Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

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

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2012
     

DYPSIS CABADAE
A SPECIES WITH NO KNOWN NATIVE HOME
This is a suckering palm species felt probably to be from Madagascar.  But, in recent times, no plants have been found in the wild in Madagascar.  Specimens were originally found in Cuba where, by report, it was named after a well known medical doctor.  It is felt that this doctor traveled to Madagascar and collected seeds many decades ago.  It is now in botanical gardens and collections worldwide.  John Dransfield, in his book, The Palms of Madagascar, describes this species, but not from collected material from the wild.  This species is taller than many other Dypsis, up to about 30 feet, suckering,  with trunks of six inch diameter or larger.  If you check out the pictures of mature plants here, you can appreciate its size.  Trunks are silver green with light colored rings.   The crown shaft is silver and leaf length is about 10 feet.

Shown here are the 5g and 15g size.  On smaller nursery plants, I've noticed a dark color to the base of the petiole and the upper trunk.  Cold hardiness is into the upper twenties F.  It can tolerate sun along the coast but needs protection inland.  My thanks to those with photos of mature plants shown here.  
 
Dypsis cabadae Dypsis cabadae
Dypsis cabadae Dypsis cabadae Dypsis cabadae 
Dypsis cabadae R. Kyburz
Photo by R. Kyburz, PACSOA 
Dypsis cabadae T. Spanner RPS
by T. Spanner RPS 
Dypsis cabadae U of F, PACSOA
by U of F, PACSOA
 

BUTIA BONETTI
THE MOST COLD HARDY BUTIA? 
For people in colder areas of the country, there is always a search for the most cold hardy palm species.  You'll often hear that Butia bonetti is the most cold hardy of all the Butia.  It has been said that it will go down to 9 degrees F.  But, what exactly is this "species". 

Opinion now is that it is a smaller, shorter variety of Butia capitata.  Some feel it is just a cultivar of the Pindo Palm. This is because the flower parts are similar to the capitata.    It is felt to be native to Brazil.  It gets to about ten feet of height, making it a rather short palm and definitely smaller than the Pindo..  Leaf color is silver-green.  The fruit is edible.  It is also very difficult to find, even in palm specialty nurseries.  It is very slow growing.  We are lucky presently to offer a limited number of extremely large 15g Butia bonetti as shown here.  The mature photo is by Dennis Valdez from a specimen in the San Joaquin Valley in California.  If you need a super cold hardy small pinnate palm, this one might be perfect for you.  These can be shipped anywhere within the U.S.        
Butia bonetti  Butia bonetti 
Butia bonetti  Butia bonetti  Butia bonetti
by Dennis Valdez, No Cal Palm Soc 


RAVENEA RIVULARIS
THE MAJESTY PALM  
About twenty-five years ago, I was one of the first nurserymen in the U.S. to grow this species.  There was talk at the time that this would be "the palm of the future".  This did not evolve except that it has been mass produced in large numbers and sold through many wholesale nurseries.  But, inherent problems kept it from being the most sought after species.  First, it needs lots of nutrition (fertilizer).  If it is not fed and watered regularly, it becomes yellow and can even turn white.  (see photo below).  Also, it likes a lot of water.  Finally, it is super fast growing and needs a fair amount of space.  This species can get to heights of 50 feet with trunk bases as big as a Royal Palm (30 inches). 

Because of these short comings, in more recent times depot stores are trying to market this species with three plants in one pot and sell it as a "house plant".  Unfortunately, it doesn't do great inside the home.  It's ok, but there are much better interior palms.  So, popularity has backed off and many stores no longer carry Ravenea rivularis. 

