Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

Nursery Hours:
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Phone: (619) 291-4605
Fax: (619) 574-1595
Email:
phil.bergman@junglemusic.net

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013

 

DIOON SPINULOSUM
POPULAR FILTERED LIGHT CYCAD

I have this very desirable cycad on special right now with large one gallon plants.  They are a great buy.  So, I thought I'd tell you more about it.  It is from the Oaxaca area of Mexico.  Domestically, a plant with three to six feet of trunk is about thirty to fifty years old.  But, in natural habitats, plants are found with trunks up to thirty feet.   These trunks are usually six to twelve inches thick and rarely branch above the ground.  Crowns hold numerous green to gray-green leaves (grown in sun) that are four to six feet long and gently arched.  Leaflets are eight inches long or less and have small spines along their margins although these may be lacking on very old plants. 

Shown here first is a boxed nursery plant that I've been growing for about 25 years.  It has a male cone.  I've also shown other nursery plants including the one gallon size on special (below in this last Tuesday's Blog) 

Culture is quite simple if you provide good draining soil and don't give this species too much sun.  It can tolerate full sun in high humidity areas or right along our coast.  Inland areas require filtered light.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to lower twenties F.  I've never lost one outdoors in our locality.  They make excellent patio potted plants and can be grown inside the home.  We have an excellent selection for sale but only a handful of the super old plants as shown here in the first three photos.  It has over 2 feet of trunk and the plant in the bright orange box shows four feet of trunk.
Dioon Spinulosum Dioon spinulosum
Dioon spinulosum Dioon spinulosum Dioon spinulosum
Dioon spinulosum Dioon spinulosum Dioon spinulosum
One gallon size presently on special
Dioon spinulosum
new leaves emerging on rare red emergent form
Dioon spinulosum
Old plant in Balboa Park Arboretum, San Diego
http://www.junglemusic.net/gallery/cycads/Dioonspinulosum0475.jpg
photo by JO

 

DIOON MEJIAE
UPDATE ON THROW OF NEW LEAVES

On August 22nd below I showed you the soft and fuzzy new leaves emerging from a Dioon mejiae cycad.  Today I want to shown how they've increased in size in just one week.  These new leaves are now three to four feet long; they've doubled or tripled their length in a week!  It's quite amazing how fast a throw of new leaves emerge from the caudex.  And, as you can see, they are still the softest leaves you can imagine when you touch them.
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
   

 

 

DIOON MEROLAE "GOLDEN FORM"
A DIFFERENT VARIETY OF D. MEROLAE

Sometime about fifteen years ago, cycad enthusiasts began to see a different form of Dioon merolae become available.  By report, the new emerging leaves were a different color, sort of a golden green.  This color was reportedly due to tomentum on the newly emerging leaves.  We had never seen such a thing, so there was a lot of enthusiasm about this new form of merolae.  The seeds were also larger in size and were from the region of Oaxaca, Mexco, whereas regular merolae seeds were from Chiapas.  I've grown several hundred of this form and have yet to see a good example of golden new leaves.  But, I thought I'd mention it here because you will hear about it.  Shown are several juvenile plants.

But, I would comment that my decades of experience with both palms and cycads has taught me that one always sees variation within a species in habitat.  If you collect and grow a species from a habitat location and then travel one hundred miles and collect seeds of the same species from that location, you will see differences between the two plants.  Seed collectors have informed me that just moving over one mountain range may demonstrate notable differences.  We've definitely seen this with Dypsis from Madagascar.  The same applies to cycads as well.  There are at least six forms of Encephalartos natalensis.  As our "Golden merolae" get larger, Over time, I think we'll know if they are going to end up different.  I apologize but I don't have a photo of a mature Golden merolae plant.   
Dioon merolae golden form Dioon merolae golden form
Dioon merolae golden form Dioon merolae golden form  

 

CHAMAEDOREA HOOPERIANA
BEAUTIFUL SUCKERING, FILTERED LIGHT PALM


From time to time we have a good selection of this great palm.   Shown first to the right are our 3 gallon size of this Central American, filtered light pinnate palm.  It is probably one of your best choices for a "Bamboo Palm".  It does great outdoors and inside the house.  Mature height is about ten to twelve feet.  Cane thickness is an inch.  Leaflets are about three feet long and leaf color is green.  It tolerates a bit of morning sun but cannot take full sun.  Compared to Chamaedorea costaricana, the leaves are longer and it is not as tall.  And, most feel it's a bit faster and easier to grow.  Cold tolerance is about 23 to 24 degrees F.

Shown today are the 3g size as well as some larger plants.  These 3g plants are always in short supply.  All sizes have multiple stems and some are in flower or fruit.  They are a perfect size to plant in the garden or to repot.  Don't miss out on this great garden species. 
Chamaedorea hooperiana 3g Chamaedorea hooperiana 3g
Chamaedorea hooperiana 3g Chamaedorea hooperiana 3g Chamaedorea hooperiana 3g
Chamaedorea hooperiana
15g size plant not on sale
Chamaedorea hooperiana
25 gallon sized plant not on sale
Chamaedorea hooperiana
Leaflets of variegated form, not on sale


LIVISTONA SARIBUS
HUGE BARBS, FULL LEAVES, BLUE SEEDS

When I was early in my career as a palm guy, I was awestruck by this species.  I couldn't believe how dangerous and vicious the spines were.  But, for some reason, it became a magnet for my interest and attention.  Spines can be as long as three inches, are often black in color, and at maturity can be curved like a doctor's sewing needle.  They are ferocious!  And, the leaves form a full circle; 360 degrees of leaflets. Imagine holding a cut leaf with these huge barbs and this five to six foot fan of a leaf!

Native distribution of this species is wide, from China down through the Malaysian peninsula, and into the Islands of the Philippines and Indonesia.  Trunk height can reach 90 feet in the wild, although domestically plants are usually forty to fifty feet maximum.  Old leaf bases fall off to give a gray colored trunk.  Petioles are long and, as mentioned, heavily armed for battle.  Interestingly enough, seeds at maturity are a beautiful blue as shown below.  This is a sun loving species.  Cold hardiness is into the low 20's, perhaps lower.  Shown here are several recently acquired 5g plants and a boxed plant, some mature specimens, and a final picture from the South Texas Palm Society showing the amazing barbs on the petioles. Once you learn the characteristics of this species, you'll not have trouble spotting one in a garden. 
Livistona saribus Livistona saribus
Livistona saribus Livistona saribus Livistona saribus
Livistona saribus Livistona saribus Livistona saribus
Livistona saribus Livistona saribus Livistona saribus
Livistona saribus Livistona saribus Livistona saribus by John Volk PSST
by John Volk, Palm Society South Texas

 

LEPIDOZAMIA PEROFFSKYANA
LARGER AUSTRALIAN CYCAD WITH SOFT, TOUCHABLE LEAVES

This is a very exotic and rather large cycad species from northeastern Australia.  It can get up to 20 feet of trunk with a spreading crown up to twenty feet in width.  The leaflets are unarmed and the petioles have no spines.  This is why, at our nursery, we call this species a "User-Friendly" cycad.  You can literally brush the leaves against your face with no prickles.  Color is dark green, sometimes a bit lime-green if in intense sun.   The most common mistake made with this species is that the gardener doesn't give it enough room for the laterally spreading crown. 

This is a rather easy species to grow.  It is frost tolerant and can take temperatures well into the low twenties F.  Surprisingly, along the coast, it can tolerate light exposures from full sun to shade.  Inland areas would require filtered light or part day sun.  It likes good draining soil.  Also, it makes an excellent potted cycad.  Container growing will stunt the size it will eventually get.  If grown inside the house, you'd give it adequate sun and plenty of room.  Leaves can easily get up to six feet or more.  But, because of its soft leaves, it makes a good interior cycad and nothing is quite as dramatic appearing...

This cycad is highly recommended for people who don't see bitter cold.  Shown here are a variety of sizes that we offer for sale with a few shots of domestic plants.  The last photo is a male cone that came up on one of our larger nursery plants.

Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana
Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana
Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana
Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana
Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana Lepidozamia peroffskyana

 

ORANIOPSIS APENDICULATA
THE FORGOTTEN "BRONZE PALM"

This is an attractive pinnate palm from the Mt. Lewis mountain area of Queensland, Australia.  For those of you who like Arcontophoenix purpurea, this species grows side by side with the Purple Crown Shaft King Palm in habitat.  When I visited this habitat over a decade ago, I was surprised to find that the dominant species was Oraniopsis, not the Archontophoenix.  They are both about the same height and have similar trunk sizes.  However, the Oraniopsis is not crown shafted.  It is known as the Bronze Palm because of the peculiar gold-gray color on the underside of the leaves.  I say "fogotten" above because so few people know about this species or are growing it.  Yet, it has surprising cold hardiness, certainly better than the Archontophoenix purpurea. 

In habitat, I'd say this species got up to twenty, perhaps thirty feet tall.  The trunk diameter is about a foot.  The crown width is about twelve feet or a bit more, which is similar to the Purple King.  In the garden, it is a slow species but a steady grower.  It will tolerate full sun in coastal areas but probably needs sun protection inland.  A safe way to grow it is to have it start in filtered light and work its way up into full sun.  I have known this species to grow in the San Francisco area.  I'd estimate its cold tolerance to be in the mid to low 20's F.  Shown to the right are a 15 gallon and 5g plant.  Below is a 2 gallon size.  Also shown are habitat photos and one juvenile plant in a garden.  I'd highly recommend this species. 
Oraniopsis apendiculata Oraniopsis apendiculata
Oraniopsis apendiculata Oraniopsis apendiculata Oraniopsis apendiculata
Oraniopsis apendiculata oraniopsis apendiculata Oraniopsis apendiculata

 

EASY TO SHIP CYCADS
FIVE GALLON AND CITRUS POT SIZES

This morning I thought I'd quickly show you some cycads that are in very easy to ship containers.  When you start with a seedling, you definitely have years to go before you see a landscape ready plant.  With the five gallon/citrus pot size, you have a plant that is of adequate size for the garden yet doesn't cost an arm and a leg to ship.  As most people know, we are a certified grower and can ship plants in their containers directly to any of the states in the U.S.  Doing this rather than bare rooting means you'll have less immediate losses and you won't have the almost guaranteed one year set back that you see when plants are bare rooted.  Below I'll make minimal comments on the species and show a citrus pot/5g plant and a mature specimen to the right.  It's designed for quick viewing.  I hope you enjoy these photos.  I'm just randomly picking some species.  If you are interested in obtaining any cycads of this size, just give me a call.  We can usually ship plants within 24 hours via Federal Express.  We have about 100 different species of cycads in this size for sale.  I can actually send email photos of the exact plant you'd be receiving if you prefer.  
cycads on table cycads cycad alley
Encephalartos trispinosus
A blue South African species that likes heat and sun.  As a mature plant it is small to medium in size.
Encephalartos trispinosus cit pot Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos natalensis
Another South African cycad but green in color.  It makes a medium to large plant as shown and prefers full sun in coastal areas.
Encephalartos natalensis cit pot Encephalartos natalensis
Stangeria eriopus
A very different appearing type of cycad from South Africa.  It has a fern-like appearance, is a dwarf type of plant and prefers filtered light in most areas.
Stangeria eriopus Stangeria eriopus
Lepidozamia peroffskyana
A large species of cycad that has softer, unarmed leaflets and leaves.  It can get a large spread of leaves.  In most areas it prefers filtered light but can take full sun along the coast.
Lepidozamia peroffskyana cit pot Lepidozamia peroffskyana
Ceratozamia hildae
A dwarf Mexican cycad that has leaves typically not over four feet long and prefers filtered light in the garden.
Ceratozamia hildae Ceraatozamia hildae
Dioon merolae
A very beautiful Mexican species that is slow growing, takes years to get 3 feet of trunk, prefers full sun in most areas and has a medium sized crown. 
Dioon merolae cit pot
Dioon edule
This is a small to medium sized cycad from Mexico that is probably the most cold hardy of all cycads and the most able to take hot desert sun. 
Dioon edule 5g Dioon edule
Encephalartos lehmanii
This is a very desirable species from South Africa that's mature size ranges from small to medium.  The color is intensely blue with no side barbs on the leaflets.  It prefers heat and full sun in most areas.  Desert culture would be part day sun. 
Encephalartos lehmanii 5g Encephalartos lehmannii
Cycas thouarsii
This is a medium to sometimes tall species of cycad from the Island of Madagascar.  It is quick growing and prefers filtered light or sometimes full sun along the coast. 
Cycas thouarsii 5g Cycas thouarsii
Macrozamia communis
This is a medium sized Australia species that gets about eight feet tall and is fairly cold hardy.  It prefers full sun except in the hotter desert areas. 
Macrozamia communis cit pot macrozamia communis
Encephalartos transvenosus
This South African species will, over many decades of growth, get extremely large with substantial vertical trunk as shown in the habitat picture to the right.  It prefers full sun along the coast.
Encephalartos transvenosus cit pot Encephalartos transvenosus
Zamia standleyi
This is one of many tropical Zamias that we grow.  This species is a medium sized plant, exotic, and prefers filtered light.
Zamia standleyi cit pot Zamia standleyi
Zamia muricata
This is another tropical Zamia but from Venezuela.  It has a bit of cold hardiness and likes filtered light.  In the right areas, it is easy to grow.
Zamia muricataa cit pot Zamia muricata
Dioon mejiae
This is a medium sized cycad that comes from Mexico and parts of Central America.  It tends to throw upright leaves that emerge soft and fuzzy.  It is best grown in less than full sun, even along the coast.
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013

 

ALOE PICATILIS
BLUE-GRAY SUCCULENT WITH ORANGE FLOWERS

This small to medium sized succulent from South Africa has a branching gray colored stem that supports multiple heads of clustered leaves.  These leaves are a foot long, thick and fleshy, over-lapping and blue or blue-gray in color.  I mentioned this species once before but wanted to demonstrate some close up views of the flower.  In gardens, this plant gets to about six feet tall although larger specimens are present in the wild.

Shown here is a 5g plant.  We can obtain these by special order and ship right to your door.  It is a full sun plant, drought resistant and said to tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.  Because of its small size it can be put into that small sunny location as an alternative to a cycad.
Aloe plicatilis Aloe plicatilis
Aloe plicatilis Aloe plicatilis Aloe plicatilis
Aloe plicatilis
Photo c/o Wikipedia
Aloe plicatilis   

 

ENCEPHALARTOS KISAMBO
CENTRAL AFRICAN GREEN CYCAD WITH UPRIGHT LEAVES

Twenty years ago this rare Central African cycad was essentially not available.  But, nowadays, it is seen for sale from time to time.  It is native to southern Kenya and is a medium sized plant with trunks up to twelve feet, perhaps more.  Leaves can reach ten feet long and tend to be held in an upright fashion.  This upright nature is invariably seen with new leaves.  Older leaves will relax and lay more horizontally.  This species can cluster and is very fast growing.  It puts on a pretty big shown of leaves.  Leaflets are fairly wide, but what I look for to identify this species are the upright leaves and the leaflet shape.  Leaflets gradually and symmetrically come to a point in the terminal leaflet.  Spination is present but not excessively so.  Of note, cones are yellow, sometimes almost a canary yellow color. (see last photo)

Shown here is first a nice 15g plant with a six inch caudex.  I am also showing a band size seedling, a group of 15g plants, a few nursery boxed specimens and plants in gardens.  This species, being Central African, can tolerate full sun right on the coast.  Most other areas require part day sun or strong filtered light.  Cold tolerance appears to b in the mid to low 20's F.  We have all sizes available and can ship any sized plant right to your door.
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo
new flush of leaves not fully green yet
Encephalartos kisambo

 

BRACHYCHITON RUPESTRIS
FAT SNAKESKIN TRUNK
TEN DAY SPECIAL PRICE!

About three decades ago I visited Seaborne Nursery up in the Lake Hodges area of San Diego County.  It has long since vanished as a nursery.  The owner was a fellow who knew a lot about palms, cycads and certain tropical trees.  His name was Bill Seaborne.  To old time enthusiast, this name might ring a bell.  He even wrote a book back then on tropical plants.  In any case, Bill (now deceased) convinced me to try a few of this interesting species of tropical tree.  I planted them and within about five to ten years found they had the most peculiar, large and swollen trunks.  The leaflets are quite fine with a hint of red.  But, the trunk is massive and swollen at the base.  It is a green trunk and has a  snake skin type of texture.  

Growth rate is quite fast.  I have a few 15g trees for sale.  But, it's the 5g size that I'm putting on special.  This size is shown here.  I am also showing you pictures of mature trees off the Internet.  This species is not known for flowers, but rather for it's peculiar swollen trunk.  It can get to fifty feet tall, likes sun, and has a cold tolerance that is probably into the low 20's F. 

REGULAR PRICE FOR 5G IS $65
SPECIAL 10 DAY PRICE 5G $45

You must mention this Blog Only special when purchasing to get this price.
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris by angv.gov
by anbg.gov
Brachychiton rupestris by Adelaide Zoo, Australia
by Adelaide Zoo, Australia, website
   

 

TRINTHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
BLUE FAN PALM, SUPER COLD HARDY

This South American suckering fan palm comes from Argentina and Uruguay.  From these locations, you might suspect it could have quite a bit of cold hardiness, and this is the case with not only this species of Trithrinax, but of the genus as a whole.  Availability of seeds of this species has been sparse to nonexistent.  And, as a young plant, it is quite slow growing.  Consequently, to get a good sized container plant can take a decade or more.  We were fortunate to locate some very nice 15g plants as shown.  I'd estimate their age at 12 years.  They are dividing and very chunky at the base.  They are totally acclimated to full hot sun and are intensely blue.  This is a perfect selection for someone who lives in an interior area with lots of heat.

Overall height of this species is up to twenty feet.  Multiple stems are produced, but usually the number is just several.  Leaves are small, typically about two feet wide.  The segments of the leaves are pointed and sharp.  Trunks retain old leaf bases but, like
Washingtonia, eventually fall off.  This is a drought tolerant species and can take temperatures well into the 100's F. and cold tolerance is into the teens.  We also have 5g and seedlings.  It is extremely rare to find beautiful 15g plants as shown.  Of note, most specimens I've seen are blue.  The last two photos show a mature plant that is blue-green in color, probably due to the fact that it's not getting full sun.
Trithrinax campestris 15g Trithrinax campestris 15g
Trithrinax campestris 15g Trithrinax campestris 15g Trithrinax campestris
Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris 15g

 

DIOON SPINULOSUM
TEN DAY SPECIAL ON 1 GALLON PLANTS

This is a medium sized cycad that prefers filtered light in most areas and can get up to twenty feet of height in a few hundred years.  It is a New World species and has leaves about four to five feet long with very fine spines on the leaflets.  Shown here is a one gallon plant which we have on special.  These plants have a two inch caudex and are quite nice.  They tolerated temperatures into the mid to low 20's F.  and can be grown as a houseplant.

