize over centuries they
get taller than this plant.   The citrus size plant that
is shown is $175.  It is about 6 years old.  With
prevention of international shipment of seeds
presently, this is a near impossible species to
find.  And, it is so easy to grow and does great
in many areas of Southern California.  Also
is a near boxed size plant at the nursery.  A close
up photo of the leaf is presented along with a
picture of a female cone from one of our
Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei


Lepidozamia hopei box Lepidozamia hopei leaf Lepidozamia hopei cone female


From time to time on this blog, I've talked about companion plants.  These items are so important to giving the garden "that finished look".  Also, they are colorful and exciting.  Whether your garden emphasizes palms, tropical trees, cycads, or other major landscape items, you still need to consider adding companion plants.

Companion plants are other types of botanical material that add to the beauty of the garden.  They are typically smaller plants that hug the garden's floor.  They are often colorful, exotic appearing, and different.  One puts these things below the larger, major landscape items.  The large palm trees set the theme of the garden.  The smaller plants, including companion plants, finish the garden.  We do sell miniature palms for this purpose, but to add color there are a lot of other choices.

Imagine a garden that has beautiful palms.  But, the ground is just dirt.  It is not appealing.  You need to dress the ground with wood shavings or mulch and then add the small plants to fill in the holes.  Standard ground coverings are sort of boring.  Today I will show an assortment of plants that are just ideal for finishing a tropical or semi-tropical appearing garden.

I could go on and on about this and show lots more pictures.  But, these photos will give you a taste of what I'm talking about.  These were all taken at our nursery.  The supply of companion plants changes with the season, but we typically have something nice for everyone. 
Ti, red Ti, red
Nerogelia red Philodendron red congo philodendron cannifolium
Philodendron solleum Canna Blechnum fern
Ti, variegated Philodendron species Ginger variegated
Philodendron pig skin succulent Anthurium pink
Vriesia in blossom Vriesia imperialis succulent
Alocasia wentii Alocasia species Alocasia caldera


Most people have heard of this genus from
the Reunion Islands.  It includes the interesting
Bottle Palm and Spindle Palm.  Well, there is
another species that is more cold tolerant
than either of these.  It is Hyophorbe
There are quite a few of these doing
well outdoors in Southern California.  I'd
estimate cold tolerance at the mid to upper
twenties F.  Unlike it's two sisters in this
genus, this species does not get a huge bulge
in the trunk.  It is a bit "swollen" but only mildly
so.  As a younger plant it sometimes has a dark
wine red color to the petioles and crown shaft.
It gets to about 20 feet and wants full sun.  It
will eventually die in shade (from fungal
infections).  In desert locations, partial sun
would probably be best if you don't get too
cold.  Shown here is an outdoor grown boxed
specimen that saw 2007 winter cold of 25
degrees.  We also have 5g and 15g plants for
sale.  It is very attractive for a smaller palm. 
Below is shown is a flowering specimen grown
in San Diego, CA and a 5g nursery plant.    
Hyophorbe indica box Hyophorbe indica base


Hyophorbe indica Pacific Beach Hyophorbe indica, 5g  


The genus Dictyosperma is often quoted
as having only one species, D. album.
This is one time I would disagree with
taxonomists.  When you examine
different plants in this genus, they
certainly don't all look the same.  With
this said, shown here is the prototype,
the "monotypic" species for this genus,
D. album.  It is from the Mascarene Islands
and is a single trunk, crown shafted,
pinnate palm that gets to about 25 feet
height.  Like the Hyophorbe above, this
plant has been outdoor grown and seen
25 degree temperatures.  It is rare to
find for sale, especially of this size.
Also shown is a mature specimen in a
garden.  We also  have a limited number
of 15g and possibly 5g for sale.
Dictyosperma album Dictyosperma album


