Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

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Phone: (619) 291-4605
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phil.bergman@junglemusic.net

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MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2012

 

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

 

RAVENEA GLAUCA
A GREAT MEDIUM SIZED PALM SO 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 offering for sale some 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
  

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

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012

 

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 millenia 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

 

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
     
RHOPALOSTYLIS SAPIDA
SHAVING BRUSH PALM
FEATHER DUSTER PALM
We've discussed this great palm previously on this blog, but I wanted to show a few more pictures and remind you that we do have a good selection of this great species for sale.  Rhopaolstylis species are from New Zealand.  R. sapida has the most upright leaves of all the species and gets to about 25 feet height.  Such heights may take several decades.  When I think of this species, I remember mostly the upright leaves and the thick, bulging crown shaft. Rhopalostylis sapida would also be on most people's top twenty list.  It can tolerate full sun if you are within five to eight miles of the ocean in Southern CA.  Most people in other areas give it morning sun or filtered light.  In the garden, getting any significant trunk from a nursery plant may take five to seven years. Cold tolerance is about 22 or 23 degrees F.  I recently saw some wonderful specimens of this species in the SF Bay area.  The most common mistake is giving it too much sun if you live in a hot area.  Shown here are an assortment of nursery plants we have for sale.  Also shown are photos to demonstrate the two main characteristics of this species: upright leaves and bulging crown shaft. 
Rhopalostylis sapida 25g Rhopalostylis sapida, 5g
     

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

 

CYCAS GUIZHOUENSIS
This small to medium sized exotic cycad is from China.  Only recently has this species been available.  Our hopes are that this species, like many other Chinese Cycas species, will have some cold hardiness and be a good grower in Southern California.  It gets about four to six feet of stem height when mature.  The crown width is about eight feet across with leaf lengths of three to five feet.  At the nursery it seems to grow quite well.  Various clients are growing it and most have put it in part day sun.  The last photo, by George Yao, shows the plant in full sun.   Reports are that this species will tolerate a freeze, although more experience is needed.  
Cycas guizhouensis Cycas guizhouensis
Cycas guizhouensis Cycas guizhouensis Cycas guizhouensis by George Yao at PACSOA
Photo from PACSOA website by George Yao

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2012

 

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

 

CYCADS IN LARGER SIZES
FOR THOSE WHO JUST CAN'T WAIT
Cycads, in general, have always been recognized as rare, slow growing plants.  On many species, the trunk or caudex never gets over three feet in height.  The leaves emerge from the top of the caudex and go upwards a distance of three to eight feet in most cases.  Remember that cycads begin as a very small plant.  From a seedling in most species, to get a caudex of about six inches can take from five to seven years.  Only when the caudex has reached near its genetically determined full trunk width will one start to see vertical growth of the stem.  Full diameter stem width can take as long as ten to fifteen years.  And, vertical height is usually at the rate of approximately a half of inch a year. 

With this in mind, you can see how a cycad may take twenty five years or longer to get a one foot vertical height of caudex.  Certainly, some species are faster than others.  The common Sago Palm is one of the faster species.  But, even with the common Sago, to achieve a three foot tall trunk may take twenty years or more.  This slow growth rate and smaller overall vertical size is quite appealing to many people.  It creates a very manageable, easy-to-grow plant for the garden that doesn't overwhelm space and typically doesn't obstruct a view.  With the wide variety of leaf shapes, appearance and colors along with the colorful cycad cones, cycads are sought after for botanical gardens and upscale private gardens.  I am showing these plants because some people want to start with the largest rare cycads they can find. 

Today I thought I'd show you some plants we either have presently or have had at the nursery in recent times and that show some age.  We have many hundreds of plants of these sizes.  In the industry, these rare species would be considered "large plants".  Most I have been growing for twenty years or more.  On some, like Encephalartos horridus, one rarely sees a caudex over two feet tall.  The large Dioon merolaes shown are almost a century old.  I'll show a wide variety of plants and name each species.  These will all be containerized plants without garden shots in this thread.  Jungle Music has one of the best selections of rare, large cycads of any nursery in the United States.  So, please consider us if you like these magnificent upscale plants.
Encephalartos horridus box
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos villosus box
Encephalartos villosus
Encephalartos longifolius box
Encephalartos longifolius
Dioon merolae box
Dioon merolae
Lepidozamia p box
Lepidozamia perofskyanna
Zamia furfuracea box
Zamia furfuracea
Ceratozamia robusta box
Ceratozamia robusta
Ceratozamia species box
Ceratozamia species
Encephalartos natalensis box
Encephalartos natalensis
Encephalartos lehmanii box
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos trispinosus box
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos princeps box
Encephalartos princeps
Cycas thouarsii box
Cycas thouarsii
Cycas revoluta
Cycas revoluta
Dioon mejiae box
Dioon mejiae
Encephalartos altensteinii box
Encephalartos altensteinii
Encephalartos arenarius
Encephalartos arenarius
Macrozamia johnsoni
Macrozamia johnsoni
Dioon angustifolia
Dioon angustifolia
Encephalartos longifolius box
Encephalartos longifolius
Encephalartos arenarius
Encephalartos arenarius
Macrozamia moorei box
Macrozamia moorei
Dioon merolae box
Dioon merolae
Encephalartos horridus box
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos trinspinosus box
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos transvenosus box
Encephalartos transvenosus

 

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

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

 


DYPSIS LUTESCENS
THE BUTTERFLY PALM, THE ARECA PALM
This popular suckering, medium sized palm comes from Madagascar and surrounding islands by report.  It is sometimes called the "Yellow Cane Palm" because it has as a predominant color yellow in the trunks, leaf stems and even the leaves.  It gets to a height of about 15 to 20 feet.  Sometimes you'll see plants in full sun that never get over ten feet.  It's trunks are typically two to three inches in diameter, sometimes a silver gray color.  It is crown shafted.  Leaves are typically about five feet long.  It suckers freely and as a younger plant looks quite bushy.  Over time, many of the smaller suckers die off giving an eventual plant with perhaps five to ten stems and sometimes just a few.  Leaves are typically flat or slightly keeled.  In habitat, one might say that this is a "complex" of plants as many variations to this description are evident.  In Southern California, it is not unusual to occasionally see this species in domestic plantings.  Along the coast it can tolerate (and perhaps prefers) full sun.  In far inland areas, some sun protection is needed.  Cold tolerance is into the mid and perhaps lower twenties F.  Shown here are Rusty and Casey with some squat 20g plants that are 8 to 10 feet tall.  We do have various sizes for sale.  Also shown is a mature clump at an apartment building here in Encinitas and another shot of mature foliage. 
Dypsis lutescens 10g Dypsis lutescens 10g
Dypsis lutescens Dyspis lutescens at apartment Dypsis lutescens
Dypsis lutescens Dypsis lutescens Dypsis lutescens

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2012

 

COCCOTHRINAX BARBADENSIS
TALL, THIN TRUNKED SOLITARY FAN PALM
As a genus, we've found that many enthusiasts in Southern California can grow Coccothrinax.  This species, from the islands of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, get to a height of about forty feet and have a trunk diameter that is under six inches.  This means that Coccothrinax barbadensis is quite tall with an extremely thin trunk.  It has woven fibers on the upper trunk and, with age, these fibers fall away leaving a clean trunk.  Leaf size is three feet.  The dorsal side of the leaves is green and there is a silver color to the underside.  You can see this on the last photo below.  It is a sun loving species and grows better in the ground than in a pot.  Growth rate is slow at first but accelerated when in the ground.  Cold tolerance is probably in the upper 20's F., although this is not well worked out.  Shown here is a nice 7g plant.
Coccothrinax barbadensis Coccothrinax barbadensis
Coccothrinax barbadensis Coccothrinax barbadensis Coccothrinax barbadensis
Coccothrinax barbadensis Coccothrinax barbadensis Coccothrinax barbadensis

 

CYCAS DIANNANENSIS
SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZED CHINESE CYCAD
This species of Cycas is from the Yunnan province in China.  It gets a trunk that is between three and nine feet tall at maturity.  Trunk diameter is twelve to sixteen inches.  Leaves are quite long, typically six to eight feet.  They come up in an erect position, spread apart and gently arch at their ends.  The petiole is about three feet long with small spines.  Leaflets are long and narrow, typically over 12 inches in length.  Overall, this is a very exotic looking cycad.  Recent cultural information demonstrates this cycad will tolerate a freeze. I would recommend growing it in filtered light.  It is quite rare and seldom available.  Shown here is a nursery plant in a citrus pot with three foot long leaves. 
Cycas diannanensis Cycas diannanensis
Cycas diannanensis Cycas diannanensis Cycas diannanensis, TS RPS
photo by TS, RPS

 

 

PRITCHARDIA GLABRATA
I have always been quite fond of Pritchardias, the Hawaiian Fan Palms.  This is the only native genus of palms in Hawaii.  Every other type of palm (perhaps excluding the Coconut) was introduced by man and has no native habitat in Hawaii.  Of all the Pritchardia, P. glabrata is one of my favorites.  It is native to Maui and the Island of Lanai.  It has gone by the name of Pritchardia lanaiensis in the past.  It is medium sized with mature height ten to twenty feet.  The leaves are green both top and bottom.  The petioles are shiny green.  The leaf shape is basically flat with leaf segments drooping down toward their ends.  Crown width is ten feet or a bit more.  We were fortunate to get a few very nice 15g plants of this species recently (see photos).  They are good sized and very attractive plants.  This species can grow in coastal full sun or filtered light.  In hot inland areas, sun protection might be needed.  Cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties F.  The mature plant photos were taken by HJD.  Note on all the photos how the leaves are basically flat with prominent green coloring.  For those who think all fan palms are "desert palms", this one will prove you wrong.
Pritchardia glabrata Pritchardia glabrata
Pritchardia glabrata Pritchardia glabrata Pritchardia glabrata By HJD
Photo by HJD
Pritchardia glabrata by HJD
Photo by HJD
Pritchardia glabrata
Photo by HJD
 

 

AN UNKNOWN PRITCHARDIA SPECIES
LARGE 15G PLANTS
When we got the Pritchardia glabrata above, we also got in a few very large 15g Pritchardia of undetermined species.  They were grown by a backyard grower in the eastern Del Mar area.  I am not a Pritchardia taxonomist, but these plants seem to resemble Pritchardia affinis to me.  They have somewhat triangular shaped leaves (not circular), have a long green and clean petiole, are green on both sizes and have little if any tomentum.  For these reasons, I think they may be affinis.  I asked the grower if they were and he said "yea, I did have some affinis seeds but don't remember if these were from those seeds".  In any case, they are huge 15g plants, grown in full coastal sun.  Overall height in the pots is about eight feet.  Trunk basal diameter is four to five inches.  I've shown a picture of a Pritchardia affinis below so you might get a prediction of what these will eventually look like.  Cold tolerance should be in the mid-twenties F. range.
Pritchardia species large 15g Pritchardia species large 15g
Pritchardia species large 15g Pritchardia affinis  
     
PRITCHARDIA MINOR
A SMALLER PRITCHARDIA SPECIES
Many people like this species because of its small stature.  Not only is the trunk thin (about four to six inches), but the overall height is often only ten to twelve feet.  Domestically grown plants can be a bit taller, but the trunk diameter is thin.  This is why the species has its name "minor", meaning "small".  Native to the island of Kauai, this species live at high elevation natively in the Waimea Canyon area.  The leaves are about two feet wide, at maturity circular in shape, and the leaves are prominently pleated.  We typically have a nice selection of this species for sale.  
Pritchardia minor Pritchardia minor
Pritchardia minor Pritchardia minor Pritchardia minor
Pritchardia minor    

 

SABAL "RIVERSIDE"
AND ITS UNKNOWN ORIGIN
It is true that there are no native Sabal species in the community of Riverside, CA.  But, this name was coined from an existing large single Sabal tree that grew many decades ago in a private residence in Riverside.  It is such a popular species and its progeny have made many seeds over the years, that many individuals grow it and retain the name,  giving credit to the seed bearing mother plant.  By the way, the mother plant no longer exists in its original estate.  No one knows for sure where it originally came from.  The estate owner back then, by report, traveled the world and had a fascination for palms.  Speculation is that he may have collected seeds from a large species of Sabal in the Caribbean, but this was never documented.  In any case, this blue-green, thick trunked, large leafed and super cold hardy species is sought after by many.

Shown here is a nice 7g plant showing its costopalmate leaves, blue-green in color, with long petioles and vigorous growth.  We have also shown a five gallon plant and a seedling at the end.  You can see from the photos that some plants display the blue more than others.  Trunk size is 18 to 24 inches, eventual height 20 to 30 feet.  Seeds are black and the trunk eventually (after loss of upper retained leaf bases) becomes relatively smooth.  This species wants full sun, can tolerate temperatures into the mid teens F. and is being grown in colder areas like northern California, the Carolinas and central Texas.  It is a great palm for colder desert areas.  We try to always have this species available in a variety of sizes.  Be aware that many palm references won't even deal with this "species" because it's natural origin is not known.
Sabal riverside Sabal riverside
Sabal riverside Sabal riverside Sabal riverside
Sabal riverside Sabal riverside Sabal riverside
Sabal riverside Sabal riverside Sabal riverside

ENCEPHALARTOS KISAMBO
AN EASY TO GROW, LARGE, CENTRAL AFRICAN CYCAD

We have found that this Central African cycad species is a quick growing plant and has a very green leaf with a distinctive appearance.  It is easy to grow and has some frost tolerance, probably into the mid twenties F.  It can develop a six foot trunk with leaves than can be eight to ten feet long.  It will tolerate sun except in inland areas.  To the right is first a nice citrus pot plant, then a 15g plant.  Below is a picture of a garden specimen, a close-up of the leaf of a 15g container plant, and a male cone.  We have all sizes for sale up to boxed specimens.  For most along the coastal strip in Southern California, this is an easy-to-grow species that will not disappoint you. 
Encephalartos kisambo cit pot Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo leaf Encephalartos kisambo cone

 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2012

 

ENCEPHALARTOS EUGENE-MARAISII
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE BLUE TRANSVAAL CYCAD
This desirable species of Encephalartos comes from the Transvaal region of the northern Republic of South Africa.  This area is also home to other sought-after species like E. dolomiticus, cupidus and nubimontanus.  Encephalartos eugene-maraisii is a medium to large species with trunk height up to almost ten feet.  It will sucker from the base.  Leaf color is blue or blue-green.  The leaves are sharply keeled giving a "V-shape" in cross section.  Leaf length is two to five feet.  Leaflets are 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide and have a sharp terminal tip.  Encephalartos middleburgensis is a closely related species and was originally felt to be a subspecies of eugene-maraisii.

This is a full sun cycad.  In the wild it commonly sees freezing temperatures.  In culture it is know to tolerate mid to low 20's F.  Shown here are an assortment of nursery plants from bands up to 15g plants.  A few mature plants are also pictured. 
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii

 

ENCEPHALARTOS TRANSVENOSUS
MASSIVE SOUTH AFRICAN CYCAD
This morning I am showing you this very large South African cycad for two reasons.  First is to impress upon you the size which it can attain.  Secondly, to show you how we have very shippable sized plants that are huge for their containers.  This saves a lot of money on shipping.  The first four photos are of a 5g plant that has a seven inch caudex, a huge plant for a 5g pot..  It will explode when planted in the ground.  The second plant is in a 15g pot and has a thick 20 inch tall caudex.  I rooted out this caudex about ten years ago.  The roots are massive in the pot.  Either of these plants can be shipped right to your door, in the container, soil and all. 