BLOG SPECIAL, REGULAR $45, NOW $30
OR, THREE FOR $79


These are easy to ship, weather permitting.  We can hold purchases and ship when it's warmer.  Larger plants are shown here so you know what these juveniles will look like over time. You must mention this Blog special when ordering to get these prices.
Dioon spinulosum 1
Dioon spinulosum 1g

 

ENCEPHALARTOS MUNCHII
RARE, SMALL-MEDIUM SIZED CYCAD FROM MOZAMBIQUE

This has always been a species of cycad that I have particularly liked because of the interesting soapy green to blue color of the leaves.  It is native to central Mozambique where a single family of plants grows on Zembe Mountain.  The trunk of this species gets to about a meter height with a crown width of approximately six feet with leaf length of approximately four feet.  Young leaves are often blue and plant leaf color varies from green to blue.  It can be distinguished from a similar species, Encephalartos manikensis, by the fact that the leaflets are more toothed, leaves are more keeled, and leaves are more erect. 

It is a sun loving area in most areas but can take part day sun.  Although not as cold tolerant as South African species, it does take temperatures into the mid to low 20's F.  Shown here are multiple nursery plants and some more mature garden specimens.
Encephalartos munchii Encephalartos munchii
Encephalartos munchii Encephalartos munchii Encephalartos munchii
Encephalartos munchii Encephalartos munchii Encephalartos munchii
Encephalartos munchii munchii habitat
donated photo, habitat in Mozambique
Encephalartos munchii
 

ENCEPHALARTOS "BANDULA"
A SPECIES OR VARIETY FROM MOZAMBIQUE

North of South African in Mozambique and adjacent countries, you will find multiple cycads of green or blue-green color that are often referred to as the "Mankinensis Complex".  This group includes not only Encephalartos manikensis, but other plants which have either become their own species or are still just part of the "family".  This includes such species as E. chimanimaniensis, munchii, concinnus and multiple others.  There is yet a lot of field work to be done on these species to determine which will eventually obtain species status.  Until then, they just remain as part of the "complex".   

Such is the case with Encephalartos "bandula".  When I started in cycads about 30 years ago, collectors talked like it was a species for sure.  But, when taxonomists looked more closely, they said "wait a minute, we're not sure".  This plant gets a caudex of about one to two meters with leaves four to five feet long.  Leaflets are spiny and cones are reportedly green.  Leaf color is green with hints of blue.  Shown here is a citrus pot plant and various garden specimens.  It is a sun appreciative species with cold tolerance about like E. munchii, into the mid to low 20's F. 
Encephalartos bandula Encephalartos bandula
Encephalartos bandula Encephalartos bandula Encephalartos bandula
Encephalartos bandula Encephalartos bandula  

 

LIVISTONA MARIAE
TALL AUSTRALIA FAN WITH A THIN TRUNK

This fan palm is from northern and western Australia.  It gets to a height of about ninety feet and has a trunk only one foot in diameter.  Trunks retain leaf bases for a while, but eventually drop off leaving a ringed, gray colored trunk.  Leaves are about six feet wide with very long petioles that have a red-brown color.  Interestingly enough, young plant of this species typically have red to red brown leaves.  This color fades with age and maturity to green or gray green with some glaucous wax underneath. 

Livistona mariae is closely related to Livistona rigida, a shorter Australian species.  L. mariae wants full sun, room to grow and is cold tolerant to the low 20's F., perhaps a bit lower.  Shown here is an example of the nice sized 15g we just got in.  I tried to show some close ups of the petiole to show the red tint.  We also have smaller sizes for sale.  BTW, if you are married and your wife is named "Marie", you probably ought to get one of these.
Livistona mariae Livistona mariae
Livistona mariae Livistona mariae Livistona mariae
Livistona mariae Livistona mariae Livistona mariae

 

MONDAY, AUGUST 26, 2013

 

JUBAEA CHILENSIS SEEDS
WITH FRUIT AND CLEANED

We just received a fresh batch of seeds.  I'm showing photos of how they look with the fruit on, how this fruit peals off and what the seeds inside look like.  The fruit is reportedly edible.  Note how easily these seeds can be cleaned.
Jubaea chilensis seeds Jubaea chilensis seeds
Jubaea chilensis seeds Jubaea chilensis seeds Jubaea chilensis seeds

 

 

SUCKERING, THIN TRUNK, UNKNOWN DYPSIS SPECIES WITH WHITE CROWN SHAFTS

As many of you experienced growers know, over the years we've all gotten seeds from Madagascar that either came in with just an unknown name and were called "Dypsis species", had an incorrect name, or were named according to their locality of seed collection.  Such is the case with the palm I'm showing you presently.  It came in as Dypsis species  "torkaravina".  But, you won't find anything by searching under this name.  There is a Dypsis tokoravina, but this palm looks nothing like that one.  So, we're best to just call in "unknown species".

We got a big batch of seeds.  Those that were promptly repotted over the years are now 15g size.  Those that didn't get repotted are nice plants but smaller.  Shown here is a 5g suckering plant.  People who have put these in their garden tell us they get a chalk white crown shaft.  Trunks end up with a three inch diameter.  They take a freeze.  Most have grown them in partial sun or strong filtered light.  It sort of resembles a lutescens or baronii.but is different.  Plants show a variable complement of colors on the petioles and the trunks.  It's also a good growing species. We don't have many left, so do check them out. We have no photos of mature trees.
Dypsis torkaravina  Dypsis "torkaravina"
Dypsis "torkaravina" Dypsis "torkaravina"  


DYPSIS CRINITA
BRANCHING MADAGASCAR PALM WITH NEW RED LEAVES

This species is native to northeastern Madagascar where it lives at elevations of about eight hundred feet and is found in forest areas and along streams.  Dransfield renamed the genus from "Vonitra" to "Dypsis" when he published his book on Madagascar palms.  This species has fibrous trunks that are small to medium in diameter size and branch above the ground.  A mature plant typically has several trunks.  In California, anticipate a mature height of about twenty feet although they are taller in the wild.  New leaves emerge red, sometimes purple-red as shown here.  There is no crown shaft.  Trunks have shaggy hair. 

Shown here are some 5g plants with illustrations of the new red leaf.  I'd grow it in part day sun or full sun along the coast.  Inland areas require strong filtered light. It will take a freeze.  We have limited supplies of these for sale.
 
Dypsis crinita  Dypsis crinita 
Dypsis crinita  Dypsis crinita  Dypsis crinita 
Dypsis crinita
plant in Vista, CA 
Dypsis crinita  Dypsis crinita by TS at RPS
photo by TS at RPS 

 

PHILODENDRON SPECIES
ASSORTMENT OF DIFFERENT SPECIES

We have an excellent relationship with many botanical gardens and conservatories in the country.  One really fun thing that we do is trade plant material.  With this, I always try to obtain interesting Philodendron.  Here I am showing you a few of the different leaf forms.  I have dozen of different types of these.  Most are climbers and will go up the trunks of other trees.  These plants are really fun to grow and are a great companion plant.  Almost all want filtered light and have cold hardiness into the freeze area.
Philodendron species Philodendron species
Philodendron species Philodendron species Philodendron species
Philodendron species Philodendron species Philodendron species

 

 

SABAL MINOR
A SOMETIMES TRUNKLESS FAN PALM

I would like to revisit this species and make a few simple points.  Above I say "sometimes" a trunk-less palm.  This is because it has been  found that, on occasion, this species can form trunks up to ten feet. But, in my experience they have little to no trunk over 90% of the time.  Rather, they seem to "crawl" on either the ground or in a pot.  If you look at the fourth picture below, you'll see the large foot next to the trunk and that this plant has moved to the edge of the pot.  It is crawling sideways, not making vertical trunk.

This species has small, deeply dived leaves.  The leaflets are rather narrow.  The dead ringer to identifying this species is seeing a small fan palm with vertical blossoms, often with small black seeds, this is not over your head.  Typical heights are four to six feet when mature.  The sixth picture shows a newly emerging flower spike.  No other Sabal species forms a flower on such a small plant.   

Cold hardiness is excellent.  I 've received reports of this species tolerating temperatures near ten degrees F.  Flowering can occur within a few years of planting a five gallon plant.  They prefer sun but can tolerate partial sun.  We have an assortment of sizes available from 15g down to seedlings.  If you want a small plant that you can see over and doesn't obstruct a view, this might be the perfect species for you.  Also, for those in super cold areas, this might be the perfect plant to try.  It would be simple to cold protect it on those coldest winter nights.
Sabal minor Sabal minor
Sabal minor Sabal minor Sabal minor
Sabal minor Sabal minor Sabal minor
Sabal minor Sabal minor Sabal minor


 

ARCHONTOPHOENIX PURPUREA
THE PURPLE CROWN SHAFT KING PALM WITH COMMENTS ABOUT THE COLOR

This species of King Palm is from the Mount Lewis region in Queensland, Australia.  It comes from high elevation.  Because of the latter fact, it was hoped that this desirable palm would be the most cold hardy of the King Palm group.  Remember, there are about six types of King Palms.   Well, this did not prove to be the case and it is, in fact, not as cold hardy as several other species.  But, it does sport a sometimes nice, purple like color to the crown shaft.  You must be aware that this is quite variable.  Sometimes it's a cool purple color, other times it's sort of a boring color of purple.  But, it is not the same as the normal Archontophoenix cunninghamiana.

Shown here is a nursery grown Archontophoenix purpurea that is beginning to show the purple color.  Seedlings and small plants never show the color.  I advise customers to not expect color until the palm has a few feet of trunk.  And, I cannot predict with confidence which individual plant will show the most color.  It's sort of a gamble. On the Net if a photo looks unreal, the color has probably been altered. 

Hallmarks of Archontophoenix purpurea that you might look for on nursery plants include:
1.  Single trunk, crown shafted, showing hints of color in the crown shaft (pictures 3 and 4)
2.  Underside of the leaves prominently silver
3.  Noticeable yellow color to leaf stem and spear (fifth picture below)
4.  Ramenta (dark hairs laying longitudinally along the under side of the leaflets) on the back side of the leaflets (last photo, hard to see because these hairs are quite small).  Only this species and the common King Palm have ramenta.  This is a way to distinguish this species from other Archontophoenix with silver on the back of the leaves.

I could go on and on about this species, but this is enough for today.  It takes full sun along the coast and is cold tolerant to perhaps 26 to 27 degrees F., whereas the regular King Palm goes down to 25 degrees. 

FOR THOSE INTERESTED, HERE'S A LINK TO MY NEW ARTICLE ON ALL THE TYPES OF KING PALMS: SEE KING PALMS
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontopheonix purpurea
Archontopheonix purpurea Archontopheonix purpurea Ramenta

 

KENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
A GREAT CROWN SHAFTED PALM FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

I've discussed this great New Caledonian species before because it is such a good species for those of us in Southern California.  It comes from high elevation in its native habitat, is a good growing palm and can tolerate full sun easily along the coastal strip.  Its cold hardiness is down to about 23 degrees, better than the King Palm or Kentia Palm.  It has an average trunk diameter of eight to ten inches and a mature height of usually about thirty feet.  It can also be grown in part day sun or strong filtered light. 

Shown here is a nice 25g plant along with other sizes.  You'll notice that the leaf color in the sun is blue-green in a way.  It is certainly not a lime green color.  Also, some new leaves may emerge with a hint of red color.  Growth rate is good.  We have a reasonable assortment of all sizes although our larger plants are selling out quickly.
kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS kENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
Kentiopsis oliviformis Kentiopsis oliviformis by Kyle Wicomb PACSOA
by Kyle Wicomb PACSOA
Kentiopsis oliviformis

 

HELICONIA SCHIEDIANA
TEN DAY SPECIAL ON ALL SIZES!

All of our Heliconia are grown from rhizomes from existing and flowering plants in Southern California.  This results in large, very strong growing plants as shown here.  Heliconia schiediana can take sun or part sun, gets to a height of sever to eight feet, and flowers freely in the summer.  It is very cold hardy.  Even if a hard freeze knocks down the leaves, plants usually come back vigorously in the spring.  Flowers are red/yellow or orange/yellow.  We have two varieties available.  Sizes include 5g, 15g and maybe a few 7g plants.

We also have several other species available.

ALL HELICONIA 20% OFF FOR TEN DAYS, applies to any species of Heliconia we have!

This special applies to any other Heliconia that we have in stock.  I think there are some latispatha, ligulata, and possibly a few others.  Just mention this blog posting when purchasing to get the discount.  Limited numbers available.  Other discount coupons do not apply with these plants.

Heliconia schiediana Heliconia schiediana
Heliconia schiediana Heliconia schiediana Heliconia schiediana
Heliconia schiediana TS at RPS
photo by TS at RPS
   

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2013


DYPSIS DECIPIENS SUPER SILVER &
DYPSIS DECIPIENS RED
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

As with many species of palms from Madagascar, it seems that they represent more of a "complex" than an exact species with a consistent appearance.  By this I mean, if you pick a species like, let's say, Dypsis baronii, you'd think they'd all look alike.  But, this is not true.  Some sucker, others don't.  Some have silver crown shafts, others are green or yellow.  Some have droopy leaves, others are upright.  Thus, we have a "complex" where we'd call it a Dypsis baronii, but recognize there are lots of variations within that species.

Such is the case with Dypsis decipiens.  Some sucker, some don't.  Some have green crown shafts, others have silver.  Some have plumose leaves, others are flat.  And, some even have a blue color to the leaves.  There is one form of Dypsis decipiens that most collectors feel is most desirable.  And, it's the one with the silver crown shaft.  This variety is called "super silver" or "decipiens red".  This is what I'm showing this morning.  It has a definite red color to the newly emerging spear and sometimes the petiole and leaf (see photos here).  And, over time, the crown shaft becomes brilliantly silver as shown in the pictures.

I would say all forms of D.decipiens are similar in culture and growth.  They are fairly cold hardy into the low 20's F.  They like to be reared in less than full sun when young but then exposed to full sun when larger, especially along the coast.  They do not like the combination of cold and wet; rot may develop.  For all, growth rate is very slow.  it takes 6 years for me to grow a standard 5g plant.  The last photo of a plant in the ground is a "super silver form" from the garden of Mardi Darian in Vista, CA.
Dypsis decipiens super silver Dypsis decipiens super silver
Dypsis decipiens super silver Dypsis decipiens super silver Dypsis decipiens super silver
Dypsis decipiens super silver Dypsis decipiens super silver Dypsis decipiens super silver
Dypsis decipiens super silver Dypsis decipiens super silver  

 

DYPSIS LUTESCENS
ARECA OR BUTTERFLY PALM

Within the next two weeks we will be getting in a new batch of Dypsis lutescens.  Some will be almost twelve feet tall! This palm is a suckering species from Madagascar that is medium sized, seldom over 18 feet in Southern California.  It has attractive, thin trunks with a prominent yellow color.  This color can extend into the leaf stems as well.  It has a medium growth rate.  Along the coast, it prefers sun or very bright filtered light.  In inland areas it cannot take full sun.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F.  We also have smaller plants available.

By the way, this is the most popular palm for blocking the neighbor from looking over the fence into your yard!  For this reason we also call it the "Neighbor Blocking Palm".
Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants
Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants Dypsis lutescens by D.O.
photo by D.O.
Dypsis lutescens Dypsis lutescens  donated photo
photo by E.S.
Areca palm
Size we anticipate getting

 

CYCAS CURRANII
A GORGEOUS CYCAD FROM PALAWAN, PI

This species is a large sized plant that was originally discovered by an American visiting the Island of Palawan in the Philippines in 1906.  But, soon thereafter, lost it's status as a species until Ken Hill reestablished its species status in 1995.  Trunks attain a height of over thirty feet with a diameter one to two feet.  Leaf length is six to eight feet, Leaflets are about ten inches long, one half inch wide and, as the leaf ages, become somewhat dependent and droopy.  There is little information available on this species. 

Shown here are multiple nursery plants including a larger boxed specimen.  The 15g plants are about eight to ten years old and have heights in their pots of about seven feet.  Note how their leaves and the leaves of the box are not droopy as of yet.  I've shown another nursery plant where the leaves, with age, droop.  This is a part day sun species, perhaps tolerating full sun along the coast.  I have seen it tolerate temperatures into the mid-twenties F.  I find it to be prettier than Cycas thouarsii. 
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii Cycas curranii
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii Cycas curranii
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii by George Yao PACSOA
by Gorge Yao PACSOA
Cycas curranii
Droopy leaflet specimen
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii Cycas curranii by George Lao PlantAPalm
by George Lao PlantAPalm

 

FURCRAEA MACDOUGAL
TEN DAY SPECIAL ON BAND SIZE

This species is a stunning member of the Agave family.  It is known as the tallest Agave and is native only to a small area Oaxaca, Mexico.  There is lives in hot, dry scrubland.  Overall height in the wild gets to twenty feet, although plants in cultivation often flower at a height of about ten feet.  Leaves are blue-green in color, very fleshy and stiff, and pointed upwards.  They are also thick and firm with small spines along their margins.  When old dead leaves are cleaned from the trunk, it is very cool looking.  The second specimen photo shows old leaves that haven't been removed.  

When this species flowers, a huge upright flower up to twenty feet emerges.  Initially there are white flowers and these are followed by a large number of "bubils" that fall to the ground and are the means of propagation.  The mother plant then dies.  So, you can see that growing this species requires that you know of a plant that is flowering and about to perish.  A friend of mine recently had such a plant and I was given young bubils to grow.  The bands shown are about six months old.  Cold tolerance from my friend's experience is that this species survived 22 degrees F in 2007.  It is a full sun plant. 

REGULAR PRICE BAND SEEDLINGS $30
TEN DAY SPECIAL PRICE BAND PLANTS $15
OR, THREE FOR $40


This species is stunning and rarely seen available at nurseries.  