Dictyosperma album trunk Dictyosperma album  


This is a suckering, semi-dwarf Chamaedorea species from highland areas of Mexico.  It produces "stolins", which are projections of small stems from the base of the mother plant.  These shoot out and crawl the ground, usually diving below the surface, rooting out, and then creating a new vertical trunk and stem of the plant.  For this reason, you could say that this species "runs" and expands in size.  But, it is never invasive or overwhelming.  It's trunks are very thin, perhaps a quarter of an inch and overall height is usually four to eight feet.  The leaves are solitary and simple.  A nice clump will hold fifty to one hundred stems.  It is propagated from the stolins or seeds.  It likes filtered light and is cold hardy into the mid-twenties or lower.  It is known to grow in the SF Bay area.  this is a wonderful plant for any garden if you have the right conditions.  We have a few of these for sale and in the spring will have a new batch of plants for sale from propagated stems. 
Chamaedorea stolinifera box Chamaedorea stolinifera
Chamaedorea stolinifera 1g Chamaedorea stolinifera  



Howea forsteriana is one of four species from Lord Howe Island, which is east of Australia about half way between Australia and New Zealand.  It is a great species for us here in Southern California.  It gets to a typical height of thirty to forty feet and a trunk diameter of less than 12 inches.  Grown in full sun the leaflets tend to hang downwards.  In shade they are more horizontal.  It is a slow growing palm, especially as a seedling or smaller plant.  In the ground it grows more quickly.  It's cold tolerance is about 25 degrees F.  It can be grown in filtered light or full sun along the coast. 

This plant is a single trunk, non-crown shafted palm.  It is often planted with several plants in the same pot.  These are known as "multiples".  These multiples will usually have a dominant plant which will outgrow the others in the pot.  This gives a "stair stepping" to the overall appearance of the plant.  Grown as a single plant (either in the pot or in the garden) this species has a faster growth rate and will trunk more quickly.  Historically this is a fantastic interior plant.  You will frequently see it in hotel and bank lobbies.  It's leaf color is dark green, especially when grown in shadier conditions.

We have a whole assortment of sizes of this species available at the nursery, both singles and mutiples.  Shown here are sizes from one gallon to box specimens.  For those wanted crane sized material, we can provide these as well.  I've shown some garden photos of this species for you to enjoy.  Be aware that nurserymen typically charge more for Howeas because of their slow growth rate when grown in containers.

Because this palm is so sought after and popular, I am going to show a whole array of photos.    For those who want to learn more about this species, click on the icon below for a complete article on this species.

Howea bannerFor article, click on icon to left

Howea f 1g Howea f. 5g
Howea f 15g Howea f leaf Howea f trunk
Howea single box Howea box Howea crane size
Howea in garden Howea garden Howea mature
Howea f. are the larger plants in this photos


This is a single trunk, pinnate palm from
Madagascar.  It is unbelievably rare and almost
impossible to obtain.  Seeds are protected by
CITES and no more seeds can enter the U.S.
We have several plants for sale.  It is a very tall
plant when mature but maintains a thin trunk.  It
has green leaves and many say it looks like an
upright Coconut Palm.  It is near extinct in the
wild because locals have cut them down.  It is
also very slow growing.  Shown here is a 7g
plant.  We have only one or two and perhaps a
5g.  It is so rare that I do not have a photo of
a mature plant.  One can Google the name if
they wish for habitat pictures.  There are no
large trees in any botanical gardens.  This is
an expensive plant but will never be offered
Voaniola gerardii


This is a suckering, crown shafted palm that typically doesn't get over 10 feet tall and likes filtered light conditions.  It is very exotic and tropical looking.  What makes it particularly ideal for us in California is that it can be grown in most areas, especially along the coast.  It is very difficult to find in nurseries.  It is a good grower and the tallest ones I've seen are 12 feet tall.  Shown here are the 5g sized plants, the only size I have presently.  I have only a few of these.  They will sucker and make small stands that are extremely attractive.  These plants are $75.  Don't miss out on this great species.  The photo below shows a mature clump of this species.  BTW, as a treat, this species produces beautiful purple seeds.
Pinanga coronata 5g Pinanga coronata 5g


Pinanga coronata    





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Phil Bergman

Owner, Jungle Music Palms and Cycads 


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