Trunks of this species get up to almost forty feet.  They are very thick.  Leaf length is typically about six feet, but I've seen longer than this.  When mature, this species looks like a palm tree in a way.  It is a full sun species along the coast and tolerates temperatures down to 22 degrees F.  It is also a fast growing species.  The last two pictures were donated to me and taken in a botanical garden in RSA and in habitat. I have also shown a few other nursery plants.  We have a wide range of E. transvenosus available.  
Encephalartos transvenosus Encephalartos transvenosus
Encephalartos transvenosus Encephalartos transvenosus Encephalartos transvenosus
Encephalartos transvenosus Encephalartos transvenosus Encephalartos transvenosus
Encephalartos transvenosus Encephalartos transvenosus donated photo Encephalartos transvenosus

 

TRINTHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
SUCKERING, BLUE, 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. We also have nice, suckering 5g plants.  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

 

SYAGRUS SCHIZOPHYLLA
ARIKURY PALM
This is a single trunk species of Syagrus from northern Brazil.  Rare clustering species are known to exist.  It is very slow growing and a mature plant typically has ten feet of trunk or a bit more.  Trunks are thin, typically six to eight inches, with adherent old leaf bases.  With no trimming, it can look a bit scrappy.  But, with adequate care, it is much more handsome.  The petioles have some rough "armor" but no actual spines.  Interestingly, in a container at the nursery, they are not that slow growing.  But, when put into the ground, they are not as fast as you'd expect.  Perhaps this is purely a physical thing as the leaf stems are very crowded.  If you look at the mature plants, there are a lot of leaves in one foot of trunk space.  This species likes sun and is cold tolerant to the upper twenties F, perhaps lower.  We have a pretty good selection of this species; shown here are a 5g plant and a boxed specimen. 
Syagrus Schizophylla Syagrus Schizophylla
Syagrus Schizophylla Syagrus Schizophylla Syagrus Schizophylla
Syagrus Schizophylla Syagrus schizophylla by Gileno Machado PACSOA
Photo by Gileno Machado, PACSOA
 

 

CYCAS MEDIA
This species of Australian cycad is a bit confusing because there are multiple varieties of it in the wild.  The late Ken Hill described at least three different forms in habitat.  It is a green colored, medium sized plant with stems typically up to six or seven feet, leaves four to five feet long and usually single stemmed without branching.  In Australia, some plants are found near the coast with other colonies far inland.  It can be grown domestically in full sun along the coast or filtered light inland.  Cold hardiness is probably in the mid to lower twenties F.  It likes good draining soil.  Shown here are several fifteen gallon plants with close ups of the caudex and leaf.  The last two photos show a mature female plant in cone.  Note how the leaves "lay down" to display the female cone.  This is commonly seen in cycads.  Overall, I recommend this species because it is lush and tropical looking, doesn't get too large, and is fairly easy to grow. 
Cycas media Cycas media
Cycas media Cycas media Cycas media
Cycas media Cycas media Cycas media

 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2012

 

ENCEPHALARTOS LEBOMBOENSIS
FROM THE LEBOMBO MOUNTAINS IN SOUTH AFRICA
This species comes from the Lebombo Mountains in the Republic of South Africa.  In recent times, there has been some confusion about the name of this species.  In the native locality, it appears there are two populations of plants.  One group that is very prevalent there has been renamed as Encephalartos senticosus.  Thus, there are some plants labeled as lebomboensis in older private gardens that actually may be senticosus.   To make things more complicated, one group of lebomboensis has been called "piet reteifii".  Changes in names were the result of comparing the cones on mature plants.  E. lebomboensis female cones are apricot colored.  So, the mature specimen below, appears to be a true lebomboensis.  For more information, click here and you can read a summary of this information from the Cycad Society in South Africa.

This is a medium to large green cycad that suckers freely at the base of the primary stem.  Trunks can get up to twelve feet tall.  It prefers full sun and tolerates temperatures down to the low 20's F.  Shown here is a boxed specimen we have for sale and a 15g.  We have a nice selection of this species for sale.
Encephalartos lebomboensis Encephalartos lebomboensis
Encephalartos lebomboensis Encephalartos lebomboensis Encephalartos lebomboensis
Encephalartos lebomboensis Encephalartos lebomboensis Encephalartos lebomboensis

 

LIGULARIA, CRESTED FORM
NICE COMPANION PLANT
For over thirty years at my home, I have been growing the green form of Ligularia (see photos below).  Several years ago I met someone who actually collected these plants.  From him I got some starts of the crested form of Ligularia that I'm showing today.  They are more of a gray-green color than the bright green seem in the standard form.  They have an interesting ruffled, crested leaf edge.  Flowers are yellow and very similar to the standard form.  Plants never get over about 18 inches and can tolerate coastal sun.  Filtered light is ok for them as well.  They do like adequate water.  Shown here are the ruffled form and several pictures of the glossy green form.  We offer both for sale.  Propagation is easily accomplished either by division of larger plants or from seeds from mature flowers.  Flowers are an attractive yellow (similar to a Daisy) but mature into more of a Dandelion type of blossom with thin, needle like seeds.  These plants are easy to grow and may wilt if under-watered.  If you give them some water, they bounce right back by the next morning.  
Ligularia, ruffled leaf Ligularia, ruffled leaf
Ligularia, ruffled leaf Ligularia, ruffled leaf Ligularia, ruffled leaf
Ligularia, ruffled leaf
Crested form mature flowers gone to seed,
good for propagation
Ligularia green
donated photo, green form
Ligularia green form
Ligularia, green form

 

CEROXYLON
WAX PALM  or  ANDEAN WAX PALM
I am showing here some interesting 5g Ceroxylon species that we have available in very limited numbers.  I am going to list some of the characteristics of this genus below.
1.  Eleven species in the genus, all pinnate, single trunk, tall, and from Andean areas in South America
2.  Tallest palms in the world with some reaching heights of over 100 feet.
3.  Grow naturally at the highest elevation of any palm, some to 9000 feet.
4.  Strikingly beautiful crowns with silver coloration to the underside of the trunks
5.  Famous for their straight, upright white or near white trunks with prominent rings
6.  Cold hardy into the lower 20's F. and can be grown in the San Francisco Bay area as well as Southern California.  Not an ideal choice for hot and humid areas or for extremely dry, hot areas like the desert.
7.  Are dioecious, so you need a male and a female to set viable seeds
8.  Best to start in filtered light in good draining soil, give lots of water, especially when juvenile, and let them "grow into the sun".br /> 9.  Rarely available.  Some species easier to grow than others.
110.  All except two of the pictures below were taken in Southern California.
Ceroxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon species/span>
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon amazonicum
Ceroxylon amizonicum
Ceroxylon amazonicum
Ceroxylon amazonicum
Ceroxylon amazonicum
Photo by M. Gibbons
Ceroxylon trunk
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species by JS
Ceroxylon sp. by JS

 

DYPSIS LANCEOLATA
AN UNUSUAL SINGLE TRUNK SPECIMEN
This typically clustering species of Dypsis from Madagascar and the Comoro Islands grows at high elevation and doesn't get too tall.  I'd say that 95% of this species that I've grown are clustering.  But, you will get single trunk plants and I'm showing one here.  Maximum height should be about twenty feet. They like morning sun or good filtered light.  I'd not recommend full sun for this species.  The crown shaft is an attractive blue-green and the trunk has prominent rings.  Leaves are six to eight feet long with prominent petioles.  Cold tolerance is probably into the mid-twenties F.  It likes good draining soil.  This specimen is in a 25g pot and very beautiful.
Dypsis lanceolata Dypsis lanceolata
Dypsis lanceolata Dypsis lanceolata Dypsis lanceolata

 

ENCEPHALARTOS TRISPINOSUS
A STUNNING BLUE AFRICAN CYCAD
This is a blue species of South African cycad from the Eastern Cape.  It is slow growing and never gets too large.  A very old plant would have two feet of trunk.  The color is blue if it is given adequate direct sun and heat.  In shade or inside a humid greenhouse it will turn green.  The blue color is from a waxy substance given off by the leaves and the amount of this wax is related to the intensity of the sun the plant receives.  I.e., in brighter sun the plant produces more wax and gets more blue.  Thus, along the coast a specimen may not be as blue as a plant more inland.  Interestingly enough, when you consider desert areas, the sun is too harsh for this species.  In such an area it must be given partial sun. But, these lesser hours of inland intense sun will still produce a nice blue specimen.  Of note, if you wipe the leaves, the wax comes off and the leaf is green.  So, don't do this!  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's f.  It likes good draining soil and not too much water.

The first four photos are of a nice specimen.  In addition I am showing an assortment of plants from the nursery along with a mature plant or two.  Of note, we have a great selection of this species from seedlings on up to coning sized mature specimens.  Shipping these plants to customers is quite easy and we do it all the time., but only within the United States because of CITES laws.  This species can be grown indoors, but only in areas with intensely bright sun coming into the house.

One final comment: This species is very similar to Encephalartos horridus.  Many people have trouble telling them apart.  The differences are in different appearances of the cones and different orientation of the prominent barbs on the horridus leaflets.  Otherwise, they are very similar. 
Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus Encephalartos trispinosus band Encephalartos trispinosus

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2012

 

CHAMAEDOREA MICROSPADIX
COLD HARDY, MEDIUM SIZE, SILVER-BACK
This post is about a small to medium sized, suckering, shade loving, pinnate palm from central eastern Mexico.  There it lives in mountainous areas.  It gets trunk heights of eight feet and overall height over ten to twelve feet.  There are a few interesting and unique things about this species:
1.  It is fairly cold hardy, tolerating temperatures into th upper teens F., similar to Chamaedorea radicalis.
2.  It has a sheen to the dorsal (upper) side of the leaflets, making them look irridescent.
3.  The underside of the leaflets is silver, sometimes an almost silver-blue color.
4.  Unlike most other Chamaedoreas, the ripe seeds are an orange-red rather than black.  Most Chamaedoreas have an orange bract with black seeds.  The brack on this species is more of a green or tan/green with the red seeds.  The seeds often ripen about Christmas time.

Shown here is a very old plant at the nursery with pictures in gardens.  This plant is easily over ten years old.  It is about as tall as this species can get.  Notice in picture #3 the velvety appearance to the dorsal leaf and in the next several shots the silver underside of the leaflets.  I'd recommend filtered light for most people growing this species although it will take some sun.  We have this plant available and assorted other sizes from time to time.  I don't know why, but this species has become difficult to find in nurseries.
Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix
Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix
Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix
Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix Chamaedorea microspadix

 

CERATOZAMIA SPECIES
TWO TONE NEW FLUSH
I thought I'd quickly show you some newly emerged leaves on an older Ceratozamia.  I can't be sure, but it appears to be similar to Ceratozamia mexicana.  These leaves threw an orange-red color and now are converting to green (as all red throwing plants do).  You'll note here that the conversion to green begins in the central leaf, closest to the rachis.  This gives an interesting striped-colord leaf with the central portion green.  I think this is pretty cool looking.  This plant has been grown outdoors its entire life, partial sun for a brief part of the day.
Ceratozamia species two tone leaves Ceratozamia species two tone leaves
Ceratozamia species two tone leaves    

 

CERATOZAMIA SPECIES
OLD FEMALE PLANT WITH LONG LEAFLETS
This plant is about a thirty years old (estimate) Ceratozamia that has a female cone.  It's an interesting plant because it has long leaves with extremely long, rather thin leaflets.  The leaflets are 18 to 20 inches long!  The female cone is massive, at least six inches thick.  You'll note that some leaves are semi-erect, others more dependent.  With the spiny petiole, one might think this is Ceratozamia robusta, but it is different from our other robustas and not as upright as that species.  And, the cone is much bigger.  So, I'll just leave it as "species" as there are lots of Ceratozamias that have not been taxonomically identified.  This plant has been outdoor grown its entire life and is in filtered light.  Like many other Ceratozamias, this plant is cold hardy and should tolerate easily the lower 20's F and possibly the upper teens.  It's a "one of a king" type of plant.
Ceratozamia species, old female Ceratozamia species, old female
Ceratozamia species, old female Ceratozamia species, old female Ceratozamia species, old female
Ceratozamia species, old female Ceratozamia species, old female Ceratozamia species, old female

 

CYCAS CURRANI
AN OLD BOXED SPECIMEN
Recently I discussed this very attractive cycad from Palawan.  Today I thought I'd show you an older specimen in a box that we are growing.  Previously I showed a nice 15g plant.  This species is a large plant with potential to get heights over thirty feet.  Despite this height, the trunk is sort of narrow, usually 12 to 18 inches thick, rarely more.  The leaves tend to be upright with drooping leaflets.   It has minimal armor on the proximal petiole.  This boxed specimen shown has a trunk of about twenty inches and six foot leaves.  The last photo by George Yao shows how gorgeous the leaves are.  It can be grown in coastal sun or strong filtered light.  Cold hardiness is into the mid, perhaps lower 20's F.  This plant has seen 25 degrees with no damage.
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii PACSOA by George Yao
by George Yao
 
     

 

CLINOSTIGMA SAVORYANUM
THE PACIFIC BEAUTY PALM
Clinostigma is a genus of single trunk, pinnate palms from the south Pacific islands.  Most are from lower elevations, but some, including this one, grow at elevations that are higher and give us potential to them here. Specifically, Clinostigma savoryanum is from Bonin Island in southern Japan.  It can get up to forty feet tall in habitat with a thin trunk of only about ten inches.  Its long crown shaft is a very light green and sometimes blue-green.  It grows at a medium rate and along our coastal areas should be acclimated to full sun.  I do not think this species would be good for colder inland areas.  I estimate cold tolerance, at best, to be about 30 degrees F.  But, many are growing this species here and most of the photos below are from Southern California.  We have available 5g plants and perhaps a few 15g. 
Clinostigma savoryana Clinostigma savoryanum
Clinostigma savoryanum Clinostigma savoryanum Clinostigma savoryanum
Clinostigma savoryanum Clinostigma savoryanum Cllinostigma species
Clinostigma species

 

TRITHRINAX ACANTHICOMA
AKA TRITHRINAX BRASILIENSIS

In contrast to other species in this genus, this one is a single trunk species from southeastern Brazil. Although taller plants are reported, the usual height I've seen in cultivation is 25 feet or less.  The trunk is about a foot in diameter and covered with fibers, matting and irregularly oriented needles.  The latter is a very prominent feature.  I find it quite intriguing.  But, for some people it's just too much and "scares" them.  If you look at the last photo below you will see the spines.  This is a full sun species and tolerates inland and even desert climates.  Although it's distribution is further north (in S.A.) than T. campestris, it has very good cold tolerance.  This species has tolerated the upper teens F.  It is a fairly quick grower, faster than the other two species by far.  Its leaves are larger than other species above and typically are about four feet across.  If I were to give an comparison to a more common palm, it's like a Windmill Palm on steroids and with a spiny type trunk.  But, It's more robust than the Windmill and has larger leaves.  Shown here is a 7g nursery plant.  We have available seedlings, 5g, 7g, 15g and perhaps a few very large boxes. 

I've been growing this species for 35 years and have always known it as T. acanthicoma and have chosen to stick with this name.  But, taxonomists (who love to change names on a regular basis) now call it "T. brasiliensis".
Trithrinax acanthicoma Trithrinax acanthicoma
Trithrinax acanthicoma Trithrinax acanthicoma Trithrinax acanthicoma
Trithrinax acanthicoma Trithrinax acanthicoma  

 

FRIDAY BONUS PLANT

 

ENCEPHALARTOS DOLOMITICUS
EXTREMELY RARE SO AFRICAN CYCAD
This is a critically endangered species from South Africa.  Trunk size is up to about six feet with a diameter of about 16 inches.  The leaf color is blue or blue green and the leaf stems often spiral.  In other words, there may be some assymetry to the crown of leaves.  Leaves are strongly keeled and at maturity leaflets are entire with few if any spines.  Younger plants may show spines.  This species is known to sucker at the base.

Shown here is a plant with a four inch pirmary caudex and three suckers.  Note how there is minimal armor and the leaflets don't reduce in size much toward the proximal leaf.  The latter trait is characteristic of this species.  Encephalartos dolomiticus is one of the most rare cycad species in the world.  Very few plants remain in habitat and nureries rarely have one for sale.  This is a sun loving plant along the coast and cold tolerance is into the low 20's F.  The last photo shows a coning sized plant growing in the San Diego area.
Encephalartos dolomiticus Encephalartos dolomiticus
Encephalartos dolomiticus Encephalartos dolomiticus Encephalartos dolomiticus
Encephalartos dolomiticus Encephalartos dolomiticus Encephalartos dolomiticus

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2012

 

ENCEPHALARTOS LAURENTIANUS
WORLD'S LARGEST LEAF CYCAD
THREE 15G PLANTS SHOWN HERE
About a week ago I introduced you to Encephalartos laurentianus.  As this cycad totally fascinates me, I went through our inventory to see what other plants we had.  A reader also asked me to show more photos of this species.  So, I took some more shots.  Three different 15g plants are shown here.  The largest one has a cuadex of nine inches wide and almost as tall.  the others are six to seven inches.  These plants have leaves about seven feet long or so.  I think the hairs on the new leaves are very interesting.  Also, I've tried to show more pictures of the leaflets.  I find their appearance to be the best way to identify this species. 

I am showing quite a few photos here.  The first several photos of the newly emerging leaves were taken last week in the previous post on this species.  Further down I have pictures of the new leaves taken yesterday .  You can see how the leaves are starting to open up.  The leaflet shots show how the leaves are wide, have prominent barbs, have a "pitchfork" at the end as opposed to a simple apical spine, and how they are sort of random shaped and cupped slightly. 