But, it does have its attributes.  It is quick and, when treated well, can make a nice specimen plant as shown. in the photos below.  The photo with the woman at the base was taken from my garden in 1985.  It now has over thirty feet of trunk today. That's my wife standing next to the trunk in the photo.  Some of the photos below are from habitat in Madagascar.  You can tell which ones. Cold hardiness is into the lower twenties F. and along the coast this species can take full sun.  Far inland areas must give some protection from full sun. 
Ravenea rivularis Ravenea rivularis
Ravenea rivularis Ravenea rivularis
Photo by MR
Ravenea rivularis
photo by MR












Ravenea rivularis
Nutritionally challenged plant, unknown photographer
Ravenea rivularis
In my garden, about 1985, with my wife
Ravenea rivularis
Ravenea rivularis Ravenea rivularis ravenea rivularis

 

RAVENEA XEROPHILA
A SILVER, DROUGHT-TOLERANT SPECIES
This endangered species of arid palm comes from Southern Madagascar in the "Spiny Forest" part of the country, where it grows at high elevation among the likes of cactus and other xerophytic species.  It prefers hot sun and can tolerate drought.  Natural habitat is from 1000 to 2500 feet, the trunk height is fifteen to twenty five feet with a diameter of one foot, and the trunk is covered with old leaf bases.  The leaves are rather short, up to six feet, curved downward and gray or gray-green in color.  A surprising characteristic of this species is found by anyone who has germinated seeds.  On germination, a huge radicle is produced.  It resembles a cycad more than a palm.  It is like a huge carrot attached to the seed.  This root and subsequent roots are good size and very long, showing how this species adaptation to search for deep water in its natural habitat.  I am suspicious that these roots may also retain water for emergency purposes.  This species does tolerate drought but responds to watering.  It is extremely slow growing.

Shown to the right and below are containerized plants of
Ravenea xerophila.  Citrus pot plants take us about five years to produce. The larger plants below took eight years.  I'm showing a juvenile plant the garden of a friend of mine, Jeff Searle.  The final habitat photo is from Tobias Spanner at Rare Palm Seeds.  Everyone who grows this species comments that 1) it is very slow and 2) it is typically blue, or a blue-green in color.   I apologize, but there are so few pictures of mature plants of this species available, so I hope you enjoy those that I can provide to you.
Ravenea xerophila Ravenea xerophila
Ravenea xerophila Ravenea xerophila Ravenea xerophila with Jeff Searle
R. xerophila with Jeff Searle, photo by J. Searle
of Searle Brothers Nursery in FL
Ravenea xerophila by Tobias Spanner RPS
R. xerophila by Tobias Spanner RPS
   



TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2012 

ZAMIA SPARTEA
A DWARF THIN LEAF CYCAD
This species of Mexican cycad is quite unusual to see available because it has been neglected for so long because enthusiasts sought out the more broad leaf Zamia species.  Zamia spartea has extremely thin leaflets.  The leaf stems are mildly armed with small spines.  This is a dwarf cycad.  It lives in grassy areas and is difficult to spot in habitat becauseeit is camouflaged by the adjacent grass. It gets a cuadex about four inches in size with leavesinches in size with leaves that are two, perhaps a maximum of three feet long.  In the ground and in cultivation, it will hold perhaps five leaves or more.  It cones at an age of about five to six years after germination.  Shown here are some citrus pot and coning sized plants.  These are about ten years old.  Note the female cone shown in one photo.  Cold tolerance of this species is into the twenties F.  Along the coast it can tolerate a fair amount of sun.  Inland areas would require sun protection. 

We have citrus pot and band sizes available.   /span>
Zamia spartea Zamia spartea
Zamia spartea Zamia spartea Zamia spartea
Zamia spartea Zamia spartea Zamia spartea


A FEW INTERESTING PALM TREES
READY FOR LANDSCAPE SIZES
I thought I would quickly show an assortment of nice, landscape-ready palms of various sorts.  I'm not commenting on the individual species, rather just showing some nursery plants.  We literally have thousands of such palms for sale.   
Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia 
Dypsis decryi
Dypsis decaryi 
Parajubaea torallyi
Parajubaea torallyi
Ravenea sanbiranensis
Ravenea sanbiranensis
Dypsis leptocheilos
Dypsis leptocheilos 
Butia capitata blue
Butia capitata blue 
Chamaedorea hooperiana
Chamaedorea hooperiana
pritchardia species box
Pritchardia species 
Kentiopsis oliviformis
Kentiopsis oliviformis 