FURCRAEA MACDOUGALII  FURCRAEA MACDOUGALII 
FURCRAEA MACDOUGALII  FURCRAEA MACDOUGALII  Furcraea m. by TS RPS
photo by TS at RPS 
Furcraea m by TS RPS
photo by TS at RPS 
Furcraea m. by FLIKR Jardin Boracua
photo by FLIKR Jardin Boracua 
 

ALLAGOPTERA ARENARIA
15G BEACH PALMS NOW AVAILABLE

 I discussed this species from Brazil previously, so I will not say a lot here.  It is a dwarf palm for full sun that is fairly cold tolerant.  Because it is slow growing, it's rare to see 15g plants available.  I wanted to let you know we have a limited number of this size presently available.  Note their fluffy leaves (plumose) with grouping of the leaflets.  Maximum height is usually about six feet.  Natively they live on sand dunes close to the ocean, so obviously this is a salt tolerant species.
 
Allagoptera arenaria 15g  Allagoptera arenaria 15g 
Allagoptera arenaria 15g  Allagoptera arenaria   

FRIDAY,  AUGUST 23, 2013

 

CARYOTA GIGAS
KING KONG, BLACK STEM
FISHTAIL WITH THICK TRUNK

Every day we have new visitors to this Blog.  So, I try to bring back a few species that everyone seems to like.  This is one of those species.  It is native to northern Thailand.  I took photos yesterday of the boxed plant and a 15g C. gigas shown here.  This species gets a height of about 35 feet and has a very thick trunk at the base.  It's basal diameter can be up to thirty inches; this is super thick for a Fishtail.  The leaves are huge, sometimes ten feet across and fourteen feet long.  So, you need to give it lots of room.  Don't plant it too close to your house.

They like lots of water and full sun along the coast.  If you try to underwater it, it'll get brown tipping and look bad.  So, give it water!  It's a good grower once it gets established.  the latter takes six to twelve months.  It is a good canopy forming species and has a life of at best 20 years.  This is because Caryotas are all monocarpic and die when they blossom.

This species does not transplant well.  Digging and moving can throw it into an early blossom and death.  Cold tolerance is somewhere between twenty and twenty three degrees F.  We have an assortment of sizes for sale..
 
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas Caryota gigas

 

CHAMAEDOREA COSTARICANA
ATTRACTIVE BAMBOO TYPE PALM

In the nursery trade, a "Bamboo Palm" is a suckering understory palm that resembles a bamboo.  Of this group, Chamaedorea seifritzii is the most common.  But, this particular species is not nearly as attractive, durable or easy to grow as two other species: Chamaedorea costaricana and hooperiana.  I find these two latter species to be far superior and highly recommend them.

Shown today is Chamaedorea costaricana.  Native to southern Mexico and Central America, it is known to reach heights of 25 feet in the wild.  My experience is domestic gardens is that it peaks out at about 16 feet.  It does sucker and has thin canes, usually about an inch in diameter.  The leaves are green and growth is fairly quick.

It likes filtered light but some claim it tolerates full coastal sun. I've been a bit skeptic about this.  Shown here are a 5g and 15g plant.  I also have nice 2g plants.  All are in rather limited supply.  Of note, this also makes a wonderful potted patio plant and can be used inside the home with ease.
Chamaedorea costaricana Chamaedorea costaricana
Chamaedorea costaricana Chamaedorea costaricana Chamaedorea costaricana
Chamaedorea costaricana Chamaedorea costaricana Chamaedorea costaricana

 

DIOON STEVENSONII
SUPER RARE, NEWLY DESCRIBED SPECIES
 
Last Fall we first announced that we had this super rare species of Mexicn Dioon.  We are down to our last few plants.  Dioon stevensonii is not only attractive but also essentially unavailable on the cycad market .  Many years ago I obtained some seeds which I germinated.  I have been growing these for about eight years.  These plants have been extremely slow growing.  I have some in citrus pot size and a 15g.  They seem to resemble Dioon tomasellii, but have noticeable differences.  The leaflets are thinner, longer, softer to the touch and widely spaced.  They do have spination.  The caudex and petioles, especially on new leaves, is extremely tomentous with tan or slightly red colored hairs.  There are persistent white hairs on the stems.  But, the most different characteristic are the golden-brown emerging new leaves which are also extremely hairy.  All of these different characteristics are illustrated in the photos presented here. 

My son Jesse picked this as his favorite of all the Dioon species.  Because we didn't know the true identity of this species, were merely called them "Dioon species".  That is, we called them this until this past weekend.  A close friend of mine and noted author on the cycads of Mexico, Jeff Chemnick, visited me and saw these plants. He was shocked to see them and immediately recognized them from his cycad research.  Before he told me what they were, he wanted to see every plant we had.  He then confirmed, in his opinion, that they were Dioon stevensonii.  This is a newly described species that has been separated off from Dioon tomasellii.  Below, I will give you a link to the descriptive article from 2009 by Nicolalde-Morejo, Andrew P. Vovides et al, that described this species.  Most notable characteristics from the article are: 
1. Trunk size up to 120 cm, diameter 25 cm
2. Variable number of leaves that are 60 to 120 cm long, arch downwards and have golden-brown tomentum when emerging
3. Petiole and rachis have dense white tomentous hairs when young and later turn green
4. Paired leaflets at right angles to the rachis, thin, widely spaced, pointed with a few spines and gently arching downwards
The article below is technical, not right for all readers.
Link to Article on this species  


This is a medium sized, full sun or part day sun species.  I anticipate cold hardiness into the mid to low 20's F.  Very limited numbers available.  The first seven photos here are of the 15g size, the rest are citrus pot sized. Because of rarity in collections, there are no reliable photos to show mature specimens.  But, the article above shows the plant in habitat.
Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii

Dioon stevensonii
Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii
Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii 
Dioon stevensonii  Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii
Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii
Dioon stevensonii  Dioon stevensonii Dioon stevensonii

 

CHAMAEDOREA STOLINIFERA
A MULTI-STEMMED, SIMPLE LEAF DWARF PALM
BOTH SEXES AVAILABLE IN ONE POT

This dwarf palm is one of my favorite shade loving species.  I say this because it is very easy to grow, doesn't get overly tall, has very cute simple leaves (one segment, no individual leaflets) and finally because it has the most interesting fashion of propagating itself.  Most palms simply make another stem at the base, adjacent to the mother stem.  This species sends out a runner just on top of the soil.  This mall "running" stem then dives under the soil and emerges a short distance away and grows vertically as a new stem.  It's crazy to watch.

Native to high elevation in Mexico where it grows at 2500 feet, stem diameters are a quarter of an inch.  Leaves are short with a short petiole.  Leaf length and width is under a foot.  They are simple, bifed at the end and green in color.  They are known to be somewhat difficult to set seeds on as a domestic plant.  You need both a male and female plant to set seeds.  You must time your pollination of the female flower just right.  To facilitate hobbyists who want to set seeds, I potted up male and female plants into the same pots about a year ago.  These plants came from cane divisions of known parents of both sexes.  They aren't big yet (not shown here), but will someday give people the chance to propagate this species.  Culturally, it is a shade plant with cold tolerance into the low 20's F.  We have other sizes available, limited numbers.
Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera
Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera
Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera

 

NANNORRHOPS RITCHEANA
THE MAZARI PALM 
If you go to any palm reference book, it will describe Nannorrhops as a "monotypic type of fan palm".  This means there is only one species in the genus.  As a nurseryman, I have always known that there is the "green form" and the 'blue form" of the Mazari Palm.  Interestingly enough, the blue form has been found to be more cold hardy.  It is a suckering palm that gets to about ten feet tall.  Habitats include Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

About five years ago another type of Nannorrhops was introduced.  If you look at the fourth picture below, you'll note that the color of this plant is a white-silver.  This has become known as Nannorrhops arabica in the trade.  I don't think that this is widely recognized as a new species as of yet.  But, the color is dramatically different.  It comes from a different area in the Middle East.  I do have both the classical "blue" (more of a gray color) and the "arabica" for sale.  The five gallons shown just arrived and are the gray form.  They are six year old plants.  It's hard to find the Mazari with any age.  On the N. arabicas, we only have one gallon size for sale.  This species likes heat, sun and is cold tolerant into the teens F. 

A good way to recognize this species is this: Note that it's a suckering fan palm, not too tall, with shades of blue or gray to the leaves.  Note that the ends of the leaflets are stiff, but not dagger quality.  Then look at the upper stems, just where the lower leaves have emerged.  If you see wooly, tan colored tomentum, it is a Nannorrhops.  The last picture shows this wooly tomentum material.    
Nannorrhops ritcheana Nannorrhops ritcheana
Nannorrhops ritcheana Nannorrhopsarabica Nannorrhops ritcheana
Nannorrhops ritcheana Nannorrhops ritcheana Nannorrhops ritcheana

 

SABAL CAUSIARUM
BEAUTIFUL LARGE FAN PALM WITH STOCKY TRUNK

I have discussed this remarkable species before, but because I have available some great 5g and huge 15g plants, I felt I had to mention it again.  It is unique in the palm world because of its huge, thick trunk that is light tan to white in color.  Like the Copernicia baileyana which I discuss below, the trunks of this species are stunning.  The trunks get over thirty feet and can be over two feet thick.  The crown of rounded leaves is beautiful against the sky.  Leaf color is green to blue-green.  There is a prominent petiole. 

This species likes full hot sun and can tolerate desert heat.  Its cold hardiness is into the mid-teens F.  The first four photos are the 15g plants followed by two photos of the 5g size. I can ship either size anywhere within the U.S.
Sabal causiarum  Sabal causiarum 
Sabal causiarum  Sabal causiarum  Sabal causiarum 
Sabal causiarum  Sabal causiarum   
 

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2013

 

NOTE TO READERS:

As a plant enthusiast and with my decades of trying to learn more about palms and cycads, I have gone to every source I know to learn more and see photographs of individual plant species and see pictures of the various parts of that species.  I've gone to reference books, journals and individual articles.  And, in more recent times, I've utilized the Internet.  Have you ever asked yourself, "What does the leaf of this plant look like?". Or, how do I see close up photographs of the petiole or crown?  If you have, you know that it's near impossible to find a picture that answers your questions.

This lack of information and photographs was one of the reasons I started this Blog.  People may ask themselves: "Why are there so many Blog photographs of all the parts of the plant?"  My answer is 'This is how you learn about the plant"  You see it up close and you recognize the differences between species by looking at what's in front of you.  This is why we try to always show pictures of a plant with close ups of the trunk, stem, leaf, etc.  Nowhere else can you see such illustrative photos. 

Yes, this makes this Blog slower to upload on your computer.  But, my feeling is that it's worth the wait.  I'll always share with you photographic material that I guarantee you is not available for viewing anywhere else.  And, if you read this Blog on a regular basis you will soon be very knowledgeable on palms and cycads.  That's a promise.  

Phil

 

 

DIOON MEROLAE
A HUNDRED YEAR OLD SPECIMEN AND A THOUSAND YEAR OLD PLANT IN THE WILD

Yesterday we were moving plants around and I saw a gorgeous nursery specimen of Dioon merolae.  I felt I just had to take some photographs for my readers.  The plant shown here is in an orange box and has 24 inches of trunk.  It is a superb nursery specimen of this species.

Native to Mexico, this is a slow growing species with a crown of leaves that is about six to eight feet maximum across.  The trunk is usually about a foot thick, sometimes thicker on old specimens.  Remember, old leaf attachments leaves leaf scales on the trunk.  Each scale represents one prior leaf.  By counting the number of scales on a trunk and dividing by the number of leaves in an average throw, you can come up with the number of throws any given plant has had.  Add to this about ten years to begin to form a trunk and divide the estimated frequency of throwing new leaves and you come up with an estimated age of any plant.  With this in mind, we figure the specimen shown here at the nursery is about a hundred years old.  It was imported into the U.S. before CITES laws prevented importing large cycads in the 1970's. 

So, this is a special plant and very old.  Along the coast, this is a full sun species with a cold tolerance to about 22 degrees F.  In the garden it takes about thirty years to get a foot of trunk.  The photos here show the various parts of this species.  The old specimen photo by J.O. below may be a plant that is one or two thousand years old.  Note how the leaves of this species overlap and have a gentle downward arch to them.  Leaf color is a gray-green. 

We have all sizes of this species for sale with something for everyone.
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae Dioon merolae
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae
photo from above, looking into the crown
Dioon merolae
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae Dioon merolae
Dioon merolae
note stacking of leaves with a arch downward
Dioon merolae
female cone
Dioon merolae habitat by JO
Habitat photo Mexico by JO

 

 

DIOON MEJIAE
THE SOFT, WOOLY AND FRAGILE NEW LEAVES

Recently I discussed Dioon mejiae, another Mexican Dioon.  At that time I mentioned how the new leaves emerge with soft wool and fur.  However, I was surprised to find that I had no photographs to demonstrate this.  Yesterday I found a nursery plant that was throwing new leaves.  So, I took photographs to demonstrate the appearance of a new swirl of leaves on this species.

The leaves shown here have been emerging for about a week.  They are up about sixteen to eighteen inches.  Trust me that they are softer than any new leaf you've felt.  If you think of the soft fur of a young kitten, you are close to the sensation that touching these leaves gives you.  But, they are super fragile.  Rough handling will snap them right off. 

And, like with all cycads, never turn or rotate a cycad that is throwing new leaves.  If you do, the leaves will adjust and twirl to re-orient themselves to the sun.  If you have to move a plant that's throwing new leaves, mark the sun orientation precisely with a label or marker and put it back with the exact same sun orientation after you find it a new spot.  And, always be careful when handling new cycad leaves.  As hard and leathery as they are later, when young they are quite fragile and snap easily.

I'll try to shown you some more photos of these same leaves in a few weeks with further size.
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae  

 

DYPSIS AMOBOSITRAE "RED"
A VERY COOL MEDIUM SIZED PLANT WITH RED COLOR AND WHITE CROWN SHAFT

For decades I've received seeds of palms from Madagascar that were an unknown or un-described species.  The seeds for this current plant came in as "Dypsis ambositrae".  Over the years I've received "ambositrae" seeds only to be disappointed that it was not the "real thing".  The plants I'm showing you today appear to be the real Dypsis ambositrae.  Because of the red color, we call them "ambositrae red". 

Shown are what we have available in limited numbers: 2 gallon plants.  This species has a soft green, keeled and arching leaf.  Crown shafts are red at this point but when mature will be powdery white.  Expect a plant size in California of fifteen to twenty feet.  Trunks are thin.  This is a dividing species, somewhat like D. decipiens.  But, the stems are much thinner.  When mature, it still holds on to some of the red stem color.

This is a great species for those who want to try something new.  Reports so far is that it is a quick growing species that is an easy and beautiful addition to the garden.  I apologize for the lack of mature plant photos, but they are not available. 
Dypsis ambositrae red Dypsis ambositrae red
Dypsis ambositrae red Dypsis ambositrae red Dypsis ambositrae red
A different 2g plant showing red color
Dypsis ambositrae red Dypsis ambositrae red Dypsis ambositrae red


BRACHYCHITON RUPESTRIS
FAT SNAKESKIN TRUNK
TEN DAY SPECIAL PRICE!

About three decades ago I visited Seaborne Nursery up in the Lake Hodges area of San Diego County.  It has long since vanished as a nursery.  The owner was a fellow who knew a lot about palms, cycads and certain tropical trees.  His name was Bill Seaborne.  To old time enthusiast, this name might ring a bell.  He even wrote a book back then on tropical plants.  In any case, Bill (now deceased) convinced me to try a few of this interesting species of tropical tree.  I planted them and within about five to ten years found they had the most peculiar, large and swollen trunks.  The leaflets are quite fine with a hint of red.  But, the trunk is massive and swollen at the base.  It is a green trunk and has a  snake skin type of texture.   Growth rate is quite fast. 

 I have a few 15g trees for sale.  But, it's the 5g size that I'm putting on special.  This size is shown here.  I am also showing you pictures of mature trees off the Internet.  This species is not known for flowers, but rather for it's peculiar swollen trunk.  It can get to fifty feet tall, likes sun, and has a cold tolerance that is probably into the low 20's F. 

REGULAR PRICE FOR 5G IS $65
SPECIAL 10 DAY PRICE 5G $45
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris by angv.gov
by anbg.gov
Brachychiton rupestris by Adelaide Zoo, Australia
by Adelaide Zoo, Australia, website
   

 

 

BUTIA CAPITATA X SYAGRUS ROMANZOFFIANA
THE COLD TOLERANT MULE PALM
AND PRETTIER THAN A QUEEN PALM!
SEVERAL LARGE 25G AVAILABLE

Some of you might not be familiar with this desirable hybrid  cross of the Pindo Palm with the Queen Palm.  You hardly ever see them around because it takes a person, on a ladder, to tediously hand pollinate the Butia flowers with pollen from the Queen.  This is a lot of work.  It results in an offspring that doesn't look like either parent.  It is a good growing hybrid that gets to a height of perhaps 25 feet, has green leaves, a thinner trunk than the Butia mother, and tropical appearing foliage.  Some say that it even resembles a Coconut.  The surprising thing is is that it survives approximately 16 degrees F.  This is not quite as good as the Butia capitata cold tolerance, but this hybrid will be alive long after the common Queen Palm dies from cold.  Because of rarity and difficulty in producing seeds, this hybrid is never a cheap plant.

The photo here shows the nice, chunky 25g we just got in.  They are about ten inches thick at the base and about ten feet tall.  They have been sun grown and have seen temperatures into the teens F.  We also have 5g for sale.  The latter are an easy mail order item.   Note on the first mature plant photo below how the crown looks nothing like either parent.  Plain and simple, this is a great plant for folks in cold areas.  I highly recommend this hybrid.
Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm
Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm
Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm
donated photo
Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm
donated photo
Butia X Syagrus Mule Palm

 

JUBAEA CHILENSIS
THE CHILEAN WINE PALM
NICE 25 GALLON PLANTS

Jubaea chilensis, from Chile in South America, is known as the palm with the thickest trunk of any palm in the world.  They are also known to be very slow growing, majestic in appearance, and to put the commonly used Canary Island Palm to shame as a stand-alone specimen.  There is nothing quite so impressive as installing a mature specimen into someone's garden.  But, such specimens are extremely expensive and beyond the financial capabilities of most homeowners.  And, mature trees only becomes available every several years.  So, most must start smaller and wait for their plant to get large.  Compared to the Canary Palm, Jubaeas have a thicker trunk that is smooth, the leaves don't have those wicked spines, and mature plants are much more appealing and addictive to most enthusiasts.  Remember, trunk diameters can get to about three to four feet.  There's something so satisfying about standing next to one of these with its massive trunk.  You just want to touch it and give a loving slap. 