If you search the Net, it is almost impossible to find good photos showing details of this species.  I hope you like these.
Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g
Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g
Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g Encephalartos laurentiianus 15g Encephalartos laurentianus
Encephalartos laurentianus Encephalartos laurentianus Encephalartos laurentianus
Encephalartos laurentianus Encephalartos laurentianus Encephalartos laurentianus

 

CERATOZAMIA PLUMOSA
AKA CERATOZAMIA NORSTOGII
This thin leaf cycad from Mexico has gone through various name changes over the years.  I prefer the name "plumosa' because it is so descriptive.  The leaves of this species are plumose.  The leaflets are three to five inches long and attached at various angles on the rachis.  The leaflets actually twist on the stem axis giving this species a fluffy appearance.  When the plants are young (see photos 3-4) they are often displayed in one plane; i.e., they appear more flat.  But, over time, the twisted, fluffy leaf appearance does develop.

Along our coast here in Southern California, this species tolerates full sun.  Inland areas may require filtered light.  Cold tolerance is down into the low 20's F.  Mature size is not large.  A very old specimen may have a trunk of twelve inches.  Leaf length is about four feet.  Shown here are several plants of various sizes.  We do have some seedlings on up to perhaps a few boxed specimens for sale.

Ceratozamia plumosa Ceratozamia plumosa
Ceratozamia plumosa Ceratozamia plumosa Ceratozamia plumosa
Ceratozamia plumosa Ceratozamia plumosa  

 

PRITCHARDIA
THE HAWAIIAN PALM
This genus is mostly native to Hawaii, but some species extend into the South Pacific.  In fact, the only palm truly native to the HI Islands if Pritchardia.  At our nursery, we specialize in the native species of Pritchardia that are from Hawaii because they are more cold tolerant and easier to grow in Southern CA..  All are tropical fan palms and all are very desirable.  For those of you who "only like feather palms", think again.  These plants are gorgeous and add a real diversity to the garden.  There are about 25 or so species in this genus, and at any time we typically offer ten or more species for sale.  They tend to be small to medium sized palms, typically under 20 feet of height with thin or medium sized trunks.  The leaves are near entire and often flat in their shape.  They are easy to grow and some tolerate
temperatures into the mid-twenties F.  In coastal areas they take full or part day sun.  Inland they may be grown in strong filtered light. 

We have all sizes from seedlings, medium sized plants on up to boxed specimens.  Shown here are an array of sizes and species.  Come visit us and you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that we have hundreds of this genus for sale.  Over the past 3 decades we have sold thousands of Pritchardia  of all species and everyone loves them.  We are one of the only nurseries in the country that offers so many species and sizes of Pritchardia.   Once again,  Pritchardia are the only true palm species native to the Hawaiian Islands.  All other palm species were introduced by man!

I am showing a few mature garden and habitat plants here.  Note how some are quite tall (P. schattaueri) and others don't get over about ten feet.  Some have very flat leaves, others are wavy.  Some have small leaves, others as big as a dinner table.
  
Pritchardia


Pritchardia seedling
pritchardia


Pritchardia species
pritchardia leaf pritchardia pritchardia 5g
Pritchardia schauterii by A. B.
Pritchardia schattaueri by A. Bredison
Pritchardia beccariana
Pritchardia beccariana
Pritchardia beccariana box
Pritchardia beccariana box
Pritchardia species
dwarf species, 15 years old
Pritchardia martii
Pritchardia martii
Pritchardia hardyi
Pritchardia hardyi

 

COPERNICIA BAILEYANA
THE BAILEY FAN PALM
If you mention this magnificent and large fan palm
to any palm enthusiast, he will immediately praise this gorgeous species.  Native to Cuba, it has a thick and fairly tall trunk with beautiful large, upright leaves.  When I first saw this species in specimen size at Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami, I was awestruck.  I will share pictures from that trip with you below.  It was a great tragedy when Hurricane Andrew blew down some of these huge relics.  As I recall, staff at the garden were able to salvage some of them by up-righting the trunks and bracing them.

Trunk size on this species is up to about fifty feet with a trunk diameter of two feet.  The trunk is clean and smooth, tan in color.  Leaves are circular, upright, and the crown size is about fifteen feet.  Leaves are green and the large crown is a bit crowded appearing but gorgeous.  The underside of the leaves is slightly glaucous.  Also note how the petioles are very light colored, almost white, with small black armor.  The leaf stems are very attractive.

One seldom sees this species for sale because growing it from seed is painfully slow.  We recently obtained some outdoor grown 5g plants that are showing numerous fan leaves. It has taken seven years to produce this size of plant.  This species likes sun and appears to be cold hardy into the mid, possibly the lower 20's F.  If you like this species, you just have to obtain what's available and be patient.  It's like growing a Jubaea.  It just takes time to get an enormous specimen, but if you give it good culture you should be successful.  Fortunately, growth rate in the ground is faster than in pots.

We have limited numbers of these for sale.  This includes 5g plants as shown and a limited number of bands that are very nice.  If you would like to try one of these really special plants, let us know soon.
Copernicia baileyana 5g Copernicia baileyana 5g
Copernicia baileyana 5g Copernicia baileyana 5g
C. baileyana on right
Copernicia baileyana
Copernicia baileyana 5g
Juvenile plant in ground in Southern CA
Copernicia baileyana 5g
Close up of petioles younger plant
Copernicia baileyana 5g
Juvenile plants in habitat
Copernicia baileyana Copernicia baileyana 5g Copernicia baileyana  

 

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

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

 
E. manikensis box Encephalartos manikensis band E. manikensis garden

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2012

 

CARPOXYLON MACROSPERMA
EXOTIC CROWN SHAFTED PALM FROM VANUATU
About fifteen years ago I first heard of this "newly introduced" palm species from Vanuatu.  This small volcanic island is in the South Pacific, about 300 miles northeast of New Caledonia.  In recent decades, several new palm species were introduced to the world that are native to Vanuatu.  Interestingly enough, this species was felt to be extinct until botanist John Dowe "re-discovered" it in the late 1980's.  It is now felt to be critically endangered in habitat. As a means of exposing the interesting species from this island, locals there began a cottage industry of selling rare palm seeds of a few species. Unfortunately, this business model did not last for long because the prices asked for the seeds (to make the industry work) were just too high.  At that time, seeds of Carpoxylon were $10 each, a high price for a palm seed.  Since then, seeds have almost been unavailable. 

This is a single trunk pinnate palm that comes from lower elevations in Vanuatu.  In habitat it reaches heights of over sixty feet tall with a trunk about a foot thick.  It has a long, somewhat bulging green crown shaft.  The leaves are twelve feet long, arching, and keeled in cross section.  Fruits are very large, about two inches long and egg shaped.  When we first grew this species, our hopes was that it would be similar to growing species from New Caledonia.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  This species does poorly with temperatures into the 20's F.  To grow Carpoxylon, you must be in a frost free area.  I would start it in stong filtered light allowing it to break into overhead sun when it gets taller.  Shown here is a 5g plant and a medium sized plant from a private garden in Vanuatu
Carpoxylon macrosperma Carpoxylon macrosperma
Carpoxylon macrosperma Carpoxylon macrosperma Carpoxylon macrosperma
Carpoxylon macrosperma Carpoxylon macrosperma Carpoxylon macrosperma

 

 

RHAPIS MULTIFIDA
A SUPERIOR INTERIOR PALM
I have previously discussed this medium sized fan palm from China.  It is one of my favorites because it performs so well inside the home or office and also is quite easy to grow outside.  It gets to a height of about ten feet.  The stems are much more attractive than the common Lady Palm, Rhapis excelsa.  It also carries more leaflets per leaf than the Lady Palm and is overall a more attractive plant.  Side by side, the majority of our customers prefer the Rhapis multifida to the R. excelsa.

We import interior quality plants from Hawaii.  I have shown a 5g and 7g plant here.  If you look at the stems, you'll see that they are thin and not the typical shaggy appearance of the Lady Palm.  Do not confuse R. multifida with Rhapis humilus.  They are not the same despite what many nurserymen tell you.  True Rhapis humilus gets much taller with fatter canes.  R. multifida makes a better interorscape palm for most enthusiasts.  Cold hardiness is into the mid-twenties or lower, F.  Outdoors, this species prefers filtered light.   One must be careful not to give Rhapis too much fertilizer or leaf burn may occur.
 
rhapis multifida 5g rhapis multifida 5g
rhapis multifida 5g rhapis multifida 5g rhapis multifida 5g
rhapis multifida 5g rhapis multifida 7g rhapis multifida 7g

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2012

 

BRENTWOOD TREE FERN
FORTY FEET TALL IN COASTAL SUN!
First Time Available In About Eight Years

If you appreciate tree ferns, I hope you read this post.  I am going to show you a variety of tree fern that is, without question, the best plant available to enthusiasts in Southern California.  It is known as the Brentwood Tree Fern.  Gardeners and even fern experts will tell you that this is Cyathea cooperi.  But, in my experience, it is not.  I say this for several reasons: Brentwoods take more sun, are faster growing, have more robust trunks and are more resistant to disease than coooperi.  Their crowns are bigger and they perform much better.  Unfortunately, many nurserymen grow C. cooperi and will tell you you're getting a "Brentwood", as if the latter is a common name for cooperi.  In my opinion, this is NOT true.  I have grown both.

I first heard of the Brentwood Tree Fern about thirty years ago.  At that time the information available was that this plant came from an estate in Brentwood, a city in Northern California.  It was touted as having great cold tolerance and being an excellent grower.  I got my first plants from Walter Anderson's Nursery in San Diego.  Back then, employees at this nursery were truly plant experts and would bring in some of their own personal plants to sell.  One employee had experience growing this tree fern from spores and occasionally would bring a few in to offer to the public.  I purchased and put in about eight one gallon plants.  Their growth rate from then was truly amazing.  Presently, all survived and some of them are over forty feet tall and still growing aggressively.  Trunks are thick and strong.  They take my full sun eight miles inland from the ocean.  Spores drop from my trees and, on occasion, I get volunteers spontaneously growing in my garden.  I dig these up and offer them for sale.  So, these are second generation plants from my trees.  Who knows for sure how many generations they are to California? 

People have speculated and admitted that Brentwoods are probably some type of coooperi hybrid.  This may be true.  But, when I grow regular Cyathea cooperi at the nursery, I am always disappointed.  They are not the "real thing".  Cooperi are slower growing but more importantly don't take full sun and are underperformers compared to the Brentwoods.  Many years ago there were only a few old enthusiasts that grew Brentwoods from spores.  I know of no one still living that does it.  Most nurserymen just sell cooperi and call them "Brentwoods".  Check on the Net, that's all you see.  People use the terms synonymously as if they were both the same.  But, now you know the they are not the same.  I have a handful of Brentwoods for sale from spores from my trees.  The mature trees shown here are from my garden.  Crowns are twenty plus feet across and trunks are about 12 inches in diameter.  The 7g and 15g plants shown here will be over eight feet tall in two years.    

Brentwood Tree Fern

Brentwood Tree Fern
Brentwood Tree Fern Brentwood Tree Fern Brentwood Tree Fern
Brentwood Tree Fern Brentwood Tree Fern Brentwood Tree Fern
Brentwood Tree Fern Brentwood Tree Fern
Brentwood to right, Howea f. to left, height 35 feet
Brentwood Tree Fern
Brentwood behind Caryota trunk, full sun

 

VEITCHIA ARECINA
A PALM THAT'S FROM VANUATU AND GOOD FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
There are about eight species of Veitchia in the world.  All are from the islands of the South Pacific and are single trunk.  All are pinnate and some get quite tall.  Many feel that species of Veitchia are a good alternative to the King Palm.  They tend to have dark hairs and coloration in the upper stem at the crown and in the proximal petioles.  (see photo of 5g plant).  On most species, cold tolerance is a little bit less than the King Palm, but many can be grown here.  I think they are, in general, potentially more attractive than Archontophoenis in a way and certainly get taller.

Veitchia arecina specifically is from Vanuatu.  Vanuatu is an island that is east of Australia and northeast of New Caledonia.  Remember, a lot of great palms for us come from New Caledonia.  Trunk height of Veitchia arecina can get well over fifty feet and its diameter is about a foot.  So, it's a thin but tall crown shafted palm.  It's base is swollen, the trunk is ringed and the crown shaft is silver green and long.  Along the coast here it wants full sun.  Inland areas may need protection.  Rate of growth is medium.  Shown here is a 15g and 5g plant, along with some garden specimens. We try to always have an assortment of Veitchia in stock. 
Veitchia arecina Veitchia arecina
Veitchia arecina Veitchia arecina Veitchia arecina
Veitchia arecina    

 

LIVISTONA NITIDA
AKA LIVISTONA
CARNARVON GORGE
I am discussing this species now because some people get Brahea nitida mixed up with Livistona nitida.  Both have the same species word "nitida", which means shiny in Latin.  This is also a fan palm with shiny leaves that are green.  But, as you'll see, it has much more divided leaves than the Brahea and is from Australia, not Mexico.  Also, the underside of the leaves are not white.  It has the same one foot diameter as the Brahea but gets to heights of about 100 feet in many decades.  Livistona nitida is similar to other Livistona like australis and decipiens in a way, but gets taller and is more robust. 

With the five gallon plant to the right you can see how the leaves are heavily divided into segments and the petioles are armed with barbs.  In the 15g size you see the same appearance.  The last photo by Daryl O'Connor (PACSOA) shows how robust and tall this species is.  They obviously like sun.  Cold hardiness is into the low twenties F. or even into the upper teens
Livistona nitida Livistona nitida
Livistona nitida Livistona nitida Livistona nitida by Daryl O'Connor, PACSOA
Australia, from PACSOA, by Daryl O'Connor

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

 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2012

 

ENCEPHALARTOS FRIDERIC-GUILIELMI
DROUGHT & FROST TOLERANT - THIN LEAFLET CYCAD
This is a medium sized cycad from the Eastern Cape region of the Republic of South Africa.  It is most notable as being a very thin leaflet cycad.  It is similar to Encephalartos cycadifolius but has wider leaflets and a larger trunk.  E.F.G.'s (as they are often called) can get trunks over ten feet tall.  Leaf length is three to five feet, Leaflets are under a centimeter wide and gray green in color.  I've seen plants where the leaves are almost blue. 

This species tolerates temperatures into the low twenties F. and wants full sun.  I have noticed that a crown of leaves might deteriorate prior to the flush of a new set of leaves.  So, if you see leaves starting to look bad, perhaps a new set is coming.  Shown here are several 15g plants.  Note how one has a very fury caudex.  When I see this I figure the plant is real happy and healthy.  EFG's are known to have a tan-brown wool in the crown and sometimes upper trunk area.  We have an assortment of this species for sale. 

Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi
Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi
Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi
Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi
by Colin Wilson, PACSOA
Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi

 

ENCEPHALARTOS MACKENZEI
AKA ENCEPHALARTOS SP. "SUDAN"
RARE SPECIES NEARLY UNKNOWN IN GARDENS AND CULTIVATION
About ten years ago, Leonard Newton from Kenyatta University in Kenya described a new Encephalartos species found in south-east Sudan.  As many of you are aware of the humanitarian strife and tragedy from that part of the world, you can imagine how describing a species from there would be difficult and how such a species would be entirely unknown by the rest of the world.  I would imagine that field work on this species was not easy.

Newton describes this as a freely suckering species with trunks up to ten feet in height but with surrounding offsetting trunks, many of which lay decumbent on the ground.  Leaves are five to six feet long with leaflets one to one and a half inches wide.  The color of the leaves is green.  The only other species from this region is Encephalartos septentrionalis.  In comparison, E. Mackenzei has larger trunks, a greater number of trunks, and broader leaflets to 35 mm wide.  A Ugandan species, Encephalartos macrostrobilus is usually single trunk and has more narrow leaflets.

Click here for a link to Newton's article:

As you might guess, this is an unbelievably rare cycad.  A few plants are around in this country.  Shown here are some.  I cannot show you any photos of mature plants as there are none in books that I know of and none on the Internet. However, if you click on the link above, in his article Newton does have some photos of this species. 
Encephalartos mackenzei Sudan Encephalartos mackenzei Sudan
Encephalartos mackenzei Sudan Encephalartos mackenzie sudan

 

ARCHONTOPHOENIX CUNNINGHAMIANA
A VARIEGATED LARGE NURSERY PLANT

From time to time, we come across a variegated plant.  This means that typically solid green leaves are discolored with yellow or lighter areas to the leaflets, to part of the leaf, or to other parts of the plant.  But, typically it's seen in the leaves.  This can be a temporary finding.  Other times it is "permanent" and persists.  It's long been known that variegated Howea forsteriana leaves often revert to a non-variegated plant over time.  Rhapis excelsa are propagated to find the most interesting forms of variagation.  The latter are coveted by collectors worldwide.