Chamaedorea brachypoda 
Chambeyronia macrocarpa
Chambeyronia macrocarpa 
Caryota gigas
Caryota gigas  

Caryota urens 

Howea forsteriana

TWO NICE BLUE CYCADS
ENCEPHALARTOS LEHMANII & TRISPINOSUS
It's always fun to show photos of nicely colored blue cycads.  Two days ago I took these photos of two sun grown, blue Encephalartos at the nursery.  If you enjoy blue cycads, then you should like these.  The first is Encephalartos lehmanii.  Its leaflets are not as armed as the second species shown, Encephalartos trispinosus.  Both have an average crown size of four feet diameter at maturity with trunk heights under three feet.  Both like full hot sun and have cold tolerances down to about 22 degrees.  With caudex protection, they can go lower than this.  Also, these species can be grown in a xerophytic garden with minimal watering.  The plants to the right are named so you can see the difference between the two.  You'll note the that trispinosus is forming a sucker, as seen in the last photo.  Caudex sizes on both are about 7 to 8 inches. Planted out, these two cycads should cone in the next few years.   I'd consider these two nursery plant as medium to large plants.  We have seedlings, juvenile plants, others like these and then some mature, huge coning sized plants for sale.  All can easily be shipped, but only within the United States.  If there are any species of cycads you seek, email me.  We are growing bout 150 species.
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos lehmanii
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinos
Encephalartos trispinosus
Encephalartos trispinos
   


IDEAS FOR A TROPICAL PATIO
ENCINITAS, CA
This past summer I toured the garden of a friend of mine.  It's about a twelve year old garden located in Encinitas, Ca, about a quarter mile from the ocean..  Recently his son took it upon himself to create a beautiful interior breezeway type of patio.  This patio utilized space between two parts of the house.  They installed overhead skylights.  It opens into a lush tropical garden outside.  I thought you'd enjoy seeing the results.  Many of the plants utilized came from our nursery.  The size is about twelve by twenty feet.  With the entry door open, a gentle breeze flowed through the patio.  Peak height of the structure was estimated at twelve feet.  No additional heat has ever been given and one end of the patio is open to the garden year round.  The last two photos show what the patio looks out to.  With the sofa and chair, what a great place to have coffee with friends or a early evening dinner.  For privacy reasons I am not mentioning the garden's owner. 
tropical patio tropical patio
tropical patio tropical patio tropical patio
tropical patio tropical patio tropical patio

 

GROWING CYCADS IN THE HOUSE?
YES, IT CAN BE DONE
On a similar theme, I thought I'd show you two photographs sent to me by a long time customer.  He lives on the East Coast of the U.S.  He is an avid cycad enthusiast but lives in an area where they cannot be grown outdoors because of cold.  He had constructed the illustrated solarium to the right.  It receives standard house heating and no special humidity.  There are overhead skylights.  As you can see, his plants are flourishing.  Many of his plants have been growing like this, inside the house, for over a decade.  His experience is proof that, with a little thought and preparation, even people in colder areas can have a vast array of cycads.
Interior Cycads Interior Cycads


MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2012

PRITCHARDIA SPECIES
A NICE 25G SPECIMEN
I have been growing this 25g Pritchardia for about 12 years.  Long ago the label was lost.  It is somewhat difficult to accurately know a Pritchardia species name when they are not mature.  In fact, sometimes it's even difficult with large specimen plants.  Also, the names of Pritchardia have undergone quite a few changes lately.  By report, Don Hodel is writing a new book on this genus. 