This species is hard to find in nurseries because it is so slow growing.  Nurserymen prefer fast growing plants like the King Palm and Queen Palm.  Shown here is a nice 25 gallon plant that is one of several we just got in.  Believe it or not, it took the grower who grew these plants more than ten years to get this size!  You'll note an interesting thing: the trunk gets fat before the plant gets tall.  In a large pot, you can literally get a plant 18 inches thick at the base yet the leaves are not much overhead.  Shown below are also several mature plants.  We not only have these nice 25 gallon plants, but also have 15g, 5g and 1 gallon for sale.  These latter sizes are easy to mail order.  This is a full sun species and cold hardy to about fifteen degrees.  It's been grown in Northern California, the San Joaquin Valley, colder parts of Texas and yes, even in desert areas of Arizona.  Plant one now so, as you age, there's something good about the years flying by.

 
Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis
Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis
Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis
from the yard of a long time customer
Jubaea chilensis
Mission Bay Park, San Diego

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 013

 

DIOON ANGUSTIFOLIA
A VERY OLD SPECIMEN WITH SUPER THIN LEAFLETS

If I had my camera ready about a month ago, I could have shot a photo of this new flush of leaves with their pink-brown color.  It was just gorgeous.  But, I didn't get around to it.  So, you only get to see leaves in green.  I'd like to make a few points about this Mexican cycad.

Its overall size is never that large.  This is a 30 year old plant with about a 16 inch tall caudex.  Planted out, the height is under four feet.
It can sucker and make a clustering plant.  See offset here.
It is a full sun cycad with a cold tolerance into the upper teens F.
It tolerates harsh and hot conditions.
It has some of the thinnest leaflets  of any cycad
It's a great plant for a sun area where you want to "look over" the plant.

We have other plants of this species available in an assortment of sizes.
Dioon angustifolia Dioon angustifolia
Dioon angustifolia Dioon angustifolia Dioon angustifolia

 

JUBAEA CHILENSIS X BUTIA CAPITATA
HUGE 15G PLANT
SUPER COLD HARDY, MAKES THICK TRUNK

If you missed out on my previous offering of this hard to find hybrid, you might want to reconsider now as we are down to our last two plants.  This hybrid is cold hardy to below 15 degrees F., is much quicker growing than a regular Jubaea and tolerates full sun.  It makes a very thick trunk like Jubaea but has retained old leaf base stubs.  The plant shown here has about an eight inch thick base and is about six feet tall.  It's a big 15g and is an F1 hybrid.

I do not have any smaller presently on this hybrid.  But, from a value point of view, smaller plants tend to be quite expensive for their size and I feel this 15g is a much better value for a customer.  If you want a large boxed plant, one is available and shown below.  The last two photos show just how thick the trunk of this hybrid will get.

Hallmarks we've noticed over the years on J X B hybrid include:
hooks on ends of leaflets (variable marker)
folded over leaflet ends (variable marker)
split leaflet ends (more consistent)
flat or slightly keeled leaf
leaf not strongly curved; rather a gentle arch
basal petiole with some rough armor or hair (not as clean as pure Jubaea)
minimal or slight blue color
with age, rough trunk

The reverse hybrid (below) shows a different look.l
Jubaea X Butia Jubaea X Butia
Jubaea X Butia Jubaea X Butia Jubaea X Butia
Jubaea X Butia
Boxed specimen
Jubaea X Butia
Specimen at the LA Arboretum.  Trunk 3 foot diameter
Jubaea X Butia
Same plant with David Minks, past President of the PSSC

 

BUTIA CAPITATA X JUBAEA CHILENSIS
LARGE BLUE HYBRID WITH ARCHED LEAVES
SUPER COLD HARDY

The plant shown here is an F1 hybrid of Butia with Jubaea.  Butia is the seed bearer.  As you might suspect, this hybrid takes on more of the characteristics of the Butia. This gives you a more blue plant with arched leaves.  This is the last plant with have of this cross.  It is highly sought after and near impossible to find.

The plant shown here is in a 15g pot and quite husky.  Note the differences between this hybrid and the oppose hybrid above.  It is a full sun plant and cold tolerant below 15 degrees F.  It has a much thicker trunk than regular Butia and its leaves are also much longer.  This is a very beautiful hybrid.
 

This era of our having these plants has almost come to an end.  There are no more replacements or supply. 
Butia X Jubaea Butia X Jubaea
Butia X Jubaea Butia X Jubaea Butia X Jubaea
B X J, unknown photographer from PalmTalk
     


BLUE JUBAEA CHILENSIS
SAME AS REGULAR JUBAEA BUT WITH BLUE COLOR

 
Shown here is the blue variety of Jubaea.  For those of you who like Jubaea, you know how difficult it is to find a blue one.  Of note, in habitat in Chile and in one of the more northern distributions, there is a colony of these blue plants.  People argue that perhaps they have a little hybrid blood in them and this is possible.  But, the native habitat would suggest this is not the case.

Shown here is also one of our last larger blue Jubaeas.  The blue color is most apparent on the dorsal side of the petiole and the underside of the leaflets.  But, overall, the leaves have a blue green look. 

Luckily, I do have some small seedlings available in limited numbers.  These can be easily shipped.
Jubaea chilensis blue  Jubaea chilensis blue 
Jubaea chilensis blue  Jubaea chilensis blue  Jubaea chilensis blue
Blue Jubaea at Mission Bay Park, San Diego 
blue Jubaea chilensis  blue Jubaea   

BLUE BUTIA CAPITATA
LIKE A REGULAR PINDO - JUST BETTER


OK, I'll admit that the title above is biased.  But, to my eyes the blue Butia capitata is more striking, interesting and attractive than the regular green form of Butia capitata.  I'm finishing off today's blog with this rare form of the Pindo.  Reference books describe the species as "green", "blue green" or 'blue".  But, it's just plain difficult to find the really blue plants. 

We have been fortunate to have a limited numbers of these available.  Our 5g size is sold out.  But, we still have a few 15g and 25 gallon plants.  They hold all the same characteristics as the normal Pindo but have the "
Bismarckia blue color".  These are sun plants and cold hardy to about 15 degrees F.
 
 
Bue Butia Capitata  Bue Butia Capitata 
Bue Butia Capitata  Bue Butia Capitata  Bue Butia Capitata 
Bue Butia Capitata  Bue Butia Capitata  Bue Butia Capitata by Paul Craft
Photo by friend of mine, Paul Craft 

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2013

 

CYCAS KENNEDYANA
A COMPLEX OF AUSTRALIAN CYCADS

I am going to present here today a "species" of Cycas from Australia that I've never discussed before.  This is because this species name is no longer used today.

About twenty-frive years ago I imported some seeds from a now non-existent seed merchant named "D' Orriel".  One species I obtained was labeled as Cycas kennedyana.  I germinated and grew them.  I found their growth to be unpredictable and slow.  The plant being shown presently is from that group of seeds. This species first described in 1982 and has since been grouped back with a more common species named Cycas media.  It comes from Queensland and has a variety of populations in habitat.

But, the story does not end here.  If you visit the PACSOA website (Australia), an argument is made that Cycas kennedyana has multiple populations and some are indeed different and distinct.  So, perhaps some day it will again be recognized as a "species".

It is known to have thin trunks and is medium sized.  The only photo I could find of C. kennedyana is from Len Butt below.  Our 15 gallon plant here has a trunk about a foot tall and green leaves.  It has endured many freezes in our locality in the past.  And, it doesn't look like Cycas media that we've grown.  I invite those interested to visit the information at PACSOA to further educate yourself about these populations of Australian cycads.
Cycas kennedyana Cycas kennedyana
Cycas kennedyana Cycas kennedyana Cycas kennedyana
Cycas kennedyana Cycas kennedyana by Len Butt, PACSOA
habitat photo by Len Butt, PACSOA
 

 

TRINTHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
BLUE FAN PALM, SUPER COLD HARDY

This South American suckering fan palm comes from Argentina and Uruguay.  From these locations, you might suspect it could have quite a bit of cold hardiness, and this is the case with not only this species of Trithrinax, but of the genus as a whole.  Availability of seeds of this species has been sparse to nonexistent.  And, as a young plant, it is quite slow growing.  Consequently, to get a good sized container plant can take a decade or more.  We were fortunate to locate some very nice 15g plants as shown.  I'd estimate their age at 12 years.  They are dividing and very chunky at the base.  They are totally acclimated to full hot sun and are intensely blue.  This is a perfect selection for someone who lives in an interior area with lots of heat.

Overall height of this species is up to twenty feet.  Multiple stems are produced, but usually the number is just several.  Leaves are small, typically about two feet wide.  The segments of the leaves are pointed and sharp.  Trunks retain old leaf bases but, like
Washingtonia, eventually fall off.  This is a drought tolerant species and can take temperatures well into the 100's F. and cold tolerance is into the teens.  We also have 5g and seedlings.  It is extremely rare to find beautiful 15g plants as shown.  Of note, most specimens I've seen are blue.  The last two photos show a mature plant that is blue-green in color, probably due to the fact that it's not getting full sun.
Trithrinax campestris 15g Trithrinax campestris 15g
Trithrinax campestris 15g Trithrinax campestris 15g Trithrinax campestris
Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris 15g

 

TRITHRINAX SCHIZOPHYLLA
aka TRITHRINAX BIFLABELLATA

I also wanted to remind you about this species today because we recently got in a few very large 15g plants.  In the palm world, there is an argument over whether T. schizophylla and biflabellata are the same species.  Taxonomists have presently lumped the two together into the species of T. schizophylla.  This species has a wide distribution from Bolivia, across through Paraguay and into southern Brazil and Argentina. . 

This is a suckering species.  Like T. campestris, it is so unusual to see that few nurserymen have ever heard of it.  There is almost no information on the Internet about it.  It is a palmate palm, suckers, and gets to about 15 feet tall.  Compared to Trithrinax campestris, shown above, it is less blue.  But, the leaves are blue-green as shown here.  We have over the years had small plants of this species available.  Recently we acquired some very nice 5 gallon plants as well as these large 15g.  These are already suckering with one to two stems.  This species likes sun, can tolerate some drought, and is probably cold hardy into the low 20's F.  An acquaintance of mine, Gaston Torres, took the habitat picture below in Argentine habitat.  (from PACSOA Website).  For those of you who want something different and experience cold weather, this is another unusual species to try. 
Trithrinax schizophylla 15g Trithrinax schizophylla 15g
Trithrinax schizophylla 15g Trithrinax schizophylla 15g Trithrinax biflabalata
Trithrinax biflabalata Trithrinax biflabalata Gaston Torres
Photo by G. Torres in habitatat
 

 

TRACHYCARPUS TAKIL
THE KUMAON PALM
MOST COLD HARDY OF THE WINDMILLS?

This species comes from a very high mountainous area of northern India.  It grows at elevations above 7000 feet and sees bitterly cold winters.  Because of its native habitat, it has been touted and hoped by many to be the most cold hardy of the species of this genus.  It certainly can tolerate temperatures below 15 degrees F., but its lowest tolerance is still being determined.  In appearance, it is similar toTrachycarpus fortunei.   On mature trees and compared to the common Windmill Palm, however, it is taller with a thicker trunk, has a bigger crown of leaves with more actual leaves in the crown and larger individual leaves.  The leaves are also more stiff than the fortunei.  The trunk tends to lose its fibers more readily, giving it a cleaner appearing trunk.  A field note for distinguishing this species is that the hastula (a flap of tissue at the junction of the leaf stem with the palmate leaf) is twisted and askew.

Trachycarpus fortunei are not this way.  Growers also comment on how the trunk of containerized plants is a bit more tidy on the takil with prominent hairs near the point of emerging new leaves.

Shown here are some nice 15g plants of T,. takil that we recently got in.  Cold hardiness ten degrees F.  Full sun most areas.

 

Trachycarpus takil Trachycarpus takil
Trachycarpus takil Trachycarpus takil Trachycarpus takil
Trachycarpus takil Trachycarpus takil Trachycarpus takil by MG and TS
habitat photo by T.S. & M.G.G.
Trachycarpus takil
photo by T.S. and M.G.G.
   

 

BISMARCKIA NOBILIS
TEN DAY SPECIAL, BATCH OF 15G PLANTS

Many of you are familiar with this single trunk, blue fan palm from Madagascar.  It is fairly cold hardy, taking temperatures into the low 20's F.  Leaf color is brilliantly blue and this species demands sun.  Mature height in cultivation is unknown, but should be forty feet or more.  Shown here is a special batch of 15g plants which we got in.  They are about four feet tall.  They have seen quite a bit of cold weather into the mid-twenties F.  This has given them that :"purple" color to the leaves.  over time leaves will be the classic blue.
 
REGULAR PRICE, $175, SPECIAL PRICE $95
(offer expires in 10 days)

You must mention this Blog to obtain this special price.  We can ship these plants anywhere within the U.S.  Limited supplies available.

NOTE: Discount coupon presently offered does not apply to these super discounted plants.
Bismarckia 15g special Bismarckia 15g special
Bismarckia 15g special Bismarckia photo by TB
photo by T.B.
Bismarckia

 

MONDAY, AUGUST 26, 2013

 

CERATOZAMIA KUESTERIANA
COLD HARDY, THIN LEAF MEXICAN CYCAD WITH RED FLUSH

This high elevation species is from the Tamaulipas area of Mexico and grows at an elevation of up to a mile.  Perhaps this explains its excellent cold tolerance.  It is a smaller cycad species with stems that are never over about a foot tall.  The leaves are green but emerge red or a brown-red color.  In cross section the leaves are flat or slightly keeled.  The petioles are armed with small spines.  Leaf length is three to five feet and a plant usually holds about four to eight leaves.  Small offsets can appear at the base of the primary stem. 

Shown here are a 15g plant with a six to eight inch caudex and a mature coning sized plant in a box.  I am also showing a close up of the leaf and a female cone.  On the last picture note the new flush of red leaves.  This color persists for about a month.  In terms of culture, this species can tolerate full sun if you are right along the coast.  Otherwise, figure it'll need filtered light.  Cold tolerance is about 20 to 22 degrees F.  Some say it might take a bit colder.  We have this species in limited supplies from small plants on up to male and female coning specimens.
Ceratozamia kuesteriana Ceratozamia kuesteriana
Ceratozamia kuesteriana Ceratozamia kuesteriana Ceratozamia kuesteriana
Ceratozamia kuesteriana Ceratozamia kuesteriana Ceratozamia kuesteriana by Ian Edwards PACSOA
photo by Ian Edwards PACSOA

 

DIOON EDULE VARIETY "RIO VERDE"
BEAUTIFUL NEW FLUSH ON THIS COLD HARDY, SUN LOVING CYCAD

As Loran Whitelock mentions in his excellent book on cycads, Dioon edule populates many localities along the eastern coast of Mexico.  In each locality and population, plants are somewhat different.  Differences are in the leaf size and shape, leaflet width and angle of insertion, leaflet margins, native elevation and colors of newly emerging leaves.  When enthusiasts would visit these various populations, they'd appreciate the differences between them.  This lead to names being selected for different populations.  Thus we ended up with "rio verde", "rio pescado", "tamaulipas", "palma sola" and many others.  These names were often given by the exact locality where the plants were seen.  Whitelock states that calling them all "Dioon edule" is inadequate and doesn't do them justice.

Dioon rio verde is one of these populations from San Luis Potosi, occurring at an elevation under 1000 feet.  This variety is a fairly large Dioon with stems up to six feet and leaves four to six feet long.  Leaves are flat in cross section and arch a bit.  The most notable thing is the blue-gray color of newly emerging leaves.  This is shown here.

I am also showing an older garden specimen. Note they pup freely.  This is a full sun species and has a cold tolerance probably about 20 degrees F.
Dioon rio verde Dioon rio verde
Dioon rio verde Dioon rio verde Dioon rio verde
Dioon rio verde Dioon rio verde Dioon rio verde

 

CYCAS THOUARSII
LARGE GREEN CYCAD FROM EASTERN AFRICA AND ADJACENT ISLANDS

This species of cycad is often mentioned as "coming from Madagascar", and that it does.  But, there are also native populations in multiple eastern African countries and in the Comoros Islands.  It is a large cycad that can get trunks over thirty feet tall and twelve to eighteen inches thick.  Leaves are green, tend to be upright and have a length of six to nine feet.  A healthy plant can throw forty new leaves all at once.  Leaflets are paired and bright green.  Leaf stems are armed with small hooks.  Leaflets are leathery and reduced in size toward the base of the leaf.

Shown here is a nice boxed specimen ready for someone's garden.  We usually have a pretty good supply of this species from small to large plants.  It's a great plant for part day sun in our locality.  If you are far inland, consider filtered light.  And, right on the water, it can easily take full sun.  Cold tolerance is into the low twenties F, but definitely not much lower than that.  This species is a quick growing cycad and makes a wonderful patio plant.  The last picture shows a plant in habitat in Madagascar. .
Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii
Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii
Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii
Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii by JS
habitat photo by JS

 

TRACHYCARPUS WAGNERIANUS
COLD HARDY, SHORT TRUNK AND SMALL STIFF LEAVES

Trachycarpus wagnerianus has always been one of my favorite Windmill Palms because it has small, stiff leaves, a nice hairy trunk and small overall size. It is native to high elevations in China.  In domestic plantings, you hardly ever see one with a trunk more than eight to ten feet tall.  They are definitely shorter than T. takil and fortunei.  Leaf size is typically twelve to eighteen inches across.  The segment ends do not reflex down toward the ground like other species of Windmills.  It is common for most of the leaves to be directed upwards, not hanging down.  Cold hardiness is somewhere between ten and fifteen degrees F.  They like sun in most areas.  But, they are extremely slow growing.  The ones in gardens below probably took a decade or two to get this tall. 