No one knows for sure what causes it.  I've hard estimates that spontaneous appearance is about one in ten thousand plants.  There are collectors who specialize in variagated plants.  This King Palm shown here belonged to Joaquin, seen in this first photo.  He has worked for me for seventeen years at the nursery.  He decided he wanted t sell it and the next day it was gone.  But, I though I'd show you the photos here.  I'd estimate that about once or twice a year we will find a "variagate conversion" among our nursery stock.  As we hav about a quarter million plants, this is not surprising.  Such plants, after discovery, are often gone in  few days.  People just love them.  As we find them, I'll try to share them here.  If you are a variegated plant collector, email me and I'll contact you when we discover new plants with interesting variegation.  
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana variegated Archontophoenix cunninghamiana variegated
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana variegated Archontophoenix cunninghamiana variegated Archontophoenix cunninghamiana variegated

 

PHILODENDRON SPECIES
A FEW RARELY SEEN SPECIES
I am not a Phlodendron expert, but will make a few comments about a great companion plant for you palm enthusiasts.  Philodendron are native to the Americas and Western Hemisphere.  Some can be found in Australia and Pacific Islands, but are felt to not be indigenous to these areas.  There are between 500 and 1000 species with many other non-described species in rainforests. 

Most Philodendrons can climb.  Such plants can start in the ground, find a nearby trunk, and climb up that trunk.  Or, they can begin their lives epiphytically up in a tree and climb along a limb of that tree.  Some are totally terrestrial, but this is rare.   In the fourth row below there are photos showing the running stem of two plants with roots coming out and these roots attach to a tree.  Philoendron cannifolia is more of a rosette type plant and doesn't seem to have the tendency to be a climber.  But, it could live epiphytically up in the canopy.

The plants shown here came from a botanical garden in California.  We trade with such gardens from time to time and that's how I get these rare species.  Most are unnamed species from the wild.  On the latter, we have assigned fictitious names here just so you can communicate with us if needed.  In the bottom row, you see a picture of Philodendron climbing a trunk (background to right).  Just like the boy in the last photo, they slowly inch their way up the trunk. 

Some of these are striking with different leaf forms.  You won't see these for sale in almost any nursery.  One would plant them near the base of a trunk and they'll do the rest.  Figure they want filtered light.  All can take a freeze but absolute cold hardiness is unknown.  We have all of these for sale, although in limited numbers.
Philodendron elegans
Philodendron elegans
Philodendron elegans
Philodendron elegans
Philodendron species simple leaf
Philodendron species simple leaf
Philodendron species simple leaf
Philodendron sp. simple leaf
Philodendron species batwind from Brazil
Philodendron sp. "batwing" Brazil
Philodendron species batwind from Brazil
Philodendron sp. "batwing" Brazil
Philodendron species staghorn fern
Philodendron sp. "staghorn fern"
Philodendron species staghorn fern
Philodendron sp. "staghorn fern"
Philodendron, climber
A climbing Philodendron sp.
Philodendron, climber
Another climbing Philodendron
Philodendron cannifolia
Philodendron cannifolia, a non-climbing species
Philodendron climbing
Climbing Philodendron to right, background
Boy Climbing Palm
Boy climbing Areca catechu in Bali, Indonesia
 

 

LIVISTONA BENTHAMII
Since I just discussed a Livistona species, I thought I'd mention another that has very different leaves.  Be aware that nomenclature of Livistona has changed over the last two decades.  Names have been changed and "locality names" previously used have been replaced with more taxonomically "correct" names.  Names like "blackdown table" and "carnavon gorge" are no longer utilized. (see species above)  Such old names described localities where the species grew.  Be aware that the distribution of Livistona species is wide, spreading from Africa through China and Indochina, down through the Philippines and Indonesia into Australia.  The greatest number of species are in Australia and have recently been re-worked by botanist John Dowe.    

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

 

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

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2012

 

CERATOZAMIA LATIFOLIA
NEWLY EMERGING RED LEAVES
This is a small to medium sized Mexican cycad that gets trunks up to about twelve inches, has wide leaflets and is known for bronze or red emergent new leaves.  The derivation of the name "latifolia" actually comes from the Latin term for "broad", referring to the leaves.  Leaves are about four to five feet long, slightly arching and leaflets are one to a little under two inches wide.  Natural habitat for this species is in wet mountainous regions where moisture is plentiful on limestone cliffs.

Shown here is a juvenile plant with three newly emerging light red leaves.  These leaves will remain this color for several weeks and then convert to green.  The seventh picture below shows leaves that are about 50% in there conversion to green.  I have also shown several larger plants so you get a feel for the normal mature green foliage.  This is a species that does best with filtered light.  It has remarkable cold hardiness with one Florida grower saying it was unscathed at 15 degrees F.  It certainly can tolerate temperatures into the low 20's F.  It is an attractive species, easy to grow and a fine addition to any garden.

 
Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves
Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves
Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves Ceratozamia latifolia red emerging leaves Ceratozamia latifolia
Ceratozamia latifolia  Ceratozamia latifolia   Ceratozamia latifolia leaves 

 


ENCEPHALARTOS LAURENTIANUS
LONGEST LEAVES OF ANY CYCAD
JUVENILE PLANT WITH NEW LEAVES
When you hear about this monstrous cycad, you will at the same time hear that this species has the longest leaves of any cycad in existence.  Trunks can be extremely tall as well, up to over thirty feet (often reclined), but it's the leaves that give it stardom.  They can be up to twenty-one feet long.  They emerge straight up and seem to just keep growing, getting taller and taller.  From my growing experience, I am quite amazed how a moderate sized caudex can produce leaves of such length.  It's like "they are too long for the caudex size".  The plant shown here has about an six to eight inch caudex, but these leaves will probably end up to be eight feet long!  Leaflets of this species are very long, somewhat cupped, and are prominently barbed, especially at the ends.  Once you recognize the leaflets, which have a peculiar look to them, you'll always recognize this species even when young.

This is a Central African cycad, native to northern Angola and southern Zaire.  Twenty years ago a collector had to beg and plead to obtain this species.  Fortunately, a few seeds have become available on a few occasions and one can actually buy a plant.  It does best if not grown in full sun.  Give it plenty of space as the long leaves lay down over time.  Cold tolerance is probably the upper twenties F.  The 15g sized plant here demonstrates the prominently hairy newly emerging leaves.  Also shown are several larger plants, the last photo showing the enormous length of the leaves. 
 
Encephalartos laurentianus newly emerging leaves  Encephalartos laurentianus newly emerging leaves 
Encephalartos laurentianus newly emerging leaves  Encephalartos laurentianus newly emerging leaves  Encephalartos laurentianus newly emerging leaves 
   
by Peter Heibloom, PACSOA  

 

CYCAS LOEI
PROBABLY THE SAME SPECIES AS CYCAS PETRAEA 
About ten years ago growers were able to obtain seeds from Thailand which, at that time, were called "CycaS loei".  They were from the Loei Mountains in northern Thailand.  I too grew some of these.  As time has gone by, it appears that this species is probably Cycas petraea.  I am showing you a citrus pot plant of "Cycas loei" here and an older Cycas petraea from the nursery.  They are probably one and the same species.  Loran Whitelock, in his book on cycads, doesn't recognize it as a species and major cycad dedicated websites do the same.  I have mentioned this to clear up any confusion that enthusiasts may have.  In any case, both get trunks of both get to about six feet with four foot leaves and regular leaflets.  This species is quite cold hardy into the low 20's F. and prefers part day sun.
Cycas loei
"Cycas loei" 
Cycas loei 
Cycas loei 
Cycas petraea 
 
     

ENCEPHALARTOS CAFFER
A SMALL SOUTH AFRICAN SUN CYCAD
This dwarf cycad, from the Republic of South Africa and specifically the Eastern Cape region, likes sun, has short leaves, and never gets a caudex over a maximum of eight inches in diameter and a similar height.  It is green or gray-green in color, holds about a dozen leaves or less, and has short leaflets.  In my experience, the majority of plants have a more or less flat leaf in cross section. But, there are occasional plants that are more plumose or "fluffy" in the way they display their leaflets.  This species is similar to E. ngoyanus, but lacks spines on the leaflets.  It may be one of the most southern most of the genus Encephalartos.  Shown here are an assortment of nursery plants and a seedling.  Note on the garden plants how small they are.  It does require sun, so don't put one in a small shaded area.  In desert areas, give part day sun.  Plants tolerate temperatures down into the low 20's.  With protection during the winter (mulching caudex, wrapping leaves), perhaps you can grow this in even colder areas.. 
Encephalartos caffer Encephalartos caffer
Encephalartos caffer Encephalartos caffer Encephalartos caffer
Encephalartos caffer Encephalartos caffer Encephalartos caffer
     

WASHINGTONIA FILIFERA
CALIFORNIA FAN PALM
MORE COLD HARDY THAN THE MEXICAN FAN PALM

I am again discussing this species because the Mexican Fan Palm is so popular in cold areas yet is far from the best choice for colder weather.  The latter defoliates in weather that gets into the lower 20's F.  In contrast, W. filifera goes well into the teens.  Washintonia filifera (the California Fan Palm) is a single trunked fan palm from Baja, Mexico with extension of its distribution into Southern California.  We in California like to call it the "California Fan Palm" so we can claim at least one species native to our state.  It has a very thick trunk.  It resembles the Mexican Fan Palm (W. robusta), but has larger leaves, a more open crown, a much thicker trunk that seems to shed leaves more quickly and has more cold hardiness.  It will tolerate temperatures into the mid-teens F.  One of the reasons for enthusiasm about this species is its cold hardiness.  In domestic gardens, seeds are often hybridized with robusta.  Seeds from wild locations tend to be pure. 

This species is hard to locate.  We have some nice one gallon plants and a few 5g  as well.  Both of these can easily be shipped.  Also shown are a few mature specimens.  The last photo is interesting.  It has a mature W. robusta to the left and what appears to be filifera to the right.  I cannot guarantee that the plant to the right isn't a hybrid.  In any case, not the more open crown and thicker trunk with the filifera.  As the more common Mexican Fan Palm often suffers from cold damage in marginal areas, many feel eager to try the W. filifera in their area.  Obviously, it wants full sun.  Growth rate is a slower than the robusta, but still fairly fast growing.   
Washingtonia filifera 1g Washintonia filifera 1g
Washingtonia filifera Washintonia filifer Washingtonia filifera and robusta
left, W. robusta; right, W. filifera

 

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

 

CYRTOSTACHYS RENDA
RED SEALING WAX PALM, LIPSTICK PALM
AN EXOTIC PALM THAT MOST OF YOU CAN'T GROW OUTDOORS
About once or twice a week, I get a call from someone who wants to grow this exotic species in their yard.  For this reason, I'm writing about it this morning.  I've gotten calls from such places as Las Vegas, Dallas and Madison, Wisconsin.  Don't laugh; people just love this species.  In the continental U.S., there is hardly any location where the Lipstick Palm can survive over the long run outdoors.  The problem is the winter's cold.  This species rapidly succumbs at temperatures under 47 degrees F.  I mean, overnight!  Back in my more reckless years, I'd try these again and again.  But, one nights failure of the heaters and all of the Red Sealing Wax were gone.  Nowadays I don't heat the greenhouses and don't even have a chance with this species.

This species is native to southern Thailand, Malaysia, and some Indonesian islands. It is a clumping palm and can get to sixty feet.  It's hallmark is the red crown shaft.  Thus the common names.  It wants sun in the tropics but can be grown in filtered light.  Here in Southern California it wants a greenhouse.  Or, if you are super industrious, you can try it inside the house but it'll be a challenge. 

In South Florida there are some being grown outdoors, but winter cold fronts put them at risk of death.  In HI, they seem to thrive where winter lows are hardly ever below 55 degrees near the water.  Remember, below 47 degrees F. and this species is gone.  I can get one for a real enthusiast, but they are always quite expensive.  Two photos below show interior environmentally controlled culture of this species in Southern CA.
Cyrtostachys renda Cyrtostachys renda
Cyrtostachys renda Cyrtostachys renda Cyrtostachys renda
Cyrtostachys renda Cyrtostachys renda Cyrtostachys renda


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2012

 

CHAMAEDOREA BRACHYPODA
SUCKERING, SHORT, SIMPLE LEAF SHADE PALM
This is an attractive, clumping palm that comes from Honduras, Central America.  The genus of Chamaedorea  are only from the New World.  Stems of this species get to a height of about six feet and are extremely thin, usually under one half of an inch.  Leaves are simple, apically bifid and at the top of the narrow trunks.  As shown in the photos, you can see how thin the trunks are at the ground.  Leaf size can get to 18 inches.  Leaves, especially in deep shade, are dark green and prominently veined.  This gives them a bit of a "wrinkled" appearance. 

The two plants shown here are each about fifteen years old and mature, fruiting size.  Chamaedorea brachypoda likes shady conditions, temperatures above 25 degrees F., and care with fertilizer.  Salty water will result in prominent leaf tip-burn.  The last two photos show this species in domestic plantings.  A similar species, Chamaedorea stoliniera, can be distinguished by its stolins and by smaller, firmer leaves.  Chamaedorea brachypoda leaves are very thin to the touch. 
Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda
Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda
Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda
Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda Chamaedorea brachypoda

 

CHAMAEDOREA ERNESTI-AUGUSTI
TWO VERY OLD AND TALL SPECIMENS
All Chamaedorea are from the New World.  Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii comes from Southern Mexico and northern Central America.  It gets trunks about six to eight feet tall with solid, complete, apically bifid leaves atop the trunks.  Trunks are about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and have prominent white rings. Leaf width is about 18 inches and leaf sizes may decrease as the plant ages and gets taller.  This is a single trunk species and easy to grow.  Cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties F. and this species is a shade loving palm.  It does not tolerate full sun in any localities.

The two plants shown here are about twenty years old.  One has three trunks, the other one trunk.  I am showing them for two reasons: First, to shown how a very old specimen looks.  But, more importantly, to remind you that any single trunk palm, especially a thin trunked variety, may look better with a small colony together.  If I had one of these in my garden, I would plant several younger plants at the base.  See the 5g plant shown below.  It would be perfect to add to the base of these larger plants.  I've come to feel that other single trunk Chamaedorea species like plumosa, glaucifolia, oblongata, etc. will look better with three or more in the same pot.  We've tried to start doing this more and more with new plants that we grow.  Otherwise, one can end up with "leaves on a stick".  So, if you are considering such a plant, consider getting a "multiple" or several to plant together.
Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii
Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii
Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii

 

ENCEPHALARTOS TEGULANEUS
A LARGE KENYAN CYCAD
This is a large Central African cycad with an erect trunk up to thirty feet that is native to Mt. Lolokwe in the center of Kenya.  It is a fairly high elevation plant, up to 2000 feet natively.  As shown in the photos, leaves are four to six feet long and go upwards at about a 60 degree angle.  Color is a gray-green, definitely not a lime color.  The leaves are basically flat in cross section.  Leaflets are thin and crowded and have spines pointing toward the center of the plant. 

Like most cycads, this species likes good draining soil.  I'd recommend less than full sun.  Perhaps, along the coast, part day sun.  Inland areas would require bright filtered light. At our nursery, this species tolerated 25 degrees F. with no problem.  I suspect the coldest it will take is a few degrees below this.  Although this species is getting near impossible to find, we do have an assortment of sizes available including a large, near coning boxed plant. However, we have no seedlings or smaller plants because seeds on this species have not been available for about ten years.
Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus
Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus
Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus
Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus Encephalartos tegulaneus

 

JUBAEA CHILENSIS
CHILEAN WINE PALM
I have written a very comprehensive article on this species,
found elsewhere at this website.  I'll put the link to this article at the end below.  This species is from South America and can get over fifty feet tall with the thickest trunk of any palm species.  Specimens over four feet diameter have been reported.  They are very slow growing and it takes decades to get a nice, mature plant.  Mature trunks are clean of leaf bases, the color of the leaves is almost always green, the leaves are essentially flat in cross section or have a minimal keel to them.  The petioles are unarmed.  At the nursery we have all sizes for sale and
occasional broker large mature specimens.  Shown here first is a 5g plant which is easily shipped for mail order.  Next is a 15g which can also be shipped for those who want to start bigger.

The fourth photo shows how the leaves are flat or minimally keeled in cross section and more or less upright with no more than a slight re-curve.  There is only a little bare petiole at the proximal leaf.  The leaf stems are rather clean at the base and have no barbs.  Below I am showing several photos of larger trees in domestic plantings.  Note the appearance of the trees with their thick, semi-smooth trunks.  This species is a full sun plant and is cold tolerant to about 15 degrees F. 