In any case, this is a nice, sun-grown plant that is about eight feet tall.  It has a wide, rather flat green leaf with some tomentum on the petiole and stem.  I have shown both sides of the leaf here and you can see it is basically green.  Pritchardia are all un-armed and medium sized trees.  Mature, some are only eight to ten feet tall. There are species that get over thirty feet tall.  Most are from Hawaii and have cold tolerances into the upper to mid-twenties F.  Species not native to HI (i.e. from the South Pacific) do not do well in Southern California.  Along our coast, most will take sun or part sun.  Inland areas require strong filtered light or AM sun only.  I cannot show a mature plant of this species as I don't know for sure what it is.  But, I'm showing a nice Pritchardia martii below as well as several other large nursery plants.  We have all sizes of Pritchardia available.
Pritchardia species 25g Pritchardia species 25g
Pritchardia species 25g Pritchardia species 25g Pritchardia species 25g
Pritchardia species 25g Pritchardia martii
Pritchardia martii
Pritchardia

ARCHONTOPHOENIX MYOLENSIS
MYOLA KING PALM
This species of Archontophoenix is named after an area in Queensland, Australia, where it lives natively.  I find the most prominent characteristic of this species is the clean, usually emerald green crown shaft.  It is quite striking up close.  It is comparable in size to the standard King palm and is also quite cold hardy, well into the mid-twenties F.  It, because of its size, will emerge into the sun which it tolerates along the coast.  Far inland areas may see brown tipping in full sun, like with all the other Kings.  Anticipate a height of 35 to 40 feet.  In habitat, they get over 50 feet.  Growth rate is fast. 
Shown to the right is a 24 inch box.  I've shown a few other plants with a close up of the clean, green crown shaft.  The last picture, by Tobias Spanner, shows a nice specimen.  I think it's more tropical appearing overall compared to the standard King palm.  And, I think it is prettier as well.  We have many sizes for sale.
Archontophoenix myolensis large plant Archontophoenix myolensis
Archontophoenix myolensis Archontophoenix myolensis Arcontophoenix myolensis
Archontophoenix myolensis Arcontophoenix myolensis Archontophoenix myolensis Tobias Spanner RPS
A. myolensis by T. Spanner, RPS

 

LIVISTONA MARIAE
This is a tall, single trunk fan palm from the northern regions of Australia.  It typically has a domestic trunk height of forty, perhaps fifty feet but in habitat specimens are known to exist with trunk heights of eighty feet.  Trunk diameter is one foot, crown width is fifteen feet and trunks often retain fibrous matted material which later falls to the ground.  Leaves are six feet in diameter with divided segments.  Petioles are long and armed with spines.  Growth rate is excellent.  This is a full sun species and cold tolerance is into the mid, perhaps lower 20's F.

This species is often confused with or referred to as
Livistona rigida, although the latter is now considered to be a separate species with stiffer leaves, less flexing of the segments.  Livistona mariae can show some red color to the leaves when a juvenile plant.  Shown here is our 5g size of Livistona mariae which we now have available.  They are outdoor grown in the sun.  Also shown are some mature garden specimens.  On these pictures not the thin, tall trunk, the long petioles and the open crown of leaves.  As these are all older plants, no leaf base debris is seen on the trunks.  The last photo shows the red color of a juvinile plant of Livistona rigidaLivistona marie is also known to produce this color.
Livistona marie Livistona mariae
Livistona mariae Livistona mariae Livistona mariae
Livistona mariae Livistona mariae Livistona rigida


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

DIOON CAPUTOI
Dioon caputoi 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

 

DYPSIS "BASILONGA"
I used the quotation marks around "basilonga" because there is still some confusion about this species.  The seeds that gave us the plants shown here came in as "basilonga".  But, there is controversy over whether this is the real thing or not.  I have no photos of a mature plant.  I have Googled for photos and have had minimal results with different mature plants presented as this species. Be aware this species is referred to as "basilonga" and "basilongus".  According to J. Dransfield's reference on Madagascar palms, "basilonga" is correct.  

From descriptions I've read, this will be a single trunk, medium sized, pinnate and crown shafted palm.  The leaflets are narrow and their underside is somewhat silver.  The more proximal leaflets are wider than the distal leaflets.  Shown here is a one gallon and two gallon plant.  No mature specimen photos are available.  Sorry.