Shown here are nice 15g, 5g and 1.5 gallon plants.  All are available for sale.  We occasionally get boxed plants as well.  You'll find in searching around that wagnerianus are sometimes a bit difficult to find, especially pretty ones.  Make sure if you plant one not to ever let it get shaded out by surrounding plants that get overhead.  T. wagnerianus doesn't do well with shade and may rot on you and be lost.  Once established, this species also doesn't need a ton of water, so one might consider it a water conserving species.
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
15 gallon size
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus Trachycarpus wagnerianus Trachycarpus wagnerianus
5 gallon size
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
1.5 gallon size
Trachycarpus wagnerianus by MG in the UK
by MG in the United Kingdom
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
 


CARYOTA GIGAS
THE MOST POPULAR FISHTAIL PALM

Twenty years ago, Caryota urens was the Fishtail Palm that everyone wanted.  But, in the past ten to twenty years, the "Thai Mountain Giant Fishtail" (Caryota gigas) has replaced it.  I think this is mostly because the leaves of the gigas are much prettier.  They seem to tolerate sun better and don't brown tip.  And, the leaves are enormous.  Typical leaf length is fourteen to sixteen feet long and as much as twelve feet across.  Trunk diameter, for a Fishtail, is enormous.  It can reach three feet.  Caryota gigas is not the biggest Fishtail Palm in the world, but presently it's the most popular.  Make sure a nursery plant is given enough room to grow.  Do NOT plant it right up against the house!

Cold tolerance of Caryota gigas is not quite as good as urens.  It goes down to the low 20's F.  Lower temperatures will burn the leaves.  We saw such burn in our 2007 winter freeze here.  Caryota urens takes down to about 18 degrees.  Shown here is an example of some nice 15g plants which we have for sale.  We also have smaller and larger sizes.
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas Caryota gigas

 

JUBAEA CHILENSIS X BUTIA CAPITATA
SUPER COLD HARDY WINE PALM HYBRID

Remember that Jubaea is a monotypic genus.  There is only one species of the genus Jubaea.  But, hybridization does occur with Jubaea chilensis.  Sometimes this occurs without the efforts of man and naturally by insects or wind.  With such pollination with another palm's pollen, a hybrid results.  One would notice this by looking at the offspring and noting that some "look different".  If spontaneous Jubaea hybridization occurs, it is most often with the Pindo palm, Butia capitata.  This is because Butia is one of the only commonly found species that is abundantly planted and capable of hybridizing with the Jubaea.  Nature only made it possible typically for any given species to have the ability to cross with a limited number of other genera.  Don't dream up that your hybrid Jubaea is something super exotic.  Look at what's around that could have pollinated the seed bearing Jubaea.  The Pindo Palm is the most likely candidate.    

In contrast to natural hybridization, there are folks interested in creating inter-generic hybrids and go to great efforts to hand pollinate Jubaea.  Hybridizers tend to be somewhat kooky guys who will try anything as long as it makes scientific sense.  They manually transfer pollen to the receptive seed bearing parent tree.  It is very important to know which parent provided the seeds.  Jubaea X  Butia (Jubaea is the seed bearer) is totally different appearing than Butia X Jubaea (Butia is the seed bearer)

What I am showing here from the nursery is a Jubaea X Butia, with the Jubaea being the seed baring parent.  It is in a 15g pot with a basal diameter about eleven inches.  You'll note that it is a green plant but with hints of blue.  It is not as blue as the blue Jubaea above.  Leaves are still basically flat in cross section and leaves appear to be longer.  On these hybrids you'll see hooks at the end some leaflets.  And, you'll see some "folding" of the terminal potions of the leaflets as seen in my video on this subject and below.  This hybrid seems to be aggressive grower.  It is still a sun loving plant.  Cold tolerance is better than Jubaea, probably to about 14 degrees F.

Regarding the appearance of a mature specimen, it will basically look more or less like a Jubaea but will have retained leaf bases on the trunk.  Leaves may be longer than a pure Jubaea and color is often a bit blue compared to the normal green of the Wine Palm.  

Remember, the tip off, is the retained leaf bases on the trunk.  These hybrids are super rare and we have several for sale.  In terms of cold hardiness, they're basically equivalent to Med Fans and Pindo's.  
Jubaea X Butia


Jubaea X Butia
Jubaea X Butia



Jubaea X Butia
Jubaea X Butia Jubaea x Butia Jubaea X Butia 
Jubaea X Butia Jubaea X Butia
folding over of leaflet ends
Jubaea X Butia
photo donated
Jubaea x Butia Jubaea X Butia
Jubaea x Butia Jubaea X butia
possible Jubaea X Butia

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 2013

 

EXOTIC HAWAIAAN TI PLANTS
RED, PINK AND GREEN
TEN DAY SPECIAL

Just available are an exotic Ti hybrid that displays colors ranging from green to pink to dark red.  These plants are about two feet tall and triples.  We've found that Ti plants are one of the easiest companion plants to add to the garden.  Most people use them in filtered light although some grow them in full sun if you are near the ocean.  In many years they may reach a height of five feet or more.  They do not tolerate a freeze.  These are easy to mail order.

REGULAR PRICE THIS SIZE $40
TEN DAY SPECIAL $30


You must mention this Blog Only Special at time of purchase to get this price.
Red Ti Ti Red
Ti Red Ti Red Ti Red

 

NORMANBYA NORMANBYI
TALL, THIN TRUNK, CROWN SHAFTED PINNATE PALM FROM AUSTRALIA

This exotic and single trunk pinnate palm is from the Queensland area of Australia and nearby New Guinea.  It is the only species of this genus.  In habitat, it prefers moist areas and can attain a height of over fifty feet with a trunk that is four to six inches thick.  The crown shaft has black colored tomentum.  Leaves are six to eight feet long, pinnate is a slightly plumose fashion.  Leaflets are irregular, sometimes wedge shaped with jagged apices and the underside of the leaflets is silver.

One could confuse this species with another Queensland palm, Wodyetia bifurcata.  Normanbya has wider leaflets, a thinner trunk and the underside of Wodyetia leaflets is never silver.  This species can tolerate full sun right along the coast but otherwise should be considered a part day sun or strong filtered light plant.  Cold tolerance is down to about freezing. 

Shown here is a 5g and 15g nursery plant and some mature specimens.  Note the silver crown shaft, the silver underside of the leaflets and the wedge shaped leaves with irregular ends.  Very few palms share all these characteristics.  Although I don't have a photo of it, I know of a Normanbya in the Clairmont area of San Diego that is in full sun with about twenty feet of trunk, looking very nice. 
Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi
Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi
Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi
Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi Normanbya normanbyi by HJD
photo by HJD

 

ENCEPHALARTOS GRATUS
LARGE CENTRAL AFRICAN CYCAD
HUGE NURSERY SPECIMEN

Native to Malawi and Mozambique, this medium to large sized green leaf cycad gets a stout trunk up to six or eight feet tall.  Although most reference books say this species has leaves up to six feet, you can see on this nursery specimen that the leaves are probably eight feet or more.  And, this plant is growing in full sun.  Just to make my point, look at the second nursery specimen in the green box (different plant) where the leaves protrude above the adjacent building. My point here is that this is a powerful cycad with long leaves and dark green leaflets.  Either reference books underestimate leaf length or these plants shown here got a dose of steroids!  It is also very easy to grow and is extremely fast in the ground.  The two boxed specimens shown here are about fifteen years old from seed.

Culturally, most people grow this species in part day sun.  Desert areas require filtered light.  But, right on the coast, many grow it in full sun.  Cold tolerance is not quite as good as the South African Encephalartos.  But, E. gratus takes down into the mid-twenties F. quite easily.  The first specimen shown here has seen a temperature of 22 degrees F. with no leaf burn.  We have an excellent supply of this species from seedlings to huge specimens.  And, any size can be shipped or delivered if needed.
Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus
Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus
Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus
Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus Encephalartos gratus male cones
E. gratus with male cones

 

ENCEPHALARTOS LONGIFOLIUS BLUE
SORT OF LOOKS LIKE E. LEHMANNII

One could mistake the blue Encephalartos shown here for  E. lehmannii.  The leaflets are narrow, come to a  point, and have a strong blue color.  But, all of the nursery plants here are the blue form of Encephalartos longifolius.  Below I discussed what I called the "Basic Blue" species (yesterday's post).  One might also add this one to the group, but there are some important differences.  The "Basic Blues" below are smaller mature plants, slower growing, have shorter leaves and a smaller mature caudex, and tend to have the gold collar described below.  Encephalartos longifolius is a more rapid grower, has longer leaves, is sometimes green in form, other times blue, has a trunk that can get to 10 to 15 feet, and rarely has pronounced gold collars.  And, cone appearance on this species is also different (taxonomist's way of distinguishing the species). 

The main way I distinguish juvenile E. longifolius from E. lehmannii is by looking at the leaflets.  E longifolius leaflets are wider in the mid to proximal leaflet and then taper more in their distal half, down to a point.  Lehmannii leaflets are thinner and the width is more consistent along the length of the leaflet.  Sometimes it's a bit tough to tell them apart, but if you compare the leaflets here with the lehmannii below, you'll pick up on it.   


Encephalartos longifolius is native to high elevations in the the region of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.  The dark, olive green form may in fact be more rare than the blue form.  Leaves on nice specimens curve prominently at their ends.  Stems can get quite thick.  I've had plants where the leaves were over six to seven feet long.  Sometimes leaflets will stack upon themselves.  There are also leaflet forms that form a blunt tip or have a peculiar margin offset at their ends.  Cold tolerance is down to the low 20's F., and this species likes full sun along the coast.

Encephalartos longifolius blue Encephalartos longifolius blue
Encephalartos longifolius blue Encephalartos longifolius blue Encephalartos longifolius blue
Encephalartos longifolius blue Encephalartos longifolius blue Encephalartos longifolius blue

 

DYPSIS AFFINIS
WHITE CROWN SHAFTED PALM

Presented here is a rare palm species that enthusiasts really like.  It is Dypsis affinis.  Interestingly, when you check Paul Craft's or John Dransfield's books on palms, you will not find this one mentioned.  Yet, among enthusiasts, many will know the exact palm you are talking about when you mention Dypsis affinis. 

It is a suckering palm of small to medium stature, trunk diameter of several inches, pinnate leaves and a prominently white crown shaft.  We have small plants of this available.  Growing one is worth the wait.  Shown here are some larger domestic garden plants with close ups of the crown shaft and one plant in seed in Southern California.  The last photo shows how very white the stems are.  Of note, some would consider this a sub-variety of Dysis onilahensis.   Along the coast it tolerates sun.  In far inland areas give it filtered light.  Cold tolerance should prove to be in the mid-twenties F.  
Dypsis affinis Dypsis affinis
Dypsis affinis Dypsis affinis Dypsis affinis
Dypsis affinis Dypsis affinis Dypsis affinis

 

 

BONUS TUESDAY PLANTS!

 

SABAL SPECIES, ASSORTED
SMALLER AND EASY TO SHIP SIZES
ALL COLD HARDY
PACKAGE TEN DAY SPECIALS THESE PLANTS!

Several days ago a long time customer of the nursery wanted to know what Sabal species we had in smaller sizes.  So, we went around and inventoried our stock.  We also took photographs of the plants we had in each size.  So, the pictures here are fairly representative of our Sabals in these smaller sizes at this time.  We do, of course, have larger plants but some prefer this smaller size.  They are less expensive not only to buy but also to ship..

Of this group, figure that all except the Sabal mauritiformis can take temperatures at least into the upper teens F.  A few like riverside, causiarum, and minor are very cold hardy well into the mid teens.  Figure that all want heat and full sun.  Plants shown here are not newly germinated or potted up plants.  All have been in their containers for 1 to 3 years and of excellent size for their pots.

So, here's the special I'm offering for ten days:
5% OFF FOR 1-2 PLANTS PURCHASED
10% OFF FOR 3 PLANTS PURCHASED
15% OFF FOR 4-5 PLANTS PURCHSED
20% OFF FOR SIX OR MORE OF ANY OF THESE


You can mix or match as you wish.  As always, you must mention this Blog Only Special when purchasing.  We'll try our best to fit as many plants as possible into your box(es) to save on shipping costs.  Typically we can get four or five bands in with one 5g plant, all in the same box.    We ship plants via Fed Express with plants in their original pots, soil included.  This way, no immediate losses and no "one year setbacks".  Orders include all the needed Ag paperwork at no charge.  Last comment: You an apply this discount to larger sizes we have as well, any combination!  Please inquire about larger sizes available.
Sabal causiarum
Sabal causiarum, band, $30
Sabal dominguensis, 1g
Sabal dominguensis, 1g, $35
Sabal maritima band
Sabal maritima, band $30
Sabal mauritiformis tree pot
Sabal mauritiformis tree pot, $45
Sabal mexicana 2g
Sabal mexicana 2g, $40
Sabal minor, band
Sabal minor, band, $30
Sabal palmetto 5g
Sabal palmetto, 5g, $65
Sabal princeps, band
Sabal princeps, band, $30
Sabal riverside band
Sabal riverside, band, $30
Sabal rosei, band
Sabal rosei, band,  $30
Sabal ursesana 5g
Sabal ursesana, 5g $65
Sabal xtensensis 2g
Sabal xtensensis, 2g, $50 
Sabal uresana by JS
Sabal uresana wild by J.S. 
Sabal riverside
Sabal riverside, San Diego 

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA VAR SUIKONISHIKI
STRIKING VARIEGATION

Last week I showed a lot of these amazing dwarf Japanese varieties of variegated Rhapis excelsa.  This variety is suikonishi.  Note the striking and prominent variegated markings combining light yellow with dark green.  This plant is in a 10g pot.  Even the new suckering stem coming shows variegation.   The main trunk is about three feet with two new offsets forming as shown.

Plant #25
Rhapis excelsa var suikonishiki  Rhapis excelsa var suikonishiki 
Rhapis excelsa var suikonishiki  Rhapis excelsa var suikonishiki   

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013

 

DIOON RZEDOWSKII
ATTRACTIVE ANR RARE MEXICAN CYCAD

There are three Dioons which are fairly similar and could be confusing to a new cycad enthusiast.  These include:

Dioon spinulosum - Mexico
Dioon mejiae - Honduras
Dioon rzedowskii - Mexico

Of these three, Dioon mejiae has an absence (or near so) of spines at the margins of the leaflets.  And, on new throws, the leaves are very soft and furry.  Dioon rzedowskii has newly emergent tomentous leaves, but not nearly as prominent as mejiae, and more short lived.  Also, leaflets of rzedowskii are prominently spiny on less mature plants, sometimes with a yellow color to the spines.  Stems of Dioon rzedowskii get up to 16 feet, leaves are 5 feet long and leaflets size is gradually reduced at the base of the leaves. 

In contrast to rzedowskii, Dioon spinulosum is a much taller cycad and plants in the wild can get to almost forty feet.  Leaves and leaflets are very similar to rzedowskii, especially on younger plants, but to my eyes the spination is different.  With age, the spines of Dioon rzedowskii disappear.  And, leaflets are gradually tapered both at the proximal and apical points.  Also some mention that the leaflets of rzedowskii are stiffer and have more prominent spines.  Trust that it takes seeing all three species side by side to really learn the differences of these three quite similar species.  Wild populations of both of these species is quite close although Dioon rzedowskii is at a much higher elevation, up to almost 2000 feet.

In terms of culture, I've found that Dioon rzedowskii tolerates full coastal sun better than spinulosum.  It has a darker green leaf color in filtered light, but can take full sun in some areas.  Inland areas require filtered light.  Cold tolerance is into the mid, perhaps low 20's.  But, it is not as cold hardy as many other Dioon species. All three of the species above are fairly easy to grow in the garden.  Too intense of sun on any of these three either burns the leaves or makes them limey green.

Shown here are several nursery plants of Dioon rzedowskii as well as some habitat shots from Mexico by a friend of the nursery, J. O.  
Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii
Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii
Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii
Dioon rzedowskii
Habitat photo by J.O.
Dioon rzedowskii by J.O.
Habitat photo by J.O.
Dioon rzedowskii by J.O.
Habitat photo by J.O.

 

DYPSIS DECARYI
THE TRIANGLE PALM FROM MADAGASCAR

Native to southern Madagascar, this unusual palm is most known by the triangular shaped (three sided), modified crown shaft just below the crown of leaves.  Several pictures here show this area, both on a nursery plant and larger plant.  It is doused with a variety of colors including silver, green, brown and black in a speckled and scattered fashion.  Overall size of this species is usually under twenty-five feet.  It typically has a trunk diameter of twelve to sixteen inches.  Leaves are stiff and upright with a very gently arch at the ends.  Leaf color is a gray-green but never silver. 

This plant demands full sun.  In a shade area, Dypsis dearyi usually declines or dies.  And, it likes heat.  For this reason, it can be grown in some desert areas that don't get too cold.  Temperatures of 24 degrees will burn Triangles and temperatures into the teens will definitely kill them.  So, if you see cold weather, don't consider this species "bullet-proof".

Shown here is a nice 15g plant and a mature plant in San Diego, CA.  Also shown are several habitat photos by friend and palm enthusiast M.R.
Dypsis decaryi Dypsis decaryi
Dypsis decaryi Dypsis decaryi
Photo shows one side of the three sided crown shaft
Dypsis decaryi
Balboa Park, San Diego
Dypsis decaryi by MR
In habitat by M.R.
Dypsis decaryi by MR
Habitat by MR
Dypsis decaryi by MR
Hab itat photo by MR

 

ARCHONTOPHOENIX CUNNINGHAMIANA
TRIPLE KING PALMS

As I have mentioned previously on this Blog, some species of palms look very handsome when planted as a group of three plants.  These are called 'multiples" or "triples".  shown here are some 24 inch boxed triple King Palms.  Although a 24 inch box is about the weight limit that men can easily lift, we can supply larger boxed sizes as well.  I've also shown Triple King Palms at a local San Diego hotel and a residence in Encinitas, CA. 

Triples grow more slowly than a single stem plant.  And, you tend to get a staggering of heights on the three plants.  You'll have one dominant plant usually and two smaller stemmed plants.  Along the coastal area, they do tolerate full sun.  Far inland and desert areas have too intense sun for direct exposure to King Palms.  There, if you don't get too cold, give part day sun or filtered light.  Height usually peaks out at about forty feet domestically.  In the wild, very old plants can be taller.  Cold tolerance is about 25 degrees F.

FOR AN ARTICLE WITH MORE INFORMATION, SEE KING PALM
King Palm Triple Box King Palm Triple Box
King Palm Triple Box King Palm Triple Box King Palm Triple Box
King Palm Triple King Palm Triple
From below, looking up into the triple King
King Palm Triple

 

ACTINOKENTIA DIVARICATA
THE MINIATURE FLAME THROWER PALM

This thin trunked, medium sized palm comes from New Caledonia where it lives in habitat below overhead tree canopy.  It is very slow growing.  It has a trunk diameter, at maturity, of about three inches.  It has a cream colored crown shaft and a sparse crown of five to six leaves.  It is often seen "leaning" for light among competing plants. 