I am showing you a picture of mature fruit and seeds.  Fruit is yellow in color.  To germinate seeds you would remove this fragrant fruit.  The last photo shows a picture sent to me from a long term customer in South Carolina.  He purchased one of our blue Jubaea chilensis and was excited that it was keeping the blue color back east.  This photo taken by MB shows how his 15g plant is truly a blue color.   

Below is the link for a full article on this species.

LINK TO JUBAEA ARTICLE  

Jubaea chilensis 5g
Jubaea, 5g size


Jubaea chilensis
Jubaea chilensis 15g 
Jubaea chilensis 15g
Jubaea, 15g size  
Jubaea chilensis leaves Jubaea chilensis 15g base Jubaea chilensis
Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis fruit Jubaea chilensis
Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis Jubaea chilensis blue by MB
Blue Jubaea chilensis 15g by M.B.
     
 
CARYOTA GIGAS
BLACK TRUNK FISHTAIL, KING KONG,
THAI MOUNTAIN GIANT, ETC.

Caryotas are a Fishtail Palm.  Caryota
gigas
is a rather recent arrival to the nursery trade.  It
is from northern Thailand and has gone by a whole
assortment of common names as mentioned above.
It is known for its very beautiful appearance and for the
thickness of the trunk.  It is a giant of a species with 
a very sizeable trunk that needs room to grow  It tolerates
full sun in most areas but may burn in the desert full sun.
It's growth rate is fast.  Cold tolerance is about 22 degrees.
Trunk diameter is 2 to 3 feet and typical overall
height is 35 to perhaps 40 feet.  It's very interesting that
habitat height is taller than we're seeing in domestic
gardens.  The last photo shows a man standing next to a
mature tree.  This tree is much taller than I've seen
anywhere in California.   

Shown is a good sized 15g plant, perfect for the garden.
Also shown are several photos of a boxed plant,
a 5g plant and a close up of the leaves.    
Note that the leaves are very large, sometimes up to
15 feet in length and very wide.  It is interesting
to compare this gigas to the Caryota urens. 
The latter is quicker growing vertically,
has a thinner trunk and shorter leaves.  C. gigas
has an enormous trunk, longer and broader
leaves, produces more shade, and doesn't get
as tall.  Make sure you plant either of these two
species a good distance from the house.  If you are a
palm enthusiast, you're going to try at least one
Caryota, and this is a very nice species to try. 
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas box Caryota gigas 5g Caryot gigas leaf
Caryota gigas Carytoa gigas Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas Caryota gigas   Caryota gigas
In habitat, donated photo, see man at bottom 

 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012

WHY IS THERE SUCH EXCITEMENT ABOUT ALL THE DIFFERENT DYPSIS?  IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS SUCH
DIVERSITY AND COLOR AMONG THE MANY SPECIES.  BELOW I'LL SHOW THREE SPECIES TO DEMONSTRATE
HOW THE COLOR IS SO APPARENT IN THESE PLANTS AND WHY SOME ENTHUSIAST CAN'T RESIST DYPSIS SPECIES.

 

DYPSIS SAINTELUCEI
WHITE CROWN SHAFT, PURPLE NEW SPEAR
This critically endangered pinnate palm is from southeastern Madagascar near its coast and is usually single trunk but is known to occasionally sucker.  Most prominent of its characteristics is the white crown shaft.  The crown shaft is slightly larger than the trunk but not bulging.  It is covered by frosty snow white wax.  The photos here of the 15g plant show this white color along with the purple colored speckling that you'll also see on juvenile plants.  Also demonstrated here is the deep purple new spear, quite a contrast to the adjacent white wax.  Trunk height on this species is thirty feet, leaves are keeled with thin leaflets and trunk diameter is six inches.  Leaf color is green to gray-green.  There are prominent rings on the trunk.

We've found Dypsis saintelucei to be a fast grower.  Feedback from customers is that it does tolerate a freeze or below and along the coast wants full sun.  Shown here is a 15g plant and some mature plants.  
Dypsis saintelucei Dypsis saintelucei
Dypsis saintelucei Dypsis saintelucei Dypsis saintelucei
Dypsis saintelucei PACSOA by Jeff White
from PACSOA by Jeff White
Dypsis saintelucei Dypsis saintelucei

 

DYPSIS PEMBANA
MEDIUM SIZED, SINGLE OR MULTI-TRUNKED, SILVER GREEN TRUNKS
This attractive medium sized Dypsis comes from the Island of Pemba off the coast of Madagascar.  It is sometimes single trunk, other times suckering.  This variability in the number of trunks is seen with quite a few Dypsis.  It gets to a height of thirty to forty feet, has silver or silver-green trunks with prominent rings, with six foot long leaves on short petioles.  The leaves are keeled in cross-section.  Growth is rapid.  In our area of Southern California, part day sun seems to work well.  Inland areas show put in strong filtered light.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F.  Shown here is a very tall, trunking 15g plant.  Also shown is a mature clump of the clustering form taken by Al Bredson, a long time friend of mine and past President of the Palm Society of Southern California

A way I recognize this species when juvenile is by the upper stem, where you see a definite speckled tan color below the newly emerging spear.  The fourth photo shows this color which is quite reliable.  The closest and often confusing similar species, similar in appearance, would be Dypsis lanceolata, but this species has more of a silver color in this same area.    
Dypsis pembana single trunk Dypsis pembana single trunk
Dypsis pembana single trunk Dypsis pembana single trunk Dypsis pembana single trunk
Dypsis pembana PACSOA Al Bredeson
by Al Bredeson, PACSOA
Dypsis pembana PACSOA Al Bredeson
by Al Bredeson, PACSOA
Dypsis pembana

 

DYPSIS PSAMMOPHILA
JUVENILE RED STEMS, LATER BLACK TRUNKS WITH WHITE CROWN SHAFTS
This is a small to medium sized, suckering palm from Eastern Madagascar.  It gets to a height of about 12 to 15 feet and the leaves are keeled.  When young, juvenile leaf stems and the base of the trunk have a prominent red color.  Later the trunks turn black or near black in color.  At the top of these dark stems are powder white crown shafts.  Shown here is a 5g plant demonstrating this prominent red color.  Other photos show the white crown shafts and dark trunks.  This is a filtered light species with cold tolerance into the upper twenties F. range.
Dypsis psammonphila Dypsis psammonphila
Dypsis psammonphila Dypsis psammonphila Dypsis psammophila by Arrowsmith at Palmpedia
by Phil Arrowsmith, PalmPedia
Dypsis psammophila Dypsis psammophila  

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012

THREE "CUTTING EDGE" NEW PALM SPECIES JUST AVAILABLE IN OUR BAND SIZE!

 

LICUALA RADULA
AKA LICUALA DASYANTHA
EXOTIC MOTTLED FAN PALM WITH SOME COLD HARDINESS
About twenty years ago when word first came out that there was a mottled leaf, understory Licuala that had some degree of cold hardiness, there was quite the buzz.  We all knew of a similar miniature species, Licuala mapu, but this latter species basically had no chance of survival outdoors in Southern California.  At that time, the only chance of getting a Licuala radula was to obtain an actual little seedling that somehow made its way out of North Viet Nam and found its way to your locality.  You could probably count on your fingers the number of plants that were available in the US at that time.  Fortunately, the natural habitat of this species spreads up into China.  From that area and in recent years, a limited amount of seeds have been produced / obtained and to a very limited extent this species is now available.  In the wild, there has been tremendous pressure on this species from a conservation point of view because it is so beautiful.

It is an understory palm that gets to a height of about three feet with multiple stems.  Leaves are about eighteen inches wide.  It's individual segments create a circular appearing leaf.  But, the most striking characteristic are the mottled leaves with tones of dark green, lime green and sometimes yellow.  Individual segments are under two inches wide and these segments are the widest at their ends.  Note that, unlike other Licuala, this species is dioecious and you must have both sexes to set viable seed.  Shown here are two year old seedlings.  Very limited numbers are available.  It is a filtered light plant and cold hardiness is probably into the mid-thirties, perhaps a bit colder.  

One last comment: the name has recently been changed from "radula" to "dasyantha", although I prefer the old name.  Our availability of these gorgeous plants will probably be quite short-lived.  . .    
Licuala radula (dasyantha) Licuala radula (dasyantha)
Licuala radula (dasyantha) Licuala radula (dasyantha) Licuala radula (dasyantha)
Licuala radula (dasyantha) Licuala radula (dasyantha) Licuala radula (dasyantha)
photo by T.S. at RPS

 

BASSELINIA VELUTINA
FIRST TIME EVER OFFERED!

This unbelievably rare palm species is native to New Caledonia where it natively grows at an elevation of up to over 5000 feet.  The name "velutina" refers to the velvet tomentum on the crown shaft.  It is a medium to large species with a single trunk that can reach heights of thirty feet.  The crown shaft bulges larger than the trunk and is covered with gray hairs.  The leaves are eight feet long, arching and keeled in cross section.  Because of rarity, little is known about its culture, although it is said to be able to withstand a freeze.  We have only several small band sized plants.  
Basselinia velutina Basselinia velutina
Basselinia velutina Basselinia velutina Basselinia velutina by Daniel & Irène Létocart (le 01/01/1970
photo from Endemia.NC by Daniel & Irène Létocart

 

ACTINOKENTIA DIVARICATA WATERMELON
We have previously talked about this thin trunked, slow growing species from New Caledonia and how it has cold hardiness well into the mid- to lower-twenties F.  In habitat, there is reportedly one small cluster of plants that have a "watermelon" crown shaft and lower crown.  You may  be familiar with the "watermelon" form of Chambeyronia.  Seeds recently became available and now you can purchase one of this variety of Actinokentia divaricata, watermelon form.  It is a filtered light plant and gets perhaps to a height of fifteen or twenty feet in a few decades.  It is being grown in colder areas such as the San Francisco Bay area and some gulf areas.  I wish to thank Tobias Spanner for his pictures showing the crown shaft "watermelon" appearance. 
Actinokentia divaricata watermelon Actinokentia divaricata watermelon
Actinokentia divariata
non-watermelon form
Actinokentia divaracata watermelon by TS at RPS
watermelon form by TS at RPS
Actinokentia divaracata watermelon by TS at RPS
watermelon form by TS at RPS

 

THE GENUS OF RAPHIA
PECULIAR PALMS WITH HUGE LEAVES
This is a very interesting yet bewildering genus of large plants with distribution from Africa, Madagascar and with one species in the Americas.  They are massive plants with one species having the longest leaves of any palm in the world.  Raphia regalis from Africa reportedly has leaves up to eighty feet long!  Most live in habitats of lower elevation, often swampy or wet.  With this said, surprisingly a few species seem to grow in Southern California.  Some species are single trunk, others suckering.  All have long upright leaves.  Leaflet edges are spiny, see photo.  I am going to make specific comments on three species here.  Heights below will probably not be reached in the average domestic garden in more temperate areas.

1.  Raphia farinifera:  Usually single trunk, sometimes suckers, from Central Africa, likes lots of water, takes sun in coastal areas, gets leaves to seventy feet with a long petiole.  Can take temperatures down to about a freeze.
2.  Raphia australis: Not from Australia, rather from Central Africa.  Lowland species.  Surprisingly, perhaps easier to grow than farinifera.  Sixty foot leaves, sometimes suckers, has interesting orange color to rachis and petiole. (see photos).  Similar growing traits.
3.  Raphia hookeri:  One of my favorites, I've never had for sale, from central western Africa, shorter leaves, usually single trunk.  Most interesting is the trunk which has Tillandsia or Spanish Moss type of fibers on its trunk.  Close up photos show this.  Once I got a hundred of the huge seeds of this species but couldn't get even one to germinate.  No growing data available.  Never been for sale.

Availability of Raphia is essentially zero.  We, on occasion, do have a few for sale. Shown are our 15g plants.
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia farinifera
Raphia australis
Raphia australis
Raphia australis
Raphia australis
Raphia hookeri
Raphia hookeri
Raphia hookeri
Raphia hookeri
Raphia hookeri
Raphia hookeri

 

ZAMIA FURFURACEA
THE CARDBOARD CYCAD

This species of cycad has this peculiar common name because of the thick, "cardboard-like" substance to the leaves.  The are thick, stiff and don't bend easily with pressure.  It is quite popular for several reasons.  First, it doesn't get very large.  The picture below with a woman standing in front of a specimen is about as large as you are ever going to see one.  A more typical height is three feet.  Secondly, it is basically unarmed.  There are no spines to deal with.  Third, it is fairly cold hardy and can take full sun if you are right along the coast.  All of these factors have made this species one of the most popular of the common cycads.  In the last photo, you can see how it does quite nicely as a patio plant. 

Native to Mexico, this cycad likes good draining soil and can tolerate temperatures into the mid to low twenties F.  Its leaves are 1.5 to 3 feet long.  There is variation in the size and shape of the leaflets.  Sometimes leaves are "coin shaped" and other times more elongated.  The seventh picture below even shows a "cupped" appearance to leaflets of a specimen we used to have.  You can see that we have plants for sale of all sizes up to boxed specimens.  In most areas, I think this species does best in part day sun.  In desert areas, shade will be needed.  Finally, Zamia furfuracea is an ideal choice for an interior house plant and has been used for decades for this purpose.  
Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea
Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea
Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea  Zamia furfuracea 
Zamia furfuracea  Zamia furfuracea  Zamia furfuracea 

 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2012

 

SABAL XTEXENSIS
SUPER COLD HARDY NATIVE HYBRID SABAL

This is a distinct Sabal that is native to the Brazoria County, Texas and is often called the "Brazoria Palm" by Texans.  It is felt to be a native cross between Sabal minor and Sabal mexicana.  Its leaves are blue green, it gets to about twenty feet in height, has a very thick trunk up to two feet in diameter, and is extremely cold hardy.  There are reports that it may tolerate temperatures below ten degrees F.  Shown her is a 5g plant.  Note the leaf color and the markings on the petiole.  The last picture is the only mature one I found and was taken by an unknown photographer.  This is not a common palm and I don't have one in my garden.  But, when I talk to cold hardy palm enthusiasts, they get quite excited about this palm   
Sabal xtensis Sabal xtexensis
Sabal Xtexensis Sabal Xtexensis Sabal xtexensis unkinown photographer
unknown photographer

 

HEDYCHIUM GARDNERIANUM
THE KAHILI GINGER
I have always had a fondness for Hedychium gingers.  Not only are they reasonably cold hardy, but they don't get too big and have the most gorgeous upright blossoms.  The last photo to the right was taken about six weeks ago when I told you about this species.  Now look at the same plant in blossom!  These blossoms last for weeks and are very nicely fragrant.  This is a filtered light species.  You can see that it hardly ever gets over six feet.  A hard freeze may knock back the foliage, but they recover nicely.  BTW, some people call this the Kahili Ginger, others call it Hawaiian Ginger.  There are different types of Hedychium, but they all have upright blossoms.  Contrast this with the dependent Shell Ginger group.  We only have a few Kahilis left. 
Hedychium gardnerianum Hedychium gardnerianum
Hedychium gardnerianum Hedychium gardnerianum Hedychium gardnerianum

 

BRAHEA NITIDA
Tree Pot Size Available
It is difficult to locate this single trunk, fan palm from Mexico.  One of the things I remember most about this species are the flat, glossy green leaves.  If grown in less than full sun, the color is very dark and the leaves have almost a tropical, flat "Licuala-look".  This species is cold hardy into the upper teens.  In most areas you can grow it in sun or filtered light.  I've even grown one if shade with just a little dappled light.  They potentially can get up to 25 to 30 feet in many decades.  They like good draining soil. I'd say rate of growth is slow.

We recently got in this tree pot size (4x4x14 inch pot) and they are available for sale.  This pot is a great size to ship because it goes in a small box at an affordable rate.  I'd say it's like a small 5g size.  The habitat photo below was taken by a friend of mine, Justen Dobbs.
Brahea nitida Brahea nitida
Brahea nitida
four plants together in a larger pot
Brahea nitida Brahea nitida
Brahea nitida Brahea nitida by Justen Dobbs
Habitat photo by Justen Dobbs
Brahea nitida

 

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

 

CARYOTA URENS
FISHTAIL PALM, TALL, FAIRLY COLD HARDY
Caryota are a genus, and all are a type of Fishtail Palm.  This species is single trunk.  It is monocarpic.  This means that, after about two decades, the plant flowers and dies.  Caryota urens makes a very tall tree and is extremely fast growing.  In Southern California it is the fastest of any palm in terms of vertical growth.  It is considered the ultimate species for forming canopy.  Its trunk matures to a height of fifty feet or more and is about 18 inches thick.  It will get taller and has a thinner trunk than the presently popular species, Caryota gigas

Shown here to the right is an exceptional 25g Caryota urens.  (we'll discuss C. gigas soon).  It is about 18 feet tall.  This species likes full sun and is cold hardy to 20 degrees F, or perhaps a bit lower. We also have nice 15g plants as shown below.  The second photo to the right shows two palms, mature, in an Encinitas garden.  Below is a series of Caryota urens planted at the Catamaran Hotel in San Diego.  These plants were fairly short lived because they were field grown and then dug.  Digging triggers the life cycle of Caryotas and threw these palms into blossom.  Unfortunately, the landscape people were unaware of this at the time they purchased and dug these trees.   The last photo is of a mature tree in Balboa Park, San Diego.