Dypsis basilongus Dypsis basilonga
Dypsis basilonga Dypsis basilonga Dypsis basilonga

 

DIOON ANGUSTIFOLIUM
AKA DION EDULE VAR ANGUSTIFOLIUM

The main characteristic of this species and the Latin derivation for "angusti" is "thin".  It is known mostly by the fact that it has very thin leaflets.  Some would give it species status while others (most) consider it to be a variety of Dioon edule.  This Mexican species has stems that are typically under three feet in height, although taller specimens exist in habitat.  Leaves are three to four feet long and leaflets are a quarter inch in width.  It prefers full, hot sun and is cold tolerant into the upper teens.  Such temperatures may burn the leaves but often the plant survives.  It is an attractive species because it is not overly large, doesn't get tall or big, and will hold many leaves, all with a large number of the almost needle like leaflets.

You'll note on the first photograph to the right how the leaves are almost transparent because of the thin leaflets.  It's as if you can "see through them".  Many find this very desirable.  Several photographs below demonstrate the very thin leaflets.  This species will sucker freely at the base as seen below.  Leaf color is green, sometimes with blue or silver tones. 
.      
Dioon angustifolium Dioon angustifolium
Dioon angustifolium Dioon angustifolium Dioon angustifolium
Dioon angustifolium Dioon angustifolium Dioon angustifolium

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2012

 

CERATOZAMIA SPECIES
FEMALE PLANT IN CONE
The plant shown here is in a 20g container and has a female cone.  Female cones tend to look like pinapples whereas the male cones are longer and thinner, more like a corn cob.  Note the prongs on the cone, typical of a Ceratozamia.  I can't be positive of the species of this plant, but closest would be Ceratozamia mexicana. 

I am showing this cycad because it is pretty typical of a lot of the Ceratozamia.  They are lush appearing, have leaves that in general spread outwards and not up (there are exceptions) and have a tropical green color.  Most prefer filtered light and are cold hardy into the lower teens F.  The are a wonderful species for the garden floor, below towering plants overhead.  We have a great selection of Ceratozamia for sale in all sizes.
Ceratozamia species female Ceratozamia species female
Ceratozamia species female    


DIOON EDULE
COLD HARDY, INTENSE SUN TOLERANT, SEVERAL TYPES/VARIETIES AVAILABLE
Cycad enthusiast tend to really like Dioons.  This genus is quite diversified with a variety of appearances of the various species.  Dioon edule is a species from Mexico.  As a group, they are very tough plants.  They take blazing hot sun, tolerate heat and are probably one of the most cold hardy of all cycads.  They tolerate temperatures into the upper teens F.  Within this species, one will find plants that are different appearing but still would be called an edule.  These "varieties" are all a bit different.  They are often referred to by their locality of origin with such terms as 'rio verde", "rio pescado", "tomalipas" or other such habitat names.  And, all are a bit different.

Shown here are an assortment of cycads from this species; All would called a Dioon edule.  But, simple observation shows the differences between them.  The first species (3 photos) has long green leaves.  The second plant (pictures 4 through 7) is a blue species.  The rest are an assortment of older plants.  Please note the variety in appearance of these plants.  All of these make smaller mature plants.  None get over about six feet tall in many years.  Crown width on all is not that great, maximum six feet.  Growth rate is slow.  All love sun and heat.  If you live in the desert in such places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, you may find that Dioon edule is the only species of cycad that will take your sun.

We have a nice assortment of Dioon edule in all sizes.  Everyone has a place in the garden for one.
Dioon edule Dioon edule
Dioon edule Dioon edule blue Dioon edule blue
Dioon edule blue Dioon edule blue Dioon edule
Dioon edule Dioon edule blue Dioon edule



DYPSIS LEPTOCHEILOS
THE TEDDY BEAR PALM

Most people would put this species on their "top ten" list of favorite palms for Southern California.  It is native to Madagascar, is single trunk, has a gorgeous rusty red crown shaft (thus the common name) and only gets to a height of about 25 feet.  Along the coast it tolerates full sun but prefers part day sun inland.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F.  Its growth rate is about average.  The trunk is an interesting silver color with prominent dark rings.  Shown here is a 25 gallon, locally grown specimen.  We also have available 15g plants (shown below) as well as 5g. 

The last photo is a specimen grown in Southern California.   

Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos
Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos
Dypsis leptocheilos Dypsis leptocheilos

KENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
A RARE CROWN SHAFTED PALM FROM NEW CALEDONIA
New Caledonia is such a treasure trove for great palm species for enthusiasts.  This species is no exception.  It is single trunk, medium sized up to about 25 feet, clean, self-pruning, crown shafted and has silver green leaves when grown in full sun.  Its trunk is thin to medium sized, typically about 8 inches.  The crown width is about like a King Palm.  On the coast it tolerates full sun; inland partial sun or strong filtered light.  It is more cold hardy than the King Palm with low tolerance about 24 degrees.  Growth rate is medium.  Shown here is a 25 gallon plant and several garden specimens from around Southern California.  The tall specimen below is being grown in the Clairmont community of San Diego and is about 25 feet tall.  We have available a very limited number of this species.
kentiopsis oliviformis kentiopsis oliviformis
kentiopsis oliviformis KENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS KENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS
KENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS KENTIOPSIS OLIVIFORMIS


PHILODENDRON CANNIFOLIUM
AKA PHILODENDRON MARTIANUM
Good news for those of you who missed out on this impressive and rare understory plant, Philodendron cannifolium.  Just yesterday we got in a limited number of huge 3g plants.  These can be easily shipped anywhere within the U.S.  They get long leaves, three to four feet long.  These leaves are wide, thick and very fleshy.  Specimens are impressive.  They tend to be more of a rosette type of Philodendron as opposed to a climbing species.  The ones we have presently available are bigger than the first photo but can be shipped in a box.  This species likes filtered light and is an easy grow in Southern California.  I don't know of another So Cal retail nursery that is offering this species presently.  If you like this species, get one before they are gone.  On Monday I'll have photos available of the new plants for those interested. 
Philodendron cannifolium Philodendron cannifolium
Philodendron cannifolium    
     

MAIL ORDER COUPONS AVAILABLE
For those interested in mail ordering plants, just contact me by email and I'll send back a discount coupon for mail orders.
phil@junglemusic.net
 


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2012

 

CYCASS THOUARSII
AN INTERESTING TRIPLE HEADED PLANT
There is a difference between a suckering cycad and a "branching" cycad.  With "branching", the division of the trunk occurs above the ground.  It usually happens to the primary or original stem.  This is usually felt to be an interesting and desirable thing.  Oppose this to a plant that merely produces lots of offspring near the base. These are called "suckers" or "offsets".  The plant shown here, for whatever reasons, branched above the ground and is showing three separate heads of leaves.  Over time this plant will have three vertical trunks, each with their own set of leaves.

This species is from Madagascar and is a green leafed plant.  It can get rather tall, well over ten feet with leaves about 6 to 8 feet long.  I've seen very old specimens that have gotten very large.  The leaves are soft and the petioles have small armor.  Growth rate is fast.  Cold hardiness is into the mid-twenties, perhaps lower.  On the coast, this species tolerates full sun.  Far inland areas would definitely put this plant in filtered light or part day sun.
Cycas thouarsii triple head Cycas thouarsii triple head
Cycas thouarsii triple head Cycas thouarsii triple head Cycas thouarsii triple head
Cycas thouarsii
A different 5g plant, one trunk
Cycas thouarsii Cycas thouarsii

CRYOSOPHILA STAURACANTHA
SINGLE TRUNK FAN PALM WITH SILVER BACKS:  THE STAR PALM
Cryosophila is a genus of single trunk fan palms from Mexico, Central America and northern South America.  All have a prominent silver color to the backs of their leaflets.  The first two photos to the right show this trait nicely.  They are also known to have spines on the trunks.  These "spines" are not the thin sharp spines one might imagine.  Rather, they are thicker, not as pointed and near the base of the trunk. 