For a nursery, producing a nice 5g plant takes about five years.  For this reason, few nurseries grow this species.  Planted in the garden, growth rate picks up a bit but is still slow.  Newly emerging leaves are often red in color.  If you are in a drier climate, this species would definitely take filtered light.  Since the trunk is small and the canopy is medium sized at most, it is a good species to "sneak into that small, filtered light area".  Cold tolerance is into the low twenties, F.  I've known this species to grow in the San Francisco Bay area. 

We have a very limited supply of Actinokentia.  Availability seems to come and go.  Of note, this is a monotypic genus with only one species in the genus.  Shown here are 5g plants, pictures from habitat and a few domestic photos. Note the long slender crown shaft and how plants don't carry very many leaves. We've been selling this species for over 20 years and typically have one or two for sale.  But, supplies may run out.  We do have some seedlings that come from parents with variegated trunks.
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata

 

DYPSIS FLORENCEI
THE CANDY CANE PALM

I'm mentioning this species today for those who ask about it.   I seldom have these for sale.  In any case, this sought after clustering pinnate palm is from Madagascar.  It has the coined name "Candy Cane Palm" because of the irregular red markings of the crown shaft area set against a white/light colored upper stem.  It has pinnate leaves, a trunk diameter of a few inches at most, and an overall height under ten feet. 

It is an extremely rare species and is difficult to grow outdoors.  You must provide warmth, humidity and good draining soil.  It is an understory palm, so filtered light is needed.  Cold tolerance is above freezing and it likes humidity.  It is being grown by many in Southern California, but HI or Florida would be a more ideal climate for this species. 

Shown here is a nice 5g plant and more mature specimen.  The last photo was taken by Clayton York and is borrowed from PACSOA.  Crown shaft color is variable and young plants show a lot of speckling in this area as shown. Supplies of this species are inconsistent and extremely limited.  If you really want to try this species, just let me know.  Sometimes you have to be put on a waiting list to get this species.    


Dypsis florencei Dypsis florencei
Dypsis florencei Dypsis florencei Dypsis florencei
Dypsis florencei Dypsis florencei Dypsis florencei by Clayton York, PACSOA
Dypsis florencei by Clayton York, PACSOA

 

GREAT NEW PALM REFERENCE BOOK
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTIVATED PALMS

For those of you who may be seeking out a good palm book that is easy to read and very educational, I highly recommend this publication. 

In 2003, Paul Craft and Robert Lee Riffle published their first edition of this book.  It was felt by most at that time to be the best palm publication around.  But, as time went by, more palm species were discovered and Paul Craft wanted to improve on his first book.  Robert Lee Riffle unfortunately passed away, but Paul teamed up with noted botanist and author, Scott Zona, formerly of Fairchild Tropical Gardens and a few months ago published the second edition of this fine book.  It deals with about 900 species of palms and has about 1000 photographs.  It is particularly good for those of you trying to make sense of the many Dypsis species.

I have been a friend of all three authors mentioned above, but have had a long term comradery with Paul Craft and his wife Patty.  Thirty-five years ago, Paul and I were the only growers in the United States that had nurseries specializing in palms.  So, we became close friends and have communicated over these many years.  I can tell you that his work on this book is superb.

And, he's offering a special price to you of $49.95 (normally $59.95 retail price).  Maybe you can get him to send you a signed copy!  And, shipping within the U.S. is included with this price.  It's a real bargain for such a fine book.  If interested, just click here to order this great palm book.  You'll not be disappointed.

Of note, I am just promoting this book because of its merits and have no fiscal relationship with this publication.       
Encyclopedia of Cultivate Palms Paul and Patty Craft

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 2013

 

CHAMAEDOREA ARENBERGIANA
ATTRACTIVE THIN TRUNK SHADE PALM

This is a thin trunked, single stem palm from Mexico and parts of upper Central American.  Trunk diameter is about an inch with a trunk height of ten feet.  Stems are prominently ringed.  Leaves are about five feet long with wide leaflets and prominent "drip tips" to their ends.  This aids in water running off the leaflets.  Color is green and the crown canopy is about six to eight feet wide.

Shown here is a nice 5g plant.  I've also shown seeds that set on a female plant and a larger nursery specimen.  I would consider this as a filtered light only species with a cold tolerance into the mid-twenties F. 

Chamaedorea arenbergiana Chamaedorea arenbergiana
Chamaedorea arenbergiana Chamaedorea arenbergiana Chamaedorea arenbergiana
Chamaedorea arenbergiana Chamaedorea arenbergiana  

 

COCCOTHRINAX ARGENTEA
SILVER THATCH PALM OR SILVER PALM

This appealing and attractive fan palm comes from Southern Florida and the Bahamas.  It gets to a height of about twenty feet with a thin trunk diameter of about six inches.  The most prominent feature of this palm is the silver back to the leaflets.  In contrast, the upper sides of the leaves are green.  The silver color is more apparent on older plants.  Upper trunk areas often have some attaches leaf debris and hairs.  This is a full sun species with a cold hardiness into the mid to upper twenties F.  Note that the crown diameters are not that great.  Therefore, some prefer to plant this species in small colonies of three to five plants.

Shown here a photos of several nursery plants.  Although availability is variable, we usually have this species for sale and can mail order plants easily right to your door.
 
Coccothrinax argentea Coccothrinax argentea
Coccothrinax argentea  Coccothrinax argentea  Coccothrinax argentea 
Coccothrinax argentea  Coccothrinax argentea  Coccothrinax argentea 

 

DICTYOSPERMA SPECIES
DID THE TAXONOMISTS HELP US?


In the early 1990's in Hawaii, I was visited with famed author and palm authority John Dransfield from Key Botanical Gardens.  We were viewing a botanical garden and came across this beautiful crown shafted palm.  I asked John, "What is that?".  He hesitated and said "a Dictyosperma of some sort".  I asked "Which one?"  He said something to the effect that "I don't know for sure and am not sure the species are different".  I mention this because in the previous decade or two I had labored through all the palm references to learn the difference between Dictyosperma album variety rubrum, variety furfuracea and variety aureum, variety conjugatum and possibly others.   More recently variety "furcatum" has been added.  And, as a grower and not a taxonomist, I appreciated the differences I saw with my own eyes between all these palms.

Now, over two decades latter, taxonomists tell us that all the Dictyosperma are the same; just one species.  There are no varieties.  I should have seen this coming.  Taxonomists would say it's different appearances of the same single species.  I've grown them all and they all appear different to me.  In Paul Craft's reference book on palms, he only mentions one species with a casual comment about "varieties".  I think he didn't want to broach this subject.  Yet, to this day, Internet authorities such as PACSOA still mention four or five varieties.  So, did the "lumpers" help us or hinder us? 

With this said and off my chest, I am showing you here what I know as Dictysoperma album variety rubrum.  (first nursery plant)  Note the red color to the stems and petiole giving it it's varietal name.  And, note on the Dictysperma album variety furfuracea (second nursery plant shown) the silver color.  Also note how the mature crown shafts shown below are not the same.  Dictyosperma album var furfuracea definitely has a silver color, not the green color of the plain album.  The same with "furcatum".  And, with the two photos from PACSOA, you can easily see the different crown shaft colors of other types.  So, you can be the judge.  Some day a taxonomist will do field work and perhaps settle this question for us about different varieties, but I think there is validity to the differences of these types. 

All varieties are medium sized, single crown shaft palms and come from the Mascarene Islands.  Heights are about thirty feet and flowers form densely below the crown shafts.  This is a highly endangered species in the wild.

We can grow this palm quite well in Southern California.  It likes coastal sun or perhaps half day sun.  Cold tolerance is a bit below a freeze.  Limited numbers are available.

Final Note:  This species is known as the HURRICANE OR PRINCES PALM.  
 
Dictyosperma album   Dictyosperma album 
Dictyosperma album  Dictyosperma album  Dictyosperma album 
Dictyosperma furfuracea
Dictysperma album var furfuracea 
Dictyosperma furfuracea
Dictyosperma album var furfuracea 
Dictyosperma album
Dictyosperma album 
Dictyosperma album
Dictyosperma album 
Dictyosperma album
Dictyosperma album 
Dictyosperma album
Dictyosperma album 
Dictyosperma furfuracea
Distyosperma album variety furfuracea 
Dictyosperma aureum
Dictyosperma album var aureum 
Dictyosperma aureum
Dictyosperma album var aureum 
Dictyosperma album var aureum by J. and J. Price PACSOA
Dictyosperma album var aureum
PACSOA by J and J Price 
Dictyosperma rubrum var furcatum by David Transwell PACSOA
Dictyosperma rubrum var furcatum
by David Transwell PACSOA
 
 

CHAMBEYRONIA MACROCARPA & HOOKERI
THEIR BEAUTIFUL NEW RED LEAVES

Most of the palm enthusiasts that I've know love to see color in their palms.  And, most of you know that Chambeyronia throw new red leaves.  These leaves can sometimes be fire engine red, other times pink, and sometimes a dark black-red burgundy wine color.  All are very beautiful and please most plant enthusiasts.  This color lasts ten to twenty days and then turns green.  The color evolves through a red-brown, then brown-green and finally into a green color that you are use to seeing. 

Both Chambeyronia macrocarpa and hookeri throw new red leaves.  They'll usually display the red leaf by a 5g size, but we've seen new red leaves in plants as small as one gallon size.  Unfortunately, about one in twenty plants will never throw a new red leaf, much to the owner's disappointment. 

There's no way of knowing beforehand if you have a "non-red-throwing" Chambeyronia.  Over the last year or two, if my camera is handy, I've shot photos of red leaves around the nursery.  I thought I would share them with you here.  And, Chambeyronia offers you another treat: the seeds are big and red as well. 

If you like this species, we have a good assortment of sizes from seedlings to large 25g plants with trunk.    The last photo, by long time acquaintance Ian Edwards, is from PACSOA.
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red seeds
Photo by HJD
Chambeyronia red seeds Chambeyronia red leaf Ian Edwards PACSOA
Chambeyronia macrocarpa new red leaf by Ian Edwards, PACSOA


FOUR BLUE ENCEPHALARTOS
THE "BASIC BLUES"

There is no question that the most popular cycads in the world are blue cycads.  And, of these, the most sought after plants are blue Encephalartos.  Of this group, the four most sought after species that collectors and enthusiast try to obtain are:

1.  Encephalartos horridus
2.  Encephalartos trispinosus
3.  Encephalartos lehmannii
4.  Encephalartos princeps

These four species all have comparable blue color in sun.  All are small to medium sized plants.  All are slow growing.  But, there are some differences between them.  To help you understand these, here are some important points:
1.  E. horridus and trsispinosus are much spinier than the other two, with prominent spines on the margins of the leaflets.
2.  E. horridus has a "flip" on one or more of the leaflet spines, making its leaflets more "three dimensional" and less flat than E. trispinosus.
3.  E. trispinosus has a variable number of spines from no spines to as many as four.  But, the classic 'tri" in the species name refers to three spines at the margins edge and tip.  The tip spine does count as a spine.  But, note that this is quite variable with trispinosus and there are even green forms of this species.  .
4.  E. lehmanii and princeps are basically without spines on the leaflets, or a minimal number of them.  Their apical tip could be considered a "spine", but the leaf margins typically are smooth and without barbs. Either species can have keeled leaves. 
5.  E. lehmannii leaflets are typically all in one plane and these leaflets are aligned in the same plane as the rachis, and tend to point toward the sky or 90 degrees from the angle of the leaf.
6.  E. princeps is subtlety different than lehmannii and has a rotation of some or at least the terminal portion of the leaflets where they are rotated to face into the crown, not toward the sky.  Look carefully and you will see this.
7.  All four species tend to have a yellow, orange or gold colored collar at the base of the petiole, adjacent to the caudex.  Look at the caudex close ups here and you'll see this.
8.  In the seedling stage, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish these species from leaves and leaflets.

This is a quick tour looking at some easily shippable plants of various sizes.  All are for sale.  We try to ship plants in their container, soil and all.  This prevents shipping losses and the almost invariable one year set back on the plants that you see when you bare root the cycads.  We can do this because we are a certified nursery and are able to legally ship to all states and U.S. territories.

Please be aware that there are lots of variations in all four of these basic blue Encephalartos.  If you line up twenty E. horridus from various seed sources, they'll most likely look like twenty similar but different plants.
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridu, note multi-planed barbs


Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus


Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus

E. lehmannii
Encephalartos lehmanii
E. lehmannii
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmannii
Encephalartos princeps
E. princeps
Encephalartos princeps
E. princeps
Encephalartos princeps
Encephalartos princeps
Encephalartos princeps
E. princeps, note the gold "collars"
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos horridus
E.horridus


MORE ON GOLD OR ORANGE COLLARS ON BLUE ENCEPHALARTOS

To make sure that you get a good look at those "collars" mentioned above, I want to show some more photos as examples.  Although not specific to the basic blues, they are typically seen on the four species mentioned above.  Other species may show collars.  But, when you are looking at a blue Encephalartos and it has a collar, you should first start eliminating one of these species.  The color of the collars varies from orange to gold and may fade to tan over time.  It can even persist for a while after a leaf is cut (photo #3).  These collars can be raised or flat to the touch. They can extend into the caudex scale at the base of the leaf stems such that you see a triangular area of color that merges into the colored collar (5th photo).  They are most prominent on the more recent leaves and disappear over time. 
Encephalartos trispinosus E. trispinosus E. horridus flush
E. horridus    



SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2013

 
RHAPIDOPHYLLUM HYSTRIX
THE NEEDLE PALM
TEN DAY SPECIAL 15G SIZE

Shown here is a 15g plant of this super cold hardy palm from the southeastern United States.  It suckers, has fan shaped leaves with thin leaflets and has long dark colored needles on the trunk.  These become more apparent with age.  Because of these spines it has the name "Nneedle Palm".  This is a semi-dwarf species and usually doesn't get over about eight feet tall at maturity.  Cold tolerance is about zero degrees F.  These 15g are not huge for their pot size but pretty nice.  Out here in CA it is quite difficult to find this species.  This size should sucker soon. 

REGULAR PRICE 15G $175
TEN DAY SPECIAL THIS SIZE $140.

You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.  Mail order possible on this size. 


 

Rhapidophyllum hystrix Rhapidophyllum hystrix
Rhapidophyllum hystrix    


LIVISTONA CHINENSIS
CHINESE FAN PALM
TEN DAY SPECIAL 5G SIZE

This single trunk fan palm is native to Japan and Taiwan.  It has large, rather flat green leaves and gets to a height of about 25 feet maximum.  It has large black seeds and is cold hardy to about 18 degrees F.  The size shown we're offering on special, 5 gallon.  These are nice sized and should grow well for you.  They tolerate coastal sun or part sun and may need some protection in the desert.

REGULAR PRICE 5G $65
TEN DAY SPECIAL THIS SIZE $45

You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.  Mail order possible on this size.
Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis
Livistona chinensis You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.  Mail order possible on this size.   


HOWEA FORSTERIANA
T
HE KENTIA PALM
TEN DAY SPECIAL HUGE 5G SIZE

Shown here are some very tall and large 5g Howea forsteriana.  Some of these are seven feet or more tall and have excellent basal diameters.  Comparing to other nurseries around, these are more typical of the size of a 15 gallon plant.  We have both singles and multiples available.  This species is from Lord Howe Island, gets to about thirty to thirty-five five feet tall and has a cold tolerance down to about 25 degrees F.  They also make great interior plants; in fact, one of the best!

REGULAR PRICE LARGE 5G PLANTS $95
TEN DAY SPECIAL $65

You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.  Mail order possible on this size.
HOwea  Howea forsteriana 
Howea forsteriana     


TRITHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
BLUE SUCKERING FAN PALM
TEN DAY SPECIAL 15G SIZE

This is a slow growing, hard to find South American blue fan palm that we are offering on special in the 15g size.  These plants are about seven years old, outdoor grown in sun and have excellent blue color.  Cold hardiness is about 16 to 18 degrees.  They are drought tolerant.  They are a suckering species and get to about eight, perhaps ten feet tall in most gardens.  They need full sun.

REGULAR PRICE 15G SIZE $185
TEN DAY SPECIAL $150

You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.  Mail order possible on this size.
Trithrinax campestris 15g  Trithrinax campestris 15g 
Trithrinax campestris 15g     


THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2013


RAVENEA HILDEBRANDTII
BEAUTIFUL DWARF PALM
NEW BATCH 5 GALLON JUST AVAILABLE


Interestingly, this Ravenea is not from Madagascar but from the Comoros Islands.  There are a few "Malagassy Palms" that originate elsewhere like this one.  This palm in habitat can get to twenty five feet tall, more like a R. glauca.  But, domestically in gardens, it seems never to get over ten feet.  The plant at Fairchild Tropical Gardens that I've been following for two decades is the same; under ten feet last time I saw it.  And, the trunk is only about three inches thick.

It is also a fairly cold hardy Ravenea species, probably better than R. rivularis.  I'd estimate it tolerates mid-twenties F.  Along the coast, many have grown it in full sun but part day sun is fine as well.  Inland areas would need some protection.

We just have available a group of great 5g plants.  They won't last long.  They are very good size for their container.  We also have bands as hown in the last photo.
Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii
Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii
Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii
Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii Ravenea hildebrandtii


CHAMAEDOREA METALLICA
DWARF SHADE PALM
METALLIC SHEEN TO LEAVES


This dwarf palm from Mexico has a very thin trunk, typically under one half of an inch.  It has simple leaves that are somewhat textured as you can see.  But, the most interesting thing is the metallic sheen that appears on the leaves.  Sometimes this is pronounced, other times miimal.  The plants shown here a singles in one gallon pots and have a lot of this sheen.  Occasionally you will see this species spontaneously produce pinnate (as opposed to simple) leaves.  

This species does well in shade.  It doesn't tolerate much sun as it gets leaf burn.  I've seen plants with trunks as tall as five feet.  But, this takes about thirty years.  These also look great planted in colonies of three to seven plants together.  This way you also might get some nice seeds.  Cold tolerance is perhaps down to the low 20's F.

Shown here are some good sized and, for their pot, old one gallon plants.  We can easily ship these and they make excellent interior plants.
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica


RHAPIS EXCELSA TANZAN
DWARF CULTIVAR WITH LIMITED NUMBER OF WIDE LEAFLETS

When we obtained the large collection of variegated dwarf Rhapis recently, there were some plants that had lost their labels and others that were not identified.  This is the case with the plant shown here.  Initially it appeared to perhaps be a green kotobuki, but on closer examination, many of the leaflets were extremely wide.  Some were four inches across.  And, each leaf had a very small number of leaflets.  Some have just one.  It ends up this is most likely the cultivar known as "Tanzan".  This plant is absolutely gorgeous. 