For those wishing to establish a canopy, this is one of the best species you can plant.  They are fast, have large leaves and throw good shade below.  The cold hardiness of Caryota urens is into the upper teens F.  I've found it to be the most reliable and cold hardy of all Caryota species.
Caryota urens 25g Caryota urens
Caryota urens Caryota urens 15g Caryota urens Balboa park

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2012

 

DIOON RZEDOWSKII
RARE CYCAD FROM SOUTHERN MEXICO
This medium to large cycad comes from an elevation of 2100 to 2800 ft. in mountainous regions of the Sierra de Oaxaca.  It most closely resembles Dioon spinulosum that comes from lower elevations under 1000 feet.  It is also similar to Dioon mejiae from Honduras.  It would not be difficult to confuse these three species as they are all somewhat similar appearing.  Of these three species, Dioon rzedowskii is by far the most rare.

Trunk height can reach fifteen feet.  This species usually does not branch but does recline with age.  Trunk diameter is under 16 inches.  Leaves are leathery, glossy green and about five feet long.  When emerging, they are quite tomentous (hairy) and after maturation the leaves are flat.  Leaf color is green, but not quite as shiny as Dioon spinulosum.  Leaf margins when young have quite prominent spines which are more prominent compared to spinulosum and a bit more of a yellow color than the latter (see photo #7 below).  When the plants mature, most of these spines are lost, but a few may remain (first photo, last row below).  The last photo shows a seedling that germinated in habitat. 

Along the coast here this species does best with part day sun or strong filtered light.  It can tolerate full sun but tends to be more lime green with full sun exposure.  Inland areas would demand filtered light.  Shown here is an assortment of nursery plants in various sizes.  The habitat photos of mature plants here were all donated by a friend and cycad enthusiast John Otto.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to low-twenties F.  Of note, this species has extremely large seeds.
Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii
Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii
Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii Dioon rzedowskii habitat by JO
Dioon rzedowskii habitat by JO Dioon rzedowskii habitat JO Dioon rzedowskii habitat JO
Dioon rzedowskii habitat JO Dioon rzedowskii habitat JO Dioon rzedowskii habitat JO

 

ZAMIA CUPATIENSIS
ESSENTIALLY UNKNOWN SPECIES FROM COLUMBIA
I am fortunate enough to have a few seedlings of a cycad that essentially has never been sold in the United States nor is it in any major botanical gardens.  It comes from an extremely remote location in Columbia.  Information in books and on the Internet is essentially nonexistent.  Loran Whitelock, in his reference book on cycads, gives a description of this species but admits he has never seen a mature plant.  He describes it as a distinct species and not the same as Zamia ulei which comes from Brazil.  Some would consider these two species synonymous. Whitelock describes this as a small species with a subterranean trunk that has leaves two feet in length.  Leaflets are six to eight inches long and margins are not spiny.  I have been only able to find one photograph of a larger plant taken by Dennis Stevenson.  I cannot comment on cold tolerance because of my lack of experience but would suggest greenhouse culture for now in filtered light.  I'll probably never have this species available again and only have a few.    
Zamia cupatiensis Zamia cupatiensis
Zamia cupatiensis Zamia cupatiensis by Stevenson
photo by Dennis Stevenson
 

 

CYCAS CURRANII
EXOTIC SPECIES, PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES
This tropical appearing green cycad produces a tall stem up to thirty feet or more, one to two feet in diameter. It is reported that this species attains a size and stature similar to surrounding trees in habitat.  Leaves are six to eight feet with armed, long petioles.  Leaf width is about two feet.  Leaves are flat, slightly flexing toward the fround and occasionally a bit undulating.  To the touch, the leaves are rather soft and inviting.  Seeds are quite large with raised edges on the sclerotesta (hard inner layer of the seed below the fruit).  Cycas wadei is the only other Cycas species with ridged sclerotesta but it comes from the island of Wadei and the seeds are much smaller.  This makes an attractive landscape specimen cycad. 

I have been growing this species for about ten years and found that it does quite well in Southern California.  I have a few gorgeous 15g plants for sale.  They would prefer part day sun or strong filtered light.  Cold tolerance appears to be into the mid-twenties F.  
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii Cycas curranii
Cycas curranii Cycas curranii PACSOA by George Yao
From PACSOA by George Yao
Cycas curranii PACSOA by George Yao
From PACSOA by George Yao

 

ZAMIA PORTORICENSIS
This is a dwarf cycad from Puerto Rico that has very small caudexes, rarely over four inches, with sort leaves, typically under 3 feet.  They cluster freely.  The leaves are green and either flat or with a minimal amount of keeling.  Compared to similar Zamia species, these are unique in that the leaflets are longer and have minimal or no spines. They can tolerate coastal sun but require sun protection far inland.  Cold tolerance is thought to be in the mid-twenties F.  (little cold tolerance data).  This is a good cycad where there is very limited space available.  It can be grown as a patio potted cycad.
Zamia portoricensis Zamia portoricensis
Zamia portoricensis Zamia portoricensis Zamia portoricensis
Zamia portoricensis    

 

TRACHYCARPUS FORTUNEI
THE CHINESE WINDMILL PALM
 
This species, sometimes referred to as just the "Windmill Palm", is from China and one of the most cold hardy of all palm species.  There are enthusiasts from areas such as Ohio and parts of New York that are keeping them alive outdoors during the winter.  It is a single trunk palm with a furry trunk.  In time, this trunk's mat and hair will fall off to produce a cleaner trunk.  The crown is small, especially in hot intense sun.  It stretches out in strong filtered light or part day sun.  But, too much shade may kill this species.  It's leaves are about three feet across.  Leaf shape in nearly circular with divided segments.  Trunk height depends on the age of the tree.  This species is usually under twenty feet tall, but very old specimens (see below) can reach heights of over 30 feet.  Shown here are several good sized boxed plants and a 5g plant.  Most of our mail order customers prefer the 5g size for shipping.  Leaf stems are minimally armed with very small barbs.  Overall, it is quite a user-friendly species and is great for smaller gardens.  We do sell all sizes of this very easy-to-grow species.  
Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei 
Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei 
Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei 
Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei  Trachycarpus fortunei 

 

CHAMAEDOREA RADICALIS
TRUNKING AND DWARF FORM
This attractive species of Chamaedorea comes in two distinct forms.  One is a dwarf form; the other trunks and the plant gets to a height of eight to ten feet.  The dwarf form reaches a height of three, sometimes four feet.  This is a single trunk Chamaedorea that is quite remarkable for several reasons.  First, it takes up very little space and fits nicely into small areas of the floor of the garden.  Second, it is one of the most cold hardy of the Chamaedorea group, taking temperatures into the upper teens.  Third, it can tolerate some sun; it doesn't demand full shade.  Another cool thing are the blossoms.  Female blossoms reach above the leaves, are orange in color and develop large black seeds.  They are easy to pollinate and, if you plant a small colony of males and females, are almost certain to get viable seeds.  Shown here is a 5g plant.  We have a pretty good supply of both this form.

The trunking form gets up to about 8 feet of height. In previous years, this was hard to find.  Its trunk is thin.  Leaves of the trunking form look a little bit different and are thinner and longer.  Shown below are two photos of the trunking form.   
Chamaedorea radicalis, 5g Chamaedorea radicalis 5g
Chamaedorea radicalis leaf Chamaedorea radicalis trunk Chamaedorea radicalis garden
CHAMAEDOREA RADICALIS TRUNKING CHAMAEDOREA RADICALIS  

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2012

 

ARCHONTOPHOENIX "TERACARPA"
THE BEST KING PALM EVER!
AVAILABLE NOW!

First of all, for all you budding palm taxonomists, I should mention that the name above is a fictitious common name.  We came up with this name because the derivation of "tera" is "monster" and "carpa" refers to body.  And, this perfectly describes the palm I'm discussing here this morning.

In my own garden in San Diego, I have one Archontophoenix palm that is distinctly different from another others I have grown.  I do not recall the original seed source for this palm and didn't appreciate it until it displayed its amazing traits.  Here are some of its characteristics:

1.  It is much taller than Archontophoenix cunninghamiana.  It towers overhead adjacent King Palms.
2.  It has an extremely thick trunk diameter, 2 to 3 times thicker than the average King Palm.
3.  Impressively, there is a  LACK OF BROWN TIPPING TO THE LEAVES in full sun.  In my garden, other King species in full sun have brown tipped leaflets.
4.  It has a large and elongated yellow-blue crown shaft, different than another other Archontophoenix I've grown.
5.  It produces larger seeds than regular King Palms but smaller than A. purpurea.  They are red in color.
6.  There is a slight silver color to the back of the leaves.  7.  In full sun, the leaves are DARKER GREEN in color than regular King Palms.
8.  It has an extremely fast growth rate

We have long considered this to be am Archontophoenix maxima.  I've mentioned this ad this Blog.  But, it's not identical to A. maxima we've grown at our nursery from reliable seed sources in Australia.

So, we simply call it Archonotophoenix "teracarpa".  We have 2 and 5g sizes available.  I'm showing a 5g double plant here.  Photos of the large tree here are of the actual tree in my garden that has produced the "teracarpa" seeds.  At present, I'd estimate its height at forty to fifty feet.  If you like King Palms, you can't do better than this one.        
Archontophoenix "teracarpa"

Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Archontophoenix "teracarpa"

Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Archontophoenix "teracarpa" Archontophoenix "teracarpa" Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Note that it towers over adjacent other  King Palms,
darker green in color, no brown tipping or yellowing
Archontophoenix "teracarpa" Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Archontophoenix "teracarpa"
Archontophoenix "teracarpa"

 

TREE FERNS AVAILABLE
ASSORTED SIZES, SPECIES
Our nursery does not specialize in ferns.  But, for some reason, we have accumulated a nice selection of good sized Tree Ferns in 15g and 25 gallon size.  Some of these have up to four feet of trunk.  These include Cyathea cooperi. and other species.  My favorite has always been the Brentwood Tree Fern.  It has no known native habitat.  I've used it in my garden and now have trunks about forty feet tall.  Check out the pictures below of this variety.  We'll have this variety available soon, limited numbers.

Tree ferns, in general, are considered water-loving, filtered light plants.  But, some species can tolerate full coastal sun.  Some species tolerate temperatures well into the twenties F. and there's lots of tree ferns growing up  in northern California.  Remember, many species come from cool areas of New Zealand and southern Australia.  Blended in with palms and other tropicals, I think they look great and give a nice effect.  Their only downside is the "itchy" fibers from the leaves that fall when you clean off dead leaves.  But, overall, they are woth it because of their very cool appearance.    
Tree Fern Tree Fern
Tree Fern Tree Fern Tree Fern
Tree Fern Tree Fern Tree Fern
Tree Fern Tree Fern
Brentwood Tree Fern in foreground near Howea
Tree Fern Wikipedia photo
photo by Wikipedia Website

 

HYOPHORBE VERSCHAFELTII
THE SPINDLE PALM
SHORT PALM WITH SWOLLEN TRUNK
The genus of Hyophorbe comes from the Mascarene Islands.  From a collector's point of view, there are only three species available.  None are tall.  All are exotic and bizarre appearing.
1.  H. lagenicaulis, the Bottle Palm.  Swollen at the base of the trunk.  NOT cold hardy.
2.  H. verschafeltii, middle of trunk swollen, somewhat cold hardy
3.  H. indica, most cold hardy of the group, taller than the previous two palms, irregular trunk but not bulged.

Hyophorbe verschafeltii has more of a yellow color to the petioles and leaf veins.  You can see this in the photos here.  The Bottle Palm demonstrates more red colors.  Cold hardiness is down to about a freeze.  Some plants have taken colder than this in Southern California.  In So Cal, usually the Bottle Palms die with our winter weather.  For this reason, the Spindle Palm is a better choice. 

Hyophorbe verschafeltii loves heat and sun.  It will get up to a height of about fifteen feet in 30 years.  It can show winter stress on the leaves.  Shown here are a 5g and 15g plant.  Note on the mature plant how the bulge is in the middle of the trunk, thus giving it the name of "Spindle" Palm.  If your garden doesn't freeze and you have a warm, sunny spot, this palm is for you.
Hyophorbe verschafeltii Hyophorbe verschafeltii
Hyophorbe verschafeltii Hyophorbe verschafeltii Hyophorbe verschafeltii
Hyophorbe verschafeltii Hyophorbe verschafeltii Hyophorbe verschafeltii

 

JUBAEA CHILENSIS
MATURE SPECIMEN AVAILABLE
Only rarely would I ever talk about a mature, in the ground palm specimen.  But, this one is sort of special and rarely seen available.  I have an acquaintance who wishes to sell this specimen Jubaea chilensis.  It has about twenty feet of trunk and is a gorgeous plant as you can see. For those of you who are not familiar with this species, it is the thickest trunked palm species on the planet.  To get a tree of this size takes about four decades of growth.  As a palm nurseryman, I see or hear about a tree like this ever few years.  And, unless you happen to be a crane operator, you'd need a contractor to assist you in digging, transporting and planting this specimen tree.  Please contact me if you or someone you know might be interested.  Although it's not inexpensive, I think you could purchase it for about half the going retail market price.
Jubaea chilensis mature Jubaea chilensis mature








Jubaea chilensis mature Jubaea chilensis mature Jubaea chilensis mature
Jubaea chilensis mature Jubaea chilensis mature  

 

HOWEA FORSTERIANA
KENTIA PALMS, LARGE SPECIMENS
Our nursery normally carries and sells plant material that people can lift.  This is usually plants up to 24 inch, sometimes 30 inch boxes.  Our largest plants may need lift gates to get plants onto a truck, but people can manage and plant them.  With this said, I want to remind readers that I work closely with several associates who specialize in large, crane sized plants. This includes dozens of palm species.  If you are looking for larger material, let me know.  With 37 years under my belt, I know a lot of sources and can probably find anything you want.  Shown here are some large Kentia Palms.  Howea forsteriana will get, over two to three decades, about thirty feet of trunk.  An associate of mine has some for sale with over twenty feet of trunk as shown.  And, he can deliver and plant them in many instances.   This includes both field grown and container grown plants.  The last four photos show Kentias from our nursery.  With strong helpers, these can easily be planted into the garden.  
Howea forsteriana large specimen Howea forsteriana large specimen
Howea forsteriana large specimen Howea forsteriana large specimen Howea forsteriana large specimen
Howea forsteriana large specimen Howea forsteriana large specimen Howea forsteriana large specimen

 

LIVISTONA CHINENSIS
CHINESE FAN PALM
This single trunk fan palm is native to Southern Japan and Taiwan.  It is typically seen as a palm under twenty feet, but after many decades can get up to 30 or 40 feet tall with a trunk that is 12 to 18 inches thick.  It's crown is green and full with leaves that are about six feet across.  In shade the petioles stretch out and the leaves are larger and flatter.  In shade condition, it is fairly exotic appearing.  It is a very slow grower and it is not unusual for this species to take ten years to form any sort of trunk. This species is cold hardy into the upper teens F.  We have for sale typically 5g, 15g and boxed sized plants.  Some of our boxes are quite large, as shown.  In most area, this species tolerates full sun.  But, as mentioned, it can grow in strong filtered light.  It is also known to be used a an interior palm.  BTW, it is the most cold hardy of any species within the genus of Livistona.  It can take temperature into the upper teens F. easily.  
Livistona chinensis 15g Livistona chinensis 15g
Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis 
Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis 
 

 

 

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2012

 

CHAMAEDOREA METALLICA
DWARF SHADE PALM WITH METALLIC SHEEN
This cute and attractive miniature palm is native to southern Mexico where it is near extinction because of over collecting.  It is single trunk, has a crown shaft, has complete or simple leaves and usually only gets to a height of three to four feet.  I have seen taller specimens, but this is rare.  It gets its name from the fact that there is a metallic or silver-like sheen to the leaves.  It is a shiny leaf as compared to species that have silver but are dull in appearance.  The leaves are less than a foot long and have short petioles.  Leaves are smaller than Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti and larger than C. tenella.  Leaves such as those seen with this species are sometimes described as 'simple", "solid", "complete", or "bifed with apical points".  The leaf texture and surface are somewhat wavy, giving it lighter and darker areas.  This adds to the attractiveness of the species.