Cryosophila stauracantha can get a thin trunk over 20 feet tall, trunk diameter 4 to 6 inches.  At the base of the trunk spines can form roots.  The leaves are plentiful and circular in shape.  The photo in the third row by Tobias Spanner shows a nice plant of this species that has some trunk.  The other mature specimens are of other Cryosophila.  Cold hardiness is into the mid-twenties F.  This species can tolerate full sun along the coast but demands protection from cold and sun inland.    
cryosophyla staurontha cryosophyla staurontha
cryosophyla staurontha Cryosophylla warcewiczii
Cryosohyla warscewiczii by Tim Brian
Cryosophyla species
Cryosophyla species
Cryosophila stauracantha Tobias Spanner
photo by Tobias Spanner
Cryosophila species
Cryosophila species
 

 

CALOCASIA ESCULENTA VARIETY BLACK MAGIC
AN EXOTIC BLACK COMPANION PLANT 
I consider "companion plants" to be plants that are used to adorn and beautify the garden but are not major landscape statements.  These are smaller plants that are placed here and there, some in sun and others in shade, that add color and interest to your plantings.  Bromeliads, Orchids, Philodendron, Alocasia and many other plants are used for this purpose.  Black Magic plants are a type of Elephant Ear Plant.

This companion plant is unique because of its color.  Leaves are black, purple or sometimes green with these colors.  This depends upon sun exposure and age of the leaf.  New leaves emerge an interesting green color and then turn black.  The underside of the leaves is silver as shown.  Height is about four feet.  They do like ample water and good drainage.  Cold tolerance is down to about a freeze and winter may result in unsightly leaves.  But, when things warm up, they usually come back to their beautiful appearance.  Very mild areas can grow these in full sun, but I've found they do best with part day sun.  Without any sun, you won't get the nice black leaves.  We have for sale some very nic 5g plants as shown here.  I'm showing here a few nice Internet photos with credits given below the photos.
Calocasia Black Magic  Calocasia Black Magic 
Calocasia Black Magic  Calocasia Black Magic  Calocasia Black Magic by httpmembers.iinet.net.au~meckmsColocasias.html
Calocasia Black Magic by httpmembers.iinet.net.au~
meckmsColocasias.html
Calocasia Black Magic by Wayside Gardens
Calocasia Black Magic by Wayside Gardens 
httpgardening.savvy-cafe.comcooking-with-containers-container-friendly-plant-combination-recipes-2008-05-22
Photo by http://gardening.savvy-cafe.com/cooking-
with-containers

 
 

VEITHCIA MERRILLII
(ADONIDIA MERRILLII)
THE CHRISTMAS PALM

This is a favorite among palm enthusiasts.  It is not overly large, has nice recurved leaves, is clean appearing and has a nice crown shaft.  The problem is that this species does poorly in Southern California.  There are other species of Veitchia that do better.  It has been renamed as Adonidia.  Most people still know it by its former name. Shown is a 9 foot tall 7g plant, available on request.  Also shown is a pair of beautifully grown plants in a garden in a more tropical locality than here in Southern California.  

This is a popular interior palm.  It does reasonably well inside the home.  I am amazed at the number of people who visit Hawaii and then call me on their return looking for this species.  This is not a species I recommend growing outdoors here in Southern California.  Even with this said, I guarantee you that a dozen people will call me in the next month or so requesting this species.  Usually I'm able to talk them out of it.  For now, consider it an interior plant only in So Cal.     
Veitchia merrillii Veitchia merrillii
Adonidia Adoidia Adonidia

 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2012

 

CERATOZAMIA SPECIES
AN INTERESTING PLANT WITH A TOUCH OF COLOR
As I have mentioned before, the genus of cycads known as Ceratozamia is often quite perplexing.  I say this because, historically, a smaller than anticipated number of species have been described.  Yet, observation of merely the plants we have in our nursery far surpasses the number of described species.  One asks himself, "So, what is this species in front of me" and you key it out and get no answer from the books.  Fortunately, in recent times things are getting better on this front and more species are being described by taxonomists.