It is in a 10g pot, has twelve canes and is about four feet tall.  The color is a deep shiny green.  We only have one of these.

Plant #77
Rhapis tanzan Rhapis tanzan 
Rhapis tanzan  Rhapis tanzan  Rhapis tanzan 

HOWEA FORSTERIANA
COMMENTS ON VARIOUS SIZES AVAILABLE AND SELECTING THE BEST SIZE FOR YOU

Customers are often confused by pot sizes and their capabilities of planting.  So, I thought I'd comment about various sizes of the popular species, Howea forsteriana, and ease or difficulties in transporting and actually planting the various sizes you could buy.  The planting expenses incurred can really escalate the cost of a project.  Very large plants are expensive to transport and place in the ground.  I have chosen the Kentia Palm because it is very slow growing.  With a fast growing species like Caryota or Archontophoenix, it is difficult to justify putting in a massive plant.  A well grown and cared for 15g plant will be the size of a 36 inch box in several years.  So, getting "super big" with such species is money wasted.  But, with a very slow growing palm like the kentia palm, Howea forsteriana, it might be money well spent because the consumer may have to wait a decade or more to get good size on the plants he puts in the ground.

I'll start with the 5g size and move up from there.  I'll show pictures of nursery stock.  This first batch of photos to the right and below shows you Kentias planted in various locations in Southern CA.

Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
5 gallon sized plant
This is a great beginning size for many people.  The plants typically weight about 35 pounds and can be easily carried and planted.  Our 5g plants, either singles or multiples, are usually five to eight feet tall.  One would need to dig a hole that is about 16 inches wide and 14 inches deep with typically amending of soil if needed.  Almost anyone can transport this size in an average car and easily plant it themselves.  It takes us about four to five years to produce plants as shown here in the 5g size.
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana  
15 gallon sized plant
This is probably the most popular size chosen by customers doing landscape.  Our 15g plants are typically 8 to 10 feet tall and pretty chunky.  Remember, a sun grown plant will be more compact and fat at the base compared to shade grown plants.  The caliper at the base is a good way to judge not only the health of the plant, but also its age.  In a shady greenhouse, one can stretch out leaves to ten feet and say "look how tall they are".  But, this is meaningless as the plant will shrink after putting it into the ground.  So, look at basilar caliper.  The base shown here is excellent caliper.

15g plant typically weight about 80 pounds.  With the leaves tied up, they may be over ten feet long during transport.  So, an SUV or pickup may be needed for transport.  Planting holes should be about 20 inches wide and at least 18 inches deep.  A strong individual can plant a 15g by himself, or he might need assistance from one other person.  Our 15g plants are typically seven to eight years old or more. 
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
Howea forsteriana    
24 inch boxed Howea forsteriana
When you get a boxed plant, you will need assistance in transporting and planting.  Weight of this size is typically 250 pounds or more.  A pickup or perhaps a large SUV is need for transport.  You'll need assistance with offloading this size plant.  It requires a hole 30 inches wide, all sides and at least 26  to 28 inches deep.  This gives room for soil amendments underneath and at the root ball's edges.  Two to three men are needed to plant such a box.  For most homeowners, this is the largest box size you want to get unless you have a contractor with heavy equipment doing the lifting and planting.

Our 24 inch Kentia Palms are typically ten to fourteen feet tall.  Singles tend to grow faster than multiples.  The main difference between this size and a 15g is the caliper of the trunks, trunk formation and overall size of the crown.  Age of these plants is about ten years.  Sometimes we'll utilize a 25g pot instead of a 24 inch box and can get comparable sized plants in these plastic containers. 

Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
30 inch box size Howea forsteriana
This size is next to impossible to load into a pickup without a lift gate.  These plants can weight 500 to 600 pounds.  Most landscapers use a tractor or Bobcat to transport these at the job site.  If you are planting this by yourself, don't even consider this size plant unless you have good health insurance.  Many contractors who don't use heavy equipment stay away from this size because of employee injuries. 

Plants shown here are of exceptional caliper and about 14 feet tall.  Delivery is available for this sized plant.  But, you have to get them from the street side to your planting location.  Age on these plants is typically twelve years or more.
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana
36 inch box (or larger) or dug Kentia Palms
Plants like these shown here are typically field grown for ten to twenty years and then dug and either put into large boxes or wrapped with burlap and transported.  These plants weigh more than a ton and a crane is typically required for reaching out with the plant and setting it in the planting hole.   A flatbed large truck in needed to move them to a job site.  You can see that, with these requirements, it might cost well over a thousand dollars just to bring such a plant to your job site and put it in the ground.  When you buy large trees like this, you are typically charged by the footage of trunk height, counting all trunks on multiples.  Most growers consider the height to be from the ground to where the new leaf emerges.  But, be careful with these measurements.  Some consider "height" to be up to the point where the most recent leaf curves.  You can see that this tacks on additional profit to the grower. 

Plants like these shown are for people who "just can't wait".  They want instant garden.  Many palm enthusiast would argue, however, that a smaller plant in the ground, over time, will be a healthier plant than a tall, craned in specimen.  I don't myself do this crane work but work with associates who can get you Kentia Palms with twenty feet of trunk or more. 
Howea forsteriana Howea forsteriana dug
Howea forsteriana
SUMMARY:  There is a whole assortment of sizes available to enthusiasts who want to purchase and add Kentia Palms to their garden.  5g and 15g plants are quite easy to plant and the typical enthusiast or gardener can do it.  Larger plants weigh more and often require professionals to put in the ground.  Large trunked out specimen may require a crane and tend to be much more expensive, not only for the plant but for putting them into the planting area.  We usually remind people that time is on their side.  Be patient and remember that a moderately sized Howea will get to be quite large over time.  And, it is fun to watch them grow.     


HEDYSCEPE CANTERBURYANA
CROWN SHAFTED PALM FROM LORD HOWE ISLAND

Most people are familiar with Howea forsteriana, the Kentia Palm, from Lord Howe Island.  However, many are unaware that there are three other species native to this island in the Pacific Ocean off New Zealand.  These include Howea belmoreana, Hedyscepe canterburyana and Lepidorrhachis mooreana.  In their native habitat there, near sea level you find the Howea forsteriana.  Further up in elevation there are the belmoreana.  At 1000 to 2500 feet you'll see Hedyscepe.  And, at the top of the island's mountains, you find a few Lepidorrhachis. 

Hedyscepe is a montypic genus.  This means that there is only one species in this genus.  It is a crown shafted palm of medium size.  Most would include it in their top twenty most beautiful palms in the world.  Height is typically about twenty to twenty-five feet mature, trunk diameter eight inches, perhaps thicker.  The crown shaft is about two feet long.  If in filtered light, the crown shaft is silver blue and the trunk is the same with prominent rings.  The crown is somewhat umbrella shaped with curved leaves pointing downward.  Seeds are large and brilliantly red.

Shown here is a 25g plant, about ten years old in a container.  This species is not known for it's speed of growth.  Also shown are mature plants with some shots from my garden to shown trunk and crown color.  Note that the last photo demonstrates a mature tree in San Clemente, CA where it is thriving in full sun.  Along the coast, this species is good in full sun or strong filtered light.  Cold hardiness is about 24 degrees.  We try to always have this species available in one size or another.  Also available now are some nice 5g and smaller.  We hope to have a new supply of beefy 15g plants available soon.   
Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe canterburyana
Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe canterburyana
Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe canterburyana Hedyscepe canterburyana




WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2013

CYPHOPHOENIX ELEGANS
THIN TRUNK NEW CALEDONIAN PALM

This desirable palm species comes from northeastern New Caledonia and, for its height, has a rather thin trunk of about six inches.  In habitat, it can get forty to fifty feet tall.  The trunk has prominent rings and has a swollen crown shaft that is silver green as shown here.  Its leaves are green in color, arching and have a short petiole.

Shown here is a nice 5g plant about three feet tall.  We usually recommend filtered light.  Cold tolerance is the mid-twenties F.  The next to the last photo was taken in habitat when my son, Jesse, and I visited New Caledonia in the year 2000.  The rest of the photos were taken in Southern California.
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans


ENCEPHALARTOS SCLAVOI
EASY TO GROW CENTRAL AFRICAN CYCAD

Named after a French citizen who first recognized this species, it was formally described in 1989.  Its trunk is typically a mature height of four to twelve feet, its leaves are erect and about six feet long, color is green, sometimes blue-green, petioles lightly furry, and leaflets cupped.  From a nursery point of view, I have seen spiny leaflets with this species and, my favorite, leaflets that are minimally spiny and very cupped.  You can lay your fingers into the cupped leaflets from the dorsal side.  The fourth photo shows the cupping of the leaflets.  This Central African species comes from Tanzania, the country between Kenya and Mozambique.  Native elevation is high, typically about 6000 feet, and the habitat is dry and sunny.   

The leaflets of this species are very thick and leathery.  The margins are revolute, and leaflets can overlap.  Because of its native high elevation, it is relatively cold hardy for an Central African cycad.  It can take full sun along the coast and is cold hardy into the low 20's F.  Shown here is an assortment of nursery plants as well as some garden specimens.  This is a satisfying and easy to grow cycad.
Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi
Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi
Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi
Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi Encephalartos sclavoi


ENCEPHALARTOS VILLOSUS
AN UPRIGHT CYCAD WITH GOLD CONES
 

This is an attractive, small to medium sized cycad from South Africa that, in most circumstances, prefers partial sun or filtered light and never gets overly large.  A mature plant might have a cuadex of twelve to fourteen inches, and this is mostly subterranean (below the ground).  Leaves are green in color, have thin leaflets with some spines, and are six to eight feet long, often held in an upright position.  Cold tolerance is into the low twenties F.  Suckers can form at the base.

One of the things I like most about this species are the beautiful cones.  Male cones are yellow, as shown below.  Female cones are yellow to brilliant gold in color.  A female cone will hold its color in the garden for about six months.  And, the female cones are quite large, sometimes almost to two feet in length. Tomorrow or Wednesday, I am going to show you a female cone with brilliant red seeds visible.  This is absolutely striking with these prominent colors.  Note that the female cones are thicker in diameter.  The male cones are thinner and look like corn cobs with the kernels removed.  This is typical of Encephalartos cones.  The females have more of a "pineapple" look.  Below you'll see pictures of the cone falling apart and showing beautiful red seeds.  

If you prefer the upright leaves, you  might consider cutting off the lower, more horizontal leaves.  This can be done without hurting the plant if you have a hardened set of new, more upright leaves.  Shown here is an assortment of photos including nursery plants, cones and garden specimens.  We have a wide variety of sizes for sale including mature, coning sized specimens.  And, they can easily be shipped throughout the U.S.
Encephalartos villosus Encephalartos villosus
Encephalartos villosus Encephalartos villosus Encephalartos villosus
Encephalartos villosus male cones
Encephalartos villosus male cone
Encephalartos villosus female cone
Encephalartos villosus female cone
Encephalartos villosus male cone
Encephalartos villosus male cone
Encephalartos villosus female cone
Encephalartos villosus female cone
Encephalartos villosus
Encephalartos villosus female cone
Encephalartos villosus garden
     


These photographs were taken over time and show you the same gold cone above and what happens over time.  You'll note the female cone is dehiscing and falling apart.  This dehiscence of the cone starts at the top and works its way downward.  Week by week, the cone breaks apart a bit more.  I'd estimate it takes about a month or two for the entire cone to fall apart once the seeds are fully developed in the cone.  The cone is supported by a very thick stalk.  We removed the cone for photos.  Note the cut surface of the transected stalk in the last photo.  Also note how this plant is starting to throw new leaves (photo #5) even before the cone has finished dehiscing.  The contrast of the red against the cold is very attractive.  These seeds would normally be cleaned of any fruit and stored for three to six months before they'd be ready for germination.  This allows the embryos in the seeds to develop during this "after-ripening" period.  Seeds should be stored in a dark, dry location such as a house cabinet and kept in a bag that breathes well.  Growers use nylon stockings or paper bags for storage.  Someday soon I'll write an article about cycad seed development and germination. 
Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds
Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds
Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds Encephalartos villosus cone and seeds



ROYSTONEA PRINCEPS
THE SMALLER ROYAL PALM FROM JAMAICA

About four years ago I was lucky enough to make contact with a fellow that loves palms and often goes to Jamaica.  He told me he visited Roystonea princeps in habitat and asked if I wanted seeds.  That was a "no-brainer" for me and I replied "of course".  This relationship has let to a good supply of this desirable tall crown shafted Royal Palm.

Compared to Roystonea regia (discussed below), this is a shorter palm, maximum height to sixty feet (not one hundred like regia).  Also, the trunk is more narrow with a small amount of basilar bulging.  Finally, the leaflets are multi-ranked giving a plumose appearance with some leaflets hanging down in a dependent fashion.  The crown shaft is emerald green. 

Growth rate is similar to other Royals and cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties F.  Shown here are 2g, 5g and a 15g plant.  Presently we have the two smaller sizes from this wild collected seeds.  The two habitat photos were taken by RL.  Note the rather narrow trunk for a Royal Palm and the fluffy leaves.
ROYSTONEA PRINCEPS 5G Roystonea princeps
Roystonea princeps Roystonea princeps Roystonea princeps by RL
Roystonea princeps by RL Roystonea princeps  

 

ROYSTONEA REGIA
THE CUBAN ROYAL PALM

The ever so popular Cuban Royal Palm is a species that, thirty years ago, was felt not possible to grow in Southern California.  Well, the last three decades have certainly proved that wrong.   There are literally hundreds of plants being grown successfully from Santa Barbara to San Diego.  In fact, I know of specimens (with some difficulty) being grown in the Bay Area of San Francisco and in Phoenix, Arizona.  Of all these pictures shown here, all were taken in the Southern California area except for the last row and the moonlight photo. 

This is a tall palm, growing to heights of nearly one hundred feet.  In Southern California anticipate a maximum trunk of fifty feet.  They don't grow as fast or as tall here as in more tropical areas.  This species has a long crown shaft and a swollen base that can exceed two feet in diameter.  The crown is spherical with some leaves hanging below the median mark of the crown.  Note, Roystonea oleracea (South American Royal Palm) leaves are typically not below the half way point of the crown.  It is a sun loving species.  Growth rate is fast.  They respond to heat and adequate water.  Cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties, no too different than a normal King Palm.  Our availability changes over time.  I am showing here an assortment of larger plants.  We also have smaller sizes including 5g and 15g.  Because this species is so sought-after, I am trying to show a lot of photos here.  We can even arrange specimens with three to five feet of woody trunk if you are so inclined.

By the way, I've written about Roystonea borinquena previously.  Check it out if you are interested.  Some feel it is the most cold hardy of all the Royals.
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
  Roystonea regia  




TWO BONUS PLANTS, MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2013

I wanted to also show two more smaller Rhapis excelsa, dwarf variegated varieties.  See below


VARIEGATED RHAPIS BANNER

VARIEGATED RHAPIS VARIETIES AND UNUSUAL RHAPIS
NEW PRIVATE COLLECTION JUST ARRIVED (Posts on these exciting arrivals - mixed in with other plants - start August 1, 2013)

Recently, Jungle Music was fortunate to obtain a privately owned collection of dwarf and variegated Rhapis.  Ever since I first purchased a copy of The Miniature Palms of Japan by Leland Hollenburg about thirty years ago, I have been fascinated by these very attractive and often variegated miniature Rhapis varieties.  The cultivation and collection of these extremely rare plants seems to be mostly centered in Japan.  There are over one hundred named cultivars of these plants. Hollenburg noted in his book that about half of these cultivars are variegated (striped or spotted) and half are green.  Most are dwarf with many only one to three feet tall at maturity.

In my previous posts over the past two years, I have occasionally shown Rhapis species to you.  But,
I have never presented extremely rare variegated or miniature species.  So, what you'll see over the next week or two are "one of a kind" type plants.  Most of the variegated species are cultivars of Rhapis excelsa.  They can only be propagated by vegetative cuttings or divisions.  I will show an assortment of these variegated dwarf Rhapis palms as well as some of the more unusual green species. 

Culture of the plants is not difficult and they, for the most part, have excellent cold tolerance.  As a group, consider them shade plants as they shouldn't be grown in sun.  many people grow them as cherished interior plants or in a courtyard environment. 

Photographs shown will be of the plants we have acquired.  I cannot show you "mature" plants with pictures on file as these pictures do not exist; neither with me or available on the Internet.  Rather, you'll just see photos of plants we have available for sale.  Just so you know, all of these are extremely rare and are not inexpensive plants.  As far as I know, these are the only such plants available for sale in the U.S.  If you are interested in any particular plant, just contact me. 

My informational comments on individual plants will be limited and I'll give any information by Hollenburg that I can provide. 
Realize that there is little published about these plants.  I will post plants according to what their label said they were.  I've found that some of these names are not found in Hollenburg's book or on the Internet.  There are no other references.  But, in the end, the plants speak for themselves and are what they are.  I will also include the acquisition number on posts below.

Posts will be added sporadically as days go by. We got in about 80 plants, so over time there may be some repetition of varieties.  But, plants are all different, both in size and degree of variegation. Be aware that many of the plants that will be shown are from Hollenburg's collection when he retired.  I am giving customers the opportunity to purchase these
30 year old mature plants.  But, those not sold, will be divided up for future stock.

One other lesser reference on the variegated Rhapis is Cultivated Palms of the World by Ellison, a Betrock publication.

I won't forget other types of plants and mix these new Rhapis in with other stuff.
variegated Rhapis





Variegated Rhapis

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RHAPIS EXCESA VARIEGATED
VARIETY AYANISHIKI

This variety of Rhapis excelsa is a cultivar from about 4o or more years ago.  It has cream colored variegation over a lime green leaf.  the plant shown here is in a 3g pot and about 3 feet 4 inches tall.  It is a very old specimen, about maximum height.  Note the new offset coming on the photo of the base.  The stem it does have is quite thick and strong.

Plant #10
ayanishiki 3g no. 10 ayanishiki 3g no. 10
ayanishiki 3g no. 10 ayanishiki 3g no. 10   

RHAPIS EXCELSA DWARF VARIEGATED
VARIETY  ZUIKONISHIKI

This three foot tall plant is in a 3g pot and has 3 canes.  This variety is known for very prominent yellow stripes on a dark to lime green leaf.  Stripes are thin and repetitive.  Plant age is estimated at about 30 years.  Like all the others shown here, it is for sale and can be shipped.