There is a pinnate form of this species that you'll see from time to time.  One will see these in habitat.  My suspicion is that there are genes in this species acquired long ago that were from hybrids with another pinnate species and occasionally appear presently as a leaf with multiple leaflets.  Chamaedorea metallica is cold hardy into the mid-twenties F. and is a shade palm.  A little bit of sun is tolerated, but too much will burn the leaves and make them unsightly.  Shown here are some new 1.5 gallon plants we just got in.  Many like to plant this species in small colonies with several plants together.  This is advantageous as plants age so you don't end up with a taller trunk with this small head of leaves.  C. metallica is also a perfect house plant for someone who wants a counter top plant that doesn't get too big.  
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica
Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica Chamaedorea metallica

 

UNKNOWN DIOON SPECIES
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE SOMETHING DIFFERENT

I have one or two plants that are a Dioon but I cannot give them a definite species names.  Nurseryman who specialize in cycads and receive seeds to propagate will tell you that sometimes you get a batch of seeds that just don't key out as to a particular species.  This is such a plant.  It is not a Dioon edule because of the spiny leaflets.  It is a flat leaf and is somewhat similar to the Dioon stevensonii that I showed you last week.  But, it is different because of the shape of the leaflets and lack of downward orientation.  The new leaves are not colored but they has some tomentum.  The caudex is somewhat furry.  I cannot show you a mature plant as I don't know for sure what this is. 

This plant is in a 5g pot.  I might have several of these.  It's for a collector that wants to supplement his Dioon collection.  If anyone reading here knows for sure what this is, please contact me.  Maybe, over time and with further taxonomic work, there will be names for all these "undescribed" or "unknown" species of new world cycads.  My prediction is that this will be a full sun cycad and substantially cold hardy. 

Dioon species Dioon species
Dioon species Dioon species Dioon species

 

SABAL PALMETTO
THE PALMETTO PALM
This medium to large fan palm is native to the United States and an assortment of Caribbean islands including Cuba.  It's native habitat extends as far north as North Carolina.  It is amazingly salt tolerant.  In Florida you can see it right up into the coastal dunes.  I've seen plants just a few feet from the bay at Tampa Bay and thriving.  It is green in color and has a trunk that is of variable heights, ranging from ten feet to up to eighty feet.  I once had an order for "tall" Palmettos and thought they only get up to a height of about twenty feet.  On inquiring from a broker in Florida, I quickly came to find that specimens are available (dug from locality) with heights of well over fifty feet.  You'd think that perhaps this species could be threatened by digging.  I'd invite you to just pick a locality in Florida and drive around.   There are so many Palmettos near the water that you couldn't begin to count them all.

This is a durable, hardy palm with obvious salt tolerance.  I've also seen palms growing in the sand around ocean beach goers.  It's cold hardiness is into the mid teens F. and it prefers full sun for optimal growth.  However, it does tolerate partial shade.  Also, it can tolerate desert conditions if given adequate water.  Trunks have a "criss-cross" pattern of attached leaf bases.  Later the palm sheds these to show a fairly smooth appearing trunk.  With my comments above, you'd think there are lots of these available in CA.  This is not the case; they are hard to find.  Shown are some 5g plants, domestic and native mature plants and an interesting divided head specimen.

Finally, for those of you displaced from South Carolina, you can bring a little of your state to your present location by growing this palm.  Sabal palmetto is your state tree.  We can ship one right to your displaced location. 
Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto
Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto
Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto
Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto
Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto
Sabal palmetto Sabal palmetto double head by JS
photo by JS
Sabal palmetto Jacksonville Zoo Website
photo from Jacksonville Zoo Website

 

ENCEPHALARTOS BUBALINUS
RARE CYCAD FROM NORTHERN TANZANIA
Many of you have perhaps never heard of this medium sized green cycad that grows at an elevation of 4000 feet in the rocky hills of Tanzania in Eastern Africa, bordered by Kenya to the north and Mozambique to the south. It is a green cycad with leaves about four to five feet long.  It's trunk gets to six feet tall with a width of approximately 18 inches.  On cultivated plants, I've noted that sometimes the color is a gray-green.  Leaflets of juvenile plants are cupped.  Mature leaflets are narrow as shown. This species can be grown in sun along the coast.  It needs good soil drainage.  Cold tolerance is probably in the mid twenties, perhaps down to about 22 degrees.  Shown here is an assortment of nursery plants and a mature specimen. . 
Encephalartos bubalinus Encephalartos bubalinus
Encephalartos bubalinus Encephalartos bubalinus Encephalartos bubalinus
Encephalartos bubalinus Encephalartos bubalinus
 

 

ROYSTONEA BORINQUENA
A MORE COLD HARDY ROYAL PALM?
It seems that almost everyone loves the Royal Palm.  This is a group of New World pinnate palms with tall trunks, swollen bases, and long green crown shafts.  The problem is that some people are in areas that get too cold.  After our Southern California freeze in 2007, I received many reports that Roystonea borinquena did better with the cold than other species of Royal Palms.  I certainly don't want to suggest that this species is good for people who routinely see temperatures into the low 20's.  But, if you live in an area where once in a while you get into the mid-twenties, this might be a better species to try.  It might give you a degree or two more cold hardiness.. 

It is native to Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and a few surrounding Caribbean Islands.  Overall height is up to fifty feet, trunk diameter is 18 inches with a long prominent emerald green crown shaft, leaf length up to fifteen feet.  The base is not as swollen as the Cuban Royal, R. regia.  Growth rate is moderate.  It likes full sun.  It withstood the 2007 freeze where it saw temperatures of 24 degrees.  I think the reader should assume that any mid-twenties temperatures will most likely damage a Royal Palm.  In time, we'll know for sure if this species is better with cold.  We try to have this species available in various sizes.  Shown is a 15g plant.  Note that on none of the photos here of large plants is the trunk base massively swollen.
Roystonea borinquena Roystonea borinquena
Roystonea borinquena Roystonea borinquena Roystonea borinquena
Roystonea borinquena Roystonea borinquena Roystonea borinquena

 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012

 

TRITHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
BLUE, SUCKERING FAN PALM
I talked about this species recently, but wanted to mention it again because it is so rare to see plants like this available.  We have super blue 5g and 15g plants presently.  These take hot, blazing sun, will live in the desert, are cold hardy into the mid-teens F., and can be grown in humid areas like TX or FL.  Shown here are both of the sizes we have available. 
Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris
Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris

 

RHAPIS EXCELSA
THE LADY PALM  -  PERFECT HOUSE PLANT
CONTINUED SPECIAL: 3G PLANTS, 3-4 FEET TALL,  INTERIOR QUALITY
This slow growing, tropical fan palm has no definite natural habitat home that is known.  It is felt to be from China or Taiwan, but no native stands are known to exist.  It is a wonderful garden or patio plant and does excellent in interior environments.  Variegated varieties are very sought after and command quite high prices.  Typical heights are eight to ten feet with some clones much shorter and a few even taller.  Leaves are about eighteen inches across.  The number of leaflets is variable, but typically five to eight.  Some clones have only three or four wide leaflets.

Surprisingly, this species is very cold hardy.  Specimens have been known to tolerate temperatures even into the upper teens.  But, it is not a sun plant; filtered light or a little early AM or late day sun is much preferable.  It is fairly insect resistant.  The plants you see here are about six to seven years old.  Their height is about three feet, some taller. These plants are interior quality, nice enough to put in a bank lobby.  They are full plants with lots of canes and are ready to be repotted into larger containers.  .

Blog Special: 
Regular Price $95
Sale Price $65
Special expires in ten days
These can be easily shipped right to your door.
Rhapis excelsa Rhapis excelsa
Rhapis excelsa Rhapis excelsa Rhapis excelsa
Rhapis excelsa Rhapis excelsa  

 

BASSELINIA GLABRATA
AKA ALLOSCHMIDTIA GLABRATA
THIN TRUNK UNDERSTORY PALM
It's always a bit difficult when a species that one has been growing for three decades is suddenly given another new name by a taxonomist.  Imagine that a word you use in speaking suddenly means something different. Such is the case with this species when Hodel renamed Alloschmidtia a few years ago.  It is from new Caledonia and is a single trunk, crown-shafted, pinnate palm.  Like Actinokentia, is is remarkably thin in trunk size (never over six inches) but does get to a height of forty feet in habitat.  Most plants are much shorter and that's what we're seeing in domestic gardens.  The crown shaft is a nice olive green and bulges to a fatter diameter than the trunk.  Leaves are about six feet long.

This is a rare palm species from mountainous areas of northeastern New Caledonia.   Twenty years ago it was impossible to obtain a plant for your garden.  Presently, we have a variety of sizes for sale.  Shown here are 5g and 15g plants.  One picture is from habitat and the others are from Southern California gardens.  It is a filtered light palm,  perhaps tolerating early AM or late PM sun.  Cold tolerance appears to be into the mid-twenties F.  Probably the most interesting thing about this species is the long, somewhat peculiar appearing crown shaft as shown in two photos below. 

Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata
Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata
Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata
Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata Basselinia glabrata

 

ENCEPHALARTOS KISAMBO
This Central African cycad makes a large plant.  It has very upward pointing leaves, especially on new throws, and is green in color.  It is moderately armed with spines.  The older leaves will hang downwards.  It needs some room in the garden.  Along the coast it will take full or part day sun.  Far inland areas require some sun protection.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to low 20's F.  It is a fast growing cycad.
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo    

 

ENCEPHALARTOS SPECIES
CENTRAL AFRICA
Cycad enthusiasts love unknown species. This species is obviously from Central Africa.  I say this because of the light colored caudex that is furry and white.  Also, note that the new leaves and stems are extremely hairy and fuzzy.  There is an assortment of species that are either un-named or recently named from this part of Africa.  This plant will probably be a good sized plant, reasonably cold hardy at least into the mid-twenties, and fast growing.  I would recommend part day sun for this interesting cycad.  And, yes, those leaves are so fun to touch when emerging.  They are as soft as almost anything in the plant world.
Encephalartos species Encephalartos species
Encephalartos species Encephalartos species Encephalartos species
Encephalartos species Encephalartos species  

 

DYPSIS LEPTOCHEILOS
THE TEDDY BEAR PALM
I feel this species should be in the Top Ten List of desirable palms for Southern California.  It is a good grower, is not overly large, has an attractive silver-blue trunk that is topped off with a rusty brown crown shaft that feels like velvet.  What else could you want? 

This species comes from Madagascar, gets to about 25 feet height and has a rather thin trunk of six inches typically.  If the trunk doesn't get any direct sun, it will maintain this color throughout its life.  With sun, it will develop a brown tan color.  So, you might consider planting the species where it will pierce the canopy but maintain shade on its trunk.  Along the coast Dypsis leptocheilos can be grown in full sun, all day long.  If you live far inland, I'd give it part day sun.  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's F.  At our nursery in 2007, 25 degrees did not burn this species. 

Shown here is an assortment of sizes from 1g plants up to 25g.  Sizes available changes over time, but we try to always have this species in stock.  No palm garden is complete without a Teddy Bear.   
 Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos
Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos
Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2012

 

ROYSTONEA REGIA
LARGER OUTDOOR GROWN PLANTS
I've heard from customers that it's fairly difficult right now to find Royal Palms outdoor grown of any size.  Below is an assortment of 15g through 25g and on up to 30 inch boxed sized specimen, all of which have been grown outdoors.  They are used to sun and ready to be put into the ground.  We of course have our greenhouse grown stock that will eventually go outdoors, but these plants have been outdoors for years.  25g and larger are showing two feet of brown trunk or more (four feet or more by the traditional ground to emerging leaf definition).  But, there are limited numbers.  So, if you want a Royal Palm for the garden, don't wait too long or these might be gone.  Last photos are specimen plants.   This is a sun species with cold tolerance down to about 25 degrees, like the King Palm. 
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
roystonea regia roystonea regia Roystonea regia box 
Roystonea regia  Roystonea regia
Southern CA R. regia 
Roystonea regia
So Cal, R. regia on left 


 

BEAUCARNIA RECURVATA
THE PONY TAIL PALM OR ELEPHANT FOOT PALM
NICE 5G PLANTS NOW AVAILABLE
This is another example of a succulent plant that is called a "palm" but is not a palm at all.  It comes from Mexico and, in many decades, can get up to about 30 feet or more with a twelve foot wide base.  It can put up many trunks from the main basilar, swollen trunk, given it five or more leaf heads.  Or, one can cut any given trunk and it can divide into multiple trunks.  The base of the trunk is what gives it popularity.  It's like a swollen onion, bulbous in shape.  The leaflets are thin and green in color.  They protrude upwards and then curve back down toward the ground.  The surface of the trunk is like elephant skin.  Growth rate is medium.  We now have some 5g plants that are quite nice and can be shipped anywhere within the U.S.  These are shown here along with some older plants.  Cold tolerance is into the teens and it prefers full, not sun.  It can be grown indoors in a bright window area.  The last photo shows a very old specimen at Fairchild Tropical Garden in Florida.  I've seen photos of a specimen in habitat where a Jeep is parked on top of the swollen base. 
beaucarnea recurvata  beaucarnea recurvata 
beaucarnea recurvata beaucarnea recurvata beaucarnea recurvata
beaucarnea recurvata  beaucarnea recurvata  Beaucarnia recurvata Floridata Website 


SCHEFFLERA PUECKLERI
AKA TUPIDANTHUS CALYPTRATUS
Sometimes I like to mention plants that are quite familiar to many readers, but may be unusual to others.  The Schefflera or Tupidanthus is such a plant.   This is a very fast growing, green tropical plant from India and Burma.  Each leaf is on a long petiole and is composed of six to ten wide, prominently veined leaflets.  They are glossy green in color.  This plant, in the garden, can get to over 30 feet tall.  It also makes a wonderful patio plant and can be grown inside the home.  In our area, it tolerates full sun but may need protection from sun far inland.  It tolerates temperatures into the mid-twenties F.  Shown here are some 5g plants demonstrating this species appearance.  The 5g plants shown here are chunky, multi-stemmed plants.  They can be shipped easily.  Of note, flowers are red in color and there are dwarf forms of Schefflera. This is a fast growing tree but size can be maintained smaller through pruning.
Tupedanthus  SCHEFFLERA PUECKLERI 
SCHEFFLERA PUECKLERI  SCHEFFLERA PUECKLERI  SCHEFFLERA PUECKLERI 

 

COCCOTHRINAX, THE  GENUS
THIN TRUNKED, DESIRABLE FAN PALMS

Every morning that I have time to write on this blog, I try to think of something that would be fun for readers to see.  Someone emailed me encouraging that I write about unusual fan palms.  So, I thought "why not talk about the entire genus of Coccothrinax".  This morning I will synopsize this genus and show a whole array of photographs of nursery plants and mature species.

Coccothrinax are thin trunked, small to medium sized fan palms from Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and perhaps into Central America.  They vary in height from five to ten feet up to forty feet or more.  Trunk sizes are usually thin with six inches being common.  This species has inter-species hybridization that is poorly worked out.  So, the taxonomists vary on the number of species in this group.  It is somewhere between fifteen and forty.  Leaf color varies from green to silver, often with the underside being silver.  Some trunks show great woven patterns of fibers while others are hairy.  Almost all species are solitary palms.  They are monoecious and have small, typically black fruited seeds.  Most trunks become clean wood over many years.  Almost all like sun and heat.  Some species may even take inland desert sun.  Many are cold hardy into the mid twenties F. 

Coccothrinax are very rare to find in nurseries.  Because of my interest in them, we always have an assortment for sale.  Nurserymen hate growing these because they are so slow in containers.  But, there's a secret about this.  Just get them into the ground and they are medium growers.  You can have a nice tree in a matter of five to ten years.  Shown here is an assortment of containerized plants, one gallon to fifteen gallon sizes.  Also shown are an assortment of many mature species.  The nice thing about Coccothrinax is that they are not big, all are interesting appearing and pretty, and nothing else in the palm world is quite like them.  This genus is one that we are the nursery highly recommend.  They'll add diversity to your garden.
Coccothrinax barbadensis
Coccothrinax barbadensis
Coccothrinax miraguama var havanensis                  
Coccothrinax miraguama v. havanensis









 Coccothrinax argentea leaf below
 Coccothrinax argentea leaf

     
Coccothrinax dussiana
Coccothrinax dussiana
Coccothrinax argentea
Coccothrinax argentea 
Coccothrinax alta
Coccothrinax alta 
Coccothrinax readii
Coccothrinax readii 
Coccothrinax miraguama var roseocarpa
Coccothrinax miraguamar v. roseocapa 
Coccothrinax miraguamar v. roseocapa
 Coccothrinax miraguamar v. roseocapa
Coccothrinax crinita
Coccothrinax crinita 
Coccothrinax crinita trunk
Coccothrinax crinita trunk 
Coccothrinax miraguama
Coccothrinax miraguama 
Coccothrinax barbadensis
Coccothrinax barbadensis 
Coccothrinax agentea
Coccothrinax argentea 
Coccothrinax species SElby
Coccothrinax species Selby Gardens 
Coccothrinax miraguama
Coccothrinax miraguama 
Coccothrinax proctorii leaf
Coccothrinax proctorii leaf 
Coccothrinax spissa
Coccothrinax spissa 
Coccothrinax scoparia
Coccothrinax scoparia 
Coccothrinax radiata
Coccothrinax radiata 
Coccothrinax proctorii
Coccothrinax protcorii 
Coccothrinax argentea
Coccothrinax argentea /span>
Coccothrinax litoralis
Coccothrinax litoralis 
Coccothrinax leaf
Coccothrinax leaf 
Coccothrinax spissa, swollen trunk
Coccothrinax spissa, cigar trunk 
Coccothrinax inaguensis
Coccothrinax inaguensis 
Coccothrinax barbadensis
Coccothrinax barbadensis 

 

COCCOTHRINAX ARGENTATA
THE SILVER PALM
SILVER COLORED MEDIUM SIZED FAN PALM
Having just read above about Coccothrinax as a genus above, I thought that I'd show you a nice 15g size of Coccothrinax argnetata.  This species is native to Florida and some Caribbean Islands.  The dorsal surface of the leaves is silver-green, the underside is prominently silver. The trunk is thin, about six inches, and overall height is typically under twenty feet.  The most prominent feature is the silver sheen as you look up into the leaf crown.  It is similar appearing to Coccothrinax argentea, but more silver and shorter.  It is slow growing and extremely difficult to find.  It likes sun and is cold tolerant into the mid, perhaps low 20's F.  
Coccothrinax argentata  Coccothrinax argentata 
Coccothrinax argentata  Coccothrinax argentata  Coccothrinax argentata 
Coccothrinax argentata  Coccothrinax argentata  Coccothrinax argentata 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2012

 

BUTIA CAPITATA BLUE VARIETY
FOR THE FIRST TIME, AVAILABLE IN THREE DIFFERENT SIZES

When we first introduced this brilliantly blue variety of Butia capitata about six months ago, many people in other areas of the country were disappointed to hear that it was only available in large 25 gallon plants which were near impossible to ship without usage of an independent trucker.  Well, we're proud to presently offer two more sizes:  5 gallon and 15 gallon.  Both of these sizes are shown below and easily shipped.  Please remember that, when we ship to any of the fifty states in the US, 98% of the time we ship plants in their containers, soil and all.  This prevents the bare root shock and loss of up to a year's worth of growth.   We can do this because we are a totally certified nursery.  But, remember that the 15g sized plants are much heavier and therefore more costly to ship.  For this reason, most people select the 5g size.  My supplies are limited, so don't dally if you want one of the 5g plants.  I ship within 24 hours of your phone call.  All sizes are very blue and good sized for their container.

These plants are cold hardy to 15 degrees F. and want full hot sun.  The more intense the sun and heat, the more blue they get!
Butia capitata blue
5 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
5 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
5 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
15 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
15 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
15 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
25 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
25 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
25 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
25 gallon size
Butia capitata blue
25 gallon size

 

SCHIZILOBIUM PARAHYBA
BRAZILIAN FIRE TREE, THE FERN TREE
This extremely fast growing tree is probably the most sought-after of the tropical trees at our nursery.  Its native habitat stretches from Central America into South America.  It can get well over forty feet tall with a typical trunk diameter of 18 inches or less.  People are impressed that it can put on over ten feet of vertical height a year.  It is also known for the fact that it creates a very light canopy shade, ideal for growing understory species.  However, it is decidious and will drop its leaves during the coldest part of winter.  Leaflets flush out rapidly about six weeks later.  It has bipinnate leaves and matched pairs of small leaflets as shown.  Because of this leaf structure, it only produces about 50% to 25% shade.  Its blossoms are yellow.  The trunk is smooth and somewhat "snakeskin" appearing.  If you are trying to produce quick canopy, a few of these will assist you rapidly.

Shown here is the 5g size, the only size we have available at this time.  I am hoping to get in some 15g plants and will keep you informed.  In any case, presently is the first time in over a year that we've had this species available.  The mature specimens shown here are Internet photos with credits as given.  By the way, it is known as the "Fern Tree" because it looks like a maiden hair fern in the sky above you.
Schizilobium parahyba Schizilobium parahyba
Schizilobium parahyba Schizilobium parahyba Schizilobium parahyba
Schizilobium parahyba Schizilobium by biogeodb.stri.si.edu
photo by biogeodb.stri.si.edu
Schizilobium at Flickr unknown author
Schizilobium at Flickr unknown author

 

ENCEPHALARTOS HORRIDUS
A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT INDIVIDUAL PLANT
When you grow a lot of cycads as we do at our nursery, you come across individual plants that are unique to themselves.  The plant shown here is such a cycad.  It is a magnificently beautiful cycad with well-armed blue leaves.  Caudex size is eight to nine inches in diameter and has about 9 inches of vertical height..  But, when you look at the plant, it just looks different than what you expect with this species.  I've tried to show  in the photos the "back flipped" lobes that, to me, qualify it as a horridus.  The leaf stems are powerful and thick, the leaves are very long and mildly curved, and the leaflets are wide and long.  It has been an aggressive grower and seems to tower in size and vigor over it's horridus brethren.  There remains always the possibility that it is some king of hybrid, perhaps with trispinosus.  In any case, it's one gorgous cycad.  It is available for sale, but there's only one like this.  It's in a 15g container and can be shipped.  It wants full sun in most areas and is cold hardy to about 22 degrees F.  
Encephalartos horridus different Encephalartos horridus different
Encephalartos horridus different Encephalartos horridus different Encephalartos horridus different
Encephalartos horridus different Encephalartos horridus different  

 

ATTRACTIVE MEDIUM TO LARGE CYCADS
AN ASSORTMENT OF SPECIES
I thought this morning I would quickly show you some cycads from around our nursery.  I've selected an assortment of plants
with some blue Encephalartos.  I'll make a few brief comments about the species shown.  But, this is more of a visual presentation
than an informational one.  I hope you enjoy some of these plants.  I just shot the photos in the past two days.  If you're just a palm
person, be patient.  More palm species will be coming in the next few days.
 

 

DIOON MEJIAE
This is an attractive Central American Dioon species with distribution from Southern Mexico into Honduras.  New leaves emerge upwards and, at the time of being thrown, are unbelievably soft and wooly.  Mature leaflets tend to have no or minimal spines.  Oppose this to Dioon spinulosum which is much more spiny.  Color is green, overall height typically under ten feet.  Filtered light usually required or perhaps part sun along the coast.  Cold tolerance low 20's F.
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae  
DIOON MEROLAE
This Mexican species of cycad is very slow growing with one hundred year old trunks just being four to five feet of height.  The crowns of leaves are gray-green, trunks are about a foot or less in diameter and leaves are three to four feet long.  This is a compact cycad.  New leaves emerge upwards and will lay down over time.  They like full sun along the coast, part sun inland.  Cold tolerance is into the low twenties f.  A 15g plant is shown here.
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae
Dioon merolae Dioon merolae  
ENCEPHALARTOS ARENARIUS BLUE
I don't know for sure if this is the coveted true 'blue form" of Encephalartos arenarius from South Africa.  It may well be.  I imported quite a few of these several decades ago and this might be one of them with years of subsequent growth.  They are an arenarius but share qualities of E. horridus with blue color and leaf shape.  This is a sun plant with cold hardiness of approximately 22 degrees F.  Inland desert areas and desert locations would require part day or filtered light. 
Encephalartos arenarius blue Encephalartos arenarius blue
Encephalartos arenarius blue Encephalartos arenarius blue Encephalartos arenarius blue
ENCEPHALARTOS EUGENE-MARAISII
This sought after species of South African cycad comes from the northern Transvaal area.  It is similar in appearance to E. middleburgensis.  It's leaflets tend to be upright with a strongly keeled leaf.  Color ranges from green to blue.  It is a sun loving species except for far inland areas.  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's F. 
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
ENCEPHALARTOS MIDDLEBURGENSIS
This is another sought-after Transvaal South African species that has color range from green to blue.  This specimen is a blue-green.  It also has upright leaves.  It is a sun species with similar cold tolerance as eugene-maraisii.  Both this and the last species are always difficult to find in nurseries.  But, they are just gorgeous as they get larger in the garden. 
Encephalartos middleburgensis Encephalartos middleburgensis
Encephalartos middleburgensis Encephalartos middleburgensis  
ENCEPHALARTOS HORRIDUS
This blue species of cycad is from the Natal district of South Africa.  It is a small to at most medium sized plant.  A very old plant will have a twelve inch trunk. Three feet of trunk is the maximum.  The color is blue and the leaflets are extremely spiny, probably one of the most spiny of all cycads.  They want full sun in coatal areas but need protection from full sun in the desert.  Cold tolerance is the low twenties F.  Interestingly, this is the most popular species among new enthusiasts.
Encephalartos horridus Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus Encephalartos horridus Encephalartos horridus
ENCEPHALARTOS KISAMBO
This Central African cycad makes a large plant.  It has very upward pointing leaves, especially on new throws, and is green in color.  It is moderately armed with sines.  The older leaves will hang downwards.  It needs some room in the garden.  Along the coast it will take full or part day sun.  Far inland areas require some sun protection.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to low 20's F.  It is a fast growing cycad.
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo    
ENCEPHALARTOS SPECIES
CENTRAL AFRICA
Cycad enthusiasts love unknown species. This species is obviously from Central Africa.  I say this because of the light colored caudex that is furry and white.  Also, note that the new leaves and stems are extremely hairy and fuzzy.  There is an assortment of species that are either un-named or recently named from this part of Africa.  This plant will probably be a good sized plant, reasonably cold hardy at least into the mid-twenties, and fast growing.  I would recommend part day sun for this interesting cycad.  And, yes, those leaves are so fun to touch when emerging.  They are as soft as almost anything in the plant world.
Encephalartos species Encephalartos species
Encephalartos species Encephalartos species Encephalartos species
Encephalartos species Encephalartos species  
ENCEPHALARTOS MANIKENSIS
 This is another Central African cycad.  It makes a large plants and is very fast growing.  It has eight foot leaves.  With several sets of leaves, it is quite full and requires a good amount of room in the garden.  This boxed specimen is well on it's way.  It's a sun species along the coast.  All Central African species could use some sun protection in super hot inland areas.  cold tolerance should be into the low 20's F. 
Encephalartos manikensis Encephalartos manikensis
Encephalartos manikensis     
ENCEPHALARTOS PRINCEPS
This is a South African cycad species that is similar to Encephalartos lehmanii.  Except, with princeps, the distal leaflets are rotated on their axis to face the center of the plant.  They don't just lay down flat like the lehmanii.  Leaves are often keeled.  The color is quite blue.  The first four photos of one plant are to show the orientation of the leaflets.  The last photo is of another plant outdoors in sun.  With outdoor sun, this species becomes intensely blue.  It's a full sun plant for coastal areas.  Cold hardiness is pretty good, down to at least 22 degrees F.    
Encephalartos princeps  Encephalartos princeps 
Encephalartos princeps  Encephalartos princeps  Encephalartos princeps 

 

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

Finally, I would like to mention that some people call this the
Alexander Palm. This is totally confusing as there is another palm, Archontophoenix alexandrae, which is called the same.  I'd consider this a terrible common name for this species as it just confuses the customer.  No real palm enthusiasts call it by this name.  If a nursery calls it this, figure they don't know better.  Perhaps, historically, some palm importer couldn't tell the difference between the two species and therefore gave it this name. 
Ptychosperma elegans Ptychosperma elegans
Ptychosperma elegans Ptychosperma elegans Ptychosperma schefferi leaflets

 

CERATOZAMIA HILDAE
A VERY COLD HARDY DWARF CYCAD

I've discussed this species before, but today I wanted to make three main points about this interesting and small cycad.  First, it is probably one of the most cold hardy of all the Ceratozamia.  It has been known to tolerate temperatures down to 17 degrees F.  The second point is that it is small in size and will fit almost anywhere in the garden.  Native to Mexico, this species prefers filtered light in most areas but can tolerate near full sun along the coast.  Its leaves never get over four to five feet and the maximal caudex size is no bigger than a cantaloupe.  It likes good draining soil and not to be overwatered.  It is also an ideal patio plant. 

Customers often see a particular leaf form and say "I want that type".  Well, it's not as easy as you'd think.  Seedling plants may not totally predict what the mature plant will look like.  If you look at all these plants, you'll notice variation in the leaves and leaflets.  Typically you see grouping of the leaflets.  But, there are forms that only have single, simple leaflets attached with little grouping.  This is the third point I wish to make: there is variation in the appearance of this species.  Some have fat leaflets, others thin.  Some have six leaflets per grouping, others just two.  Some leaflets are long and thin, others short and compact.  But, they are all charming and quite cute.  We can easily ship one of them right to your door.   Just give us a call.
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae
Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae Ceratozamia hildae

 

BRACHYCHITON RUPESTRIS
PHOTOS OF 5G SIZED SPECIMENS
Described Yesterday

Immediately below this post I talked about this species yesterday.  So, when I got to the nursery, I took a few photos of the 5g size. 
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris  

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2012

 

BRACHYCHITON RUPESTRIS
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.  A fellow who ran this nursery, Bill Seaborne (now deceased) convinced me to try a few of this interesting species.  I planted them and within about five to ten years found they have the most peculiar, large and swollen trunks.  The leaflets are quite fine; but the trunk is massive.  It has a green snake skin type of texture and is a fast growing tree.   I have a few 15g trees and some 5g plants for sale.  The 15g 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.  
Brachychiton rupestris Brachychiton rupestris
Brachychiton rupestris by
photo by anbg.gov website
Brachychiton rupestris by Adelaide Zoo, Australia website
 by Adelaide Zoo website, Australia
 


ZAMIA LEAF APPEARANCE

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

Zamia cremnophila leaves
Zamia cremnophila leaves

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

 

TRITHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
I talked about this species recently, but wanted to mention it again because it is so rare to see plants like this available.  We have super blue 5g and 15g plants presently.  These take hot, blazing sun, will live in the desert, are cold hardy into the mid-teens F., and can be grown in humid areas like TX or FL.  Shown here are both of the sizes we have available. 
Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris
Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris Trithrinax campestris

 

CERATOZAMIA SPECIES
A CYCAD WITH AN EXOTIC APPEARANCE
Shown here is a large Ceratozamia species in a 15g pot with about six foot leaves.  There are quite a few Ceratozamia plants which don't kew out nicely into a definite taxonomic spcies.  This is one of those plants.  It has a caudex size of nine inches and an overall crown width of eight feet.  Lots of people love this genus because they are exotic and tropical appearing.  We have a great assortment of these for sale from large to small. 

Here are a few general comments about Ceratozamia:

Along the coast, most like filtered light
Leaflets vary from thin to wide
Leaves are sometimes dependent, hanging downward
Petioles are armed with small spines
Cones have spines of them
Caudexes never get very large, rarely over two feet
Sometimes newly emerging leaves are red or brown
Cold tolerance on many is down to the lower 20's F.
They are typically not fast growing

With these characteristics, sometimes this is the perfect cycad to put under overhead canopy to make the garden floor appear more lush and exotic.  Over time, I'll show more interesting plants of this genus.  
 
.
Ceratozamia species 15g Ceratozamia species 15g
Ceratozamia species 15g Ceratozamia species 15g  

 

SANSEVIERIA HALLII
From time to time, I like to show other types of plants, many of which fall into the "Companion Plant" category.  Sansevieria, related to Agave, are such a plant.  They are known for natural variegation with banding/striping of their leaves.  Leaves tend to be upright, have mottled colors or stripes, and have a preference for sun.  Sometimes the leaves are flexible and bend.  Other times they are thick and robust.  Sansevieria do not form trunks.  Sansevieria hallii get to about 2 feet tall, like good draining soil, prefer full sun and tolerate a freeze.  Shown here is this species with its thick, green and silver leaves.  This is an unusual appearing species that most people haven't seen.  If well received, we might start carrying more Sansevieria of rare types.  This is a special order plant but can be obtained quickly from one of my suppliers.  The last photo is a blossom of this same plant.  I've been informed that, although rarely, they do blossom.
Sansevieria halliiSansevieria hallii
Sansevieria hallii Sanseveria blossom
   




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