Plant #27
Rhapis excelsa Zuikonishiki 3g 3 ft 4 inches 27  Rhapis excelsa Zuikonishiki 3g 3 ft 4 inches 27 
ZUIKONISHIKI  Rhapis excelsa Zuikonishiki 3g 3 ft 4 inches 27  Rhapis excelsa Zuikonishiki 3g 3 ft 4 inches 27 
     

 

MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2013

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA VARIEGATE DWARF
VARIETY TOKAINISHIKI

Over thirty years ago Hollenburg mentioned in his book that this variety, found about 50 years ago and propagated very rarely, is one of the most popular true dwarf species.  He describes it as a short plant with prominent linear yellow or white variegation on a dark green leaf. He also mentions the leaf substance is very thick.  Note how the leaves are mostly simple, wide, cupped shaped and universally variegated.  This plant is a single cane with a few suckers coming, has a height of 1 foot ten inches and is one of my favorites.  I suspect this plant was actually from the Hollenburg collection and estimate it's age at about thirty years.

Plant #80
Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80 Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80
Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80 Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80 Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80
Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80 Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80 Rhapis excelsa toakainishiki 80

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA KOTOBUKI
VARIEGATED VARIETY

I've talked previously about kotobuki with its thick green and sort of puffy leaves.  The plant shown here has a different shape to the leaves and leaflets and is a variegated kotobuki.  It is in a 5g pot, has six canes and is about 3 feet tall and very full with leaflets.  There are marked yellow (white) on green markings on a light green leaflet.  Some leaves are just green.  Estimated age of this plant is 30 years.

Plant #64  

Rhapis excelsa kotobuki variegated Rhapis excelsa kotobuki variegated
Rhapis excelsa kotobuki variegated Rhapis excelsa kotobuki variegated Rhapis excelsa kotobuki variegated

 

RED TI PLANTS
BEEFY PURE RED PLANTS
TEN DAY SPECIAL ONE GALLON SIZE

Over the weekend I got in about a dozen interesting red Ti plants.  I like them because the stems are particularly thick.  Most of the propagated Ti's from Hawaii have thinner stems than these.  Some are holding multiple heads of leaves.  The color is pretty much pure red without any other colors.  These were outdoor propagated locally in the San Diego County area.  I think they'll make wonderful companion plants in the right garden. In the container, they are about 2 feet tall.

REGULAR PRICE 1 GALLON $35
TEN DAY SPECIAL $25


You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.  These can be mail ordered easily.
Ti red 1 gallon Ti red 1 gallon
Ti red 1 gallon Ti red 1 gallon Ti red 1 gallon

 

RAVENEA GLAUCA
A GREAT MEDIUM SIZED PALM FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

This is a medium sized palm that I would consider to be among the "top twenty" palm species for Southern California.  About two decades ago, Ravenea rivularis, the Majesty Palm, was introduced as the future "best palm" for Southern California.  Because of its large size, failure to always look good, immense appetite for fertilizer and water and often yellowing tendency, the Majesty has since fallen out of favor.  This much smaller version of the Majesty, Ravenea glauca, is now the hot plant to get.  And, it lives up to its reputation. 

It gets to a height of twenty, perhaps twenty-five feet, has a thin trunk of typically four inches and doesn't seem subject to the maladies of the common Majesty.  Along the coast it loves full sun.  And, if given normal doses of fertilizer, it doesn't yellow.  Few customers complain about this species.  Of note, there is another dwarf Ravenea, R. hildebrandtii, but the Ravenea glauca is much easier to grow. 

Shown here are several nursery plants and some domestic and habitat specimens.  We have all sizes available for sale.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to low 20's F., sun tolerance is full along the coast.  Hot, inland areas would require part sun or strong filtered light.  Growth rate is quick and this species is easy to grow. 
Ravenea glauca
Ravenea glauca Ravenea glauca Ravenea glauca
Ravenea glauca Ravenea glauca PalmPedia
photo from PalmPedia, habitat
Ravenea glauca from Arkive website
photo from Arkive website

 

WALLICHIA DISTICHA
DYSTICHOUS SINGLE PLANE PALM

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

 

ZOMBIA ANTILLARUM
AN INTERESTING SPINY PALM

I am unaware of any Latin derivation for the word "Zombie" or "Zombia".  Paul Craft reports that it's derivation is from Haitian Creole where it translates into "ghost palm".  Apparently the white fruits have a "ghost" appearance.  The genus name of "Zombia" certainly draws your attention.  This genus only has one species and it is native to the West Indies.  Zombia is a suckering fan palm that gets to a height of ten feet or more and, over time, gets to be a wide suckering clump. 

The most interesting thing about this species is the organized spination seen on the trunks.  Compare this to the Trithrinax acanthicoma which we viewed a few days ago.  The latter is totally random.  Zombia has rings of spines that are closely woven into a repetitive pattern with the spines pointing downward.  For this reason, it is quite unique and can usually be recognized by the trunks alone. Over time, lower portions of the trunks may lose their spines, but they'll remain throughout most of the trunk. 

We are almost out of this species but may have left a few 5g plants.  This is a slow grow species in pots and are faster in the ground.  It can tolerate droughts but also responds to water and humidity.  Zombia like sun.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F, perhaps a bit lower.  In the garden, to show off the amazing trunk appearance, one might remove the most peripheral trunks so you can see into the clump and examine the trunks
.
Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum
Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum
Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum
Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum Zombia antillarum
  

 

BISMARCKIA NOBILIS
SUPER BLUE 15G
TEN DAY SPECIAL 15G SIZE


We are offering a great buy on super blue 15g Bismarckia nobilis.  They have (until recently) been outdoor grown and seen temperatures in the mid-twenties F.  Their color is very nice.  An example is shown here.

REGULAR PRICE 15G $175
TEN DAY SPECIAL $95


You must mention this Blog Only Special to get this price.
Bismarckia nobilis Bismarckia nobilis
Bismarckia nobilis by T.B.
photo by T.B.
   

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2013

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA AYANASHIKI

This is a nicely variegated variety that is rare and very hard to find. This cultivar has cream color variegation on green to lime green leaflets.  It grow well outside in this area and prefers filtered light.  This plant is in a 15g pot, has 7 canes and is a little under 5 feet tall. 


Plant #21
Rhapis excelsa ayanashiki Rhapis excelsa ayanashiki
Rhapis excelsa ayanashiki Rhapis excelsa ayanashiki Rhapis excelsa ayanashiki

 

RHAHAPIS EXCELSA DWARF VARIETY

This very attractive plant is about 4 and a half feet tall.  It has wide leaflets, is lush green in color. Some leaflets are puffy and oval shaped, others are more classical.  Canes are small.  It has 5 canes and is in a 7g container.  The label was lost when we got it.  I don't think it's a kotobuki, which we' described yesterday.  There is no variegation.  The leaflets have a nice arch as they lean forward, see photo. 

Plant #68
rhapis excelsa dwarf green rhapis excelsa dwarf green
rhapis excelsa dwarf green rhapis excelsa dwarf green rhapis excelsa dwarf green
rhapis excelsa dwarf green    

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA KOTOBUKI
DWARF GREEN VARIETY WIDE LEAFLETS

Yesterday I showed you a specimen kotobuki, but they are so pretty that I thought I'd show another specimen, twenty year old plant.  Note it's wide and prominently green leaflets without variegation. Some plants do have variegation, but not this one.  This plant is in a 3 gallon pot with 8 canes, height three feet. 

Plant #18
Rhapis excelsa kotobuki Rhapis excelsa kotobuki
Rhapis excelsa kotobuki Rhapis excelsa kotobuki Rhapis excelsa kotobuki

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA VAR ZUIKO-LUTINO
A LIME GREEN DWARF SPECIES

We got in a few of this cultivar.  I find it to be very lime green in overall appearance and color but still with variegation.  I've seen some plants that are just plain lime green without any markings.  This plant is in a 15g pot with 8 canes with a height of four feet, four inches.  It is full with leaves.  It would make a nice patio plant or can be grown indoors.

Plant #5
Rhapis excelsa zuiko-lutino Rhapis excelsa zuiko-lutino
Rhapis excelsa zuiko-lutino Rhapis excelsa zuiko-lutino Rhapis excelsa zuiko-lutino

 

LEPIDOZAMIA HOPEI
IF YOU HAVE THE TIME, THE TALLEST CYCAD IN THE WORLD

There might be a bit of argument over which cycad species has the tallest trunk.  But, most would agree that it would be Lepidozamia hopei.  There are specimens with trunks over 60 feet tall!  This is taller than most palm trees!  Such plants may be a few millennia old, but they do exist.  In a lifetime, one might expect a plant with ten feet of trunk in our locality.  This, like Lepidozamia peroffskyanna, the other species of this genus, is a cycad without spines or thorns on the petioles or leaves.  One can brush leaves across the face without any scratches or pain. 

The main differences between these two species of Lepidozamia are:
1.  L. hopei has wider leaflets,  Peroffskyanna leaflets are half the width of hopei. 
2.  L. hopei gets a taller trunk.  Peroffskyanna trunks are rarely over twenty feet.
3.  L. hopei comes from a more tropical location in northern Queensland.  L. peroffskyanna habitat extends south all the way to New South Whales in Australia.  Thus, L. peroffskyanna may be somewhat more cold hardy.

I am discussing this species today because I've got a very nice boxed specimen of Lepidozamia hopei that has been growing outdoors for well over ten years.  I took the first two photos a few days ago.  It has seen temperatures of about 24 degrees (2007) without damage.  It's being grown in part day sun.  Other nursery plants are shown as well as a few garden specimens. I've also included a photo of a female cone.  We have a fairly good supply of this species presently.  But, be aware that in the near future this species may not be available as availability of seeds has been restricted and plants are scarce.  For most localities, part day sun or filtered light is recommended. 
Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei
Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei
Lepidozamia hopei cone female Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei
Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei Lepidozamia hopei

 

GROWING PALM SPECIES AS "MULTIPLES"
MORE THAN ONE PLANT IN A POT

From a trunk point of view, there are two types of palm trees:

1.  Single trunk:  Species that only have one trunk
2.  Suckering species:  "Suckering" means that the primary trunk makes additional trunks, usually at the base of the first trunk.

Many palm species such as Roystonea (Royal Palm) and Archontophoenix (King Palm) are "single trunk" species.  Examples of suckering species would be the Bamboo Palm, the Senegal Date Palm, the Areca Palm and many others.

Nurserymen will sometimes put multiple single trunk species into one pot and grow them as a "multi".  This term means that more than one single trunk species have been placed and grown in one single pot.  This is done because many customers prefer the look of several together.  The most popular number of plants to grown as a "multi" is three.  Next most popular is a "double".  But, sometimes growers will put five or ten plants in one pot. 

This confuses buyers.  They look at the plant and think that it is a suckering species.  The Pygmy Date Palm is almost always grown as three in a pot.  It looks aesthetic.  This makes consumers think the species is suckering, but it is a single trunk species.  A triple Pygmy will always just be three plants.  No more trunks will ever appear unless one got the rare, truly suckering form of this species native to Laos.  But, the latter is essentially never available.

I am going to show some plants here that are single trunk species but being grown as multi's.  I'll show both nursery and garden specimens.  Obviously, in habitat, you'd only see what appears to be a multiple of a sigle trunk species if multiple seeds happened to drop and germinate in the same location. 

Certain species do look good as multi's; others don't.  In general, I don't like to do multiples on bigger species like Canaries, Sabals, Bismarckia, etc.  But, sometimes customers ask for them.  A triple Queen Palm to me is 'too much".  But, everyone has their own preference and taste.

Below I show two photos of large Canary Island Palms.  One was grown as a multi from the beginning.  The other is three single plants put into the garden side by side.  Note the difference.  When grown as a "multi", trunks tend to arch away from each other.  The close up photo of the base of the triple King Palm shows this.  At our nursery, we do grow multiple species as "multi's", especially if they are tall, thin palm species.  Chamaedorea plumosa is a great example of a group of three or more looking better than a single plant. 
Chamaedorea oblongata multi
Chamaedorea oblongata, five plants in one pot

Chamaedorea elegans multi
Chamaedorea elegans, multi planting
Howea forsteriana multi
Howea forsteriana, three plants in one pot

Dypsis lutescens 10g
Dypsis lutescens, a naturally suckering species
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana triple
Triple King Palm, a multi planted specimen
Chamaedorea plumosa multi
Chamaedorea plumosa multi
Chamaedorea plumosa 15g
Chamaedorea plumosa multi
Pygmy Date multi's
Pygmy Date multiples
Howea forsteriana multi
Kentia Palm multiple

Chamaedorea neurochlamys, 3 plants in 1 pot
King Palm triple in garden
King Palm, triple in garden, grown as a multi

Phoenix reclinata
Phoenix reclinata, a suckering species.
This is not a multi potted specimen that got large
Triple Pygmy Date
Triple Pygmy Date, grown as a multi
Triple King Garden
King Palm triple showing the curve of the trunks

Triple Canary, grown as multi
Canary Palm, three side by side
Canary Palms, three singles planted close to
each other.  Not a multi

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 2013

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA VAR KOBANNISHIKI

This plant is in a 3 gallon container, has five canes and is a little under 3 feet tall.  It's variegation is subtle but quite nice.  Hollenburg says "the unusual stripe pattern reveals delicate and subtle changes" with white markings. 

plant #15
Rhapis excelsa var kobannishiki Rhapis excelsa var kobannishiki
Rhapis excelsa var kobannishiki Rhapis excelsa var kobannishiki Rhapis excelsa var kobannishiki

 

RAPHIS EXCELSA VARIETY CHIYODAZURA

This attractive old specimen is in a 15g container, has seven canes and is 3.5 feet tall.  Hollenburg describes this species as having persistent and strong variegation.  As you can see, this is the case.  He also says that it is a strong growing plant and easy to propagate and grow. 

Plant #7
Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura
Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura
Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura Rhapis excelsa var chiyodazura

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA VARIETY KOTOBUKI

This short variety of R. excelsa has green and variegated forms.  The plant shown here appears to be a green form, but all plants have the potential apparently for variegation.  Hollenburg notes that leaves always emerge green and then later show stripes of variegation.  This is a sought after variety and was first described in 1954 in Japan.  It is usually about three feet or less tall at maturity.  The plant shown here is in a 5g pot, has seven canes and is 2 feet 7 inches tall.

Plant #12
Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki
Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki
Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki Rhapis excelsa var kotobuki  

 

RHAPIS "ALICIA"
HYBRID: R. LAOSENSIS X HUMILUS

Luis Hooper has been a long time friend of mine.  He was the one who hybridized this cross between two species of Rhapis.  R. humilus is a tall species, sometimes over 20 feet tall.  It has a large number (up to more than 20) leaflets that come to a point.  R. laosensis is a much shorter species with a less number of wider leaflets that don't end with a pointed leaflet.  This hybrid gives you a shorter palm that gets to about eight feet in height and tolerates filtered light.  As you'd predict, there are a lesser number of somewhat blunt tip and wider leaflets.  It is easy to grow and is cold tolerant perhaps into the upper teens F.

This plant is in a 15g pot,  has 15 canes and is a bit under six feet tall.

Plant #4
Rhapis Alicia laosensis x humilus Rhapis Alicia laosensis x humilus
Rhapis Alicia laosensis x humilus
under side of leaf
Rhapis Alicia laosensis x humilus Rhapis Alicia laosensis x humilus

 

DIOON MEJIAE
A CENTRAL AMERICAN CYCAD WITH A SOFT TOUCH

Perhaps the "soft touch" comment above attracted to you to read this post.  I'll explain what I mean.  People often complain that cycads are "too stiff" or "too pokey".  I guess these things scare them.  Perhaps, in a way, Dioon mejiae was an attempt by Nature to appease these folks.

Although Lepidozamia is perhaps the most "user friendly" plant in the cycad world, Dioon mejiae, in parts of its growth cycle, may be even better.  When new leaves emerge they are extremely soft to the touch, furry with very fine hairs and quite delicate.  If you grab these new leaves too briskly, they may snap in half.  Looking at them, they appear very fuzzy and hairy.  It's quite appealing.  The first five photos here also show how the caudex can be spongey and soft as well.  This 7 inch caudex is covered with the softest wool you could imagine.  Also, Dioon mejiae, unlike Dioon spinulosum or rzedowskii, has minimal or no spines on the leaflets.  Close up photos here show this.  Unfortunately, in three to six months, the wool and hairs on the leaves and petioles does disappear and the leaves stiffen up, but leaflet spines remain absent.  So, it's hard not to consider this species designed for fragile collectors. And, if you trim older lower leaves, the upright stance of the most recent leaves prevents them from being in your face..

This species is native to canyons and hills at about one thousand feet elevation in Honduras.  Leaves are three to six feet, emerge upright with a slight arch, and stems get to over 20 feet tall in perhaps a hundred years.  Spines are absent or nearly so on the leaf margins and this helps in identifying this species.  In most areas, this is a filtered light species, although right on the coast it tolerates full sun.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to low 20's F.  You can see on the mature boxed nursery plant that the trunk does become woody with age.  But, new leaves continue to emerge with the soft touch described above. 

Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae

 

CERATOZAMIA HILDAE
VARIATION IN LEAF APPEARANCE

Having grown well over one thousand of this species, I can say that leaf appearance of Ceratozamia hildae varies, plant to plant.  The one consistent hallmark of this species is the grouping of leaflets along the rachis.  Also, it tends to be a dwarf type cycad.  However, the size, number and shape of the leaflets are wildly variable.  Sometimes leaflets are single, one on either side of the stem as a pair.  Other times they are in groups of four, two on either side.  And, I've seen groups of six.  Also, leaflets can be short and plump or longer and thin. 

The first three photos show thin leaflets with only two leaflets in each group.  The sixth photo shows groups of six.  Other photos show short but wide leaflets.  Caudexes never get over about six inches in culture and leaves are typically under four feet in length.  This species likes filtered light and is remarkably cold hardy, even into the upper teens F.  Is this variability in appearance just expression of the genes of this species or the result of evolutionary hybridization?  I can't answer this question.  But, in growing a lot of plants, I've certainly seen a lot of variability in this specie's appearance. 
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
     

DYPSIS LEPTOCHEILOS
A TOP PICK FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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

 

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