But, there are still some mysteries.  There are still some plants where I am not quite sure what to call them.  So, they become more "Ceratozamia species".  The one shown here is such a plant.  It is a very old plant that I've probably had well over thirty years.  The caudex is quite enormous for a containerized plant; it's about 18 inches or so.  It has coned and is a male.  There is an interesting red color to the petiole as shown.  And, the leaves are long, the leaflets are cupped and the leaflet edges are an orange-bronze color. Leaflets are over twelve inches long and medium width.  I'm showing this plant just because it's very attractive and unusual.  It would want filtered light and has already seen freezes.  I'd estimate its cold hardiness into the low 20's F. 
Ceratozamia species, large red trim Ceratozamia species large with red trim  
Ceratozamia species large with red trim Ceratozamia species large with red trim Ceratozamia species large with red trim  
Ceratozamia species large with red trim Ceratozamia species large with red trim Ceratozamia species large with red trim  
Ceratozamia species large with red trim Ceratozamia species large with red trim    

PHILODENDRON GREEN CONGO
A CLIMBING GREEN SPECIES
From time to time I talk about companion plants.  Shown here is a good growing, shade loving species of Philodendron that could be used to climb up a palm trunk, attach to a fence or occupy a vacant ground area.  I am showing this plant to demonstrate how it forms trunks with aerial roots.  It's these roots that the plant uses to attach to another tree's trunk.  We also sell the red variety of this plant.  It tolerates a freeze and needs a protected, under the canopy environment. As I am typing this Blog, I am looking out my window into the garden where I see a variety of Philodendron climbing my palm trunks.  Some of these have gone up well over twenty feet.  It's very cool.   
Philodendron green congo Philodendron green congo
Philodendron green congo Philodendron green congo Philodendron green congo

 

PHILODENDRON RED CONGO
This is another very desirable Philodendron that likes filtered light and is quite showy.  They are only intermittently available on the market. It is similar to the green species above except for its color.  We presently have some 2g plants for sale.  They are easy to grow and take temperatures down to about a freeze.  The plants definitely have a red color to the underside of the leaves and stems.  Shown are the 2g size we have available and larger plants to show its beauty. This species can be grown as a stand alone plant or placed next to a tree trunk where it will slowly climb the trunk.  It is not as an aggressive climber as the green form above. 
 
philodendron red congo philodendron red congo
Red congo Red congo  

 

ENCEPHALARTOS HORRIDUS
This extremely popular blue species of cycad from South Africa is continually in demand.  It is probably the number one species of cycad that we sell.  It is a small to medium sized plant with a crown diameter typically under four feet.  And, it tolerates hot sun in most areas and is compact.  With its blue or silver foliage, it appears people can always find room for this species.  It is slow growing, taking several decades to get a basketball sized caudex.  But, it's faster growing in the ground compared to a container.  In desert areas, partial sun would be best.  Cold tolerance is the low 20's f.  A plant with a two to three foot vertical caudex height would be considered enormous.  Shown here is a whole assortment of nursery plants.  In the last row is a seedling and a rooted out offset with a new flush of purple colored leaves.  In the third row below is another offset just beginning to throw these new leaves.  Emerging flushes often show different colors such as purple or dark blue.  Then, over time, they mature into the classic silver-blue color shown here.   There are several similarly blue species of Encephalartos that are of similar size.  So, if you find this species is too spiny for you, check out Encephalartos lehmanii or princeps. 

For those interested, here's a
link to an article I've written on this desirable cycad.  It has extensive information and photographs.  Just click on this link:
   
Encephalartos horridus  
Encephalartos horridus http://nationalplantboard.org/laws/index.html
http://nationalplantboard.org/laws/index.html http://nationalplantboard.org/laws/index.html http://nationalplantboard.org/laws/index.html
Encephalartos horridus flushing Encephalartos horridus dwarf Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus Encephalartos horridus leaflets Encephalartos horridus leaflets
Encephalartos horridus Encephalartos horridus band Encephalartos horridus new flush

 

ARCHONTOPHOENIX PURPUREA
THE PURPLE CROWN SHAFT KING PALM
Having just discussed Oraniopsis, I thought I'd continue on to talk about the other predominant species in the Mt. Lewis area of Queensland, Australia.  Archontophoenix purpurea is known for the purple color to the crown shaft.  It is found at an elevation up to 4000 feet.  Mature height is quoted to be over fifty feet, but in habitat and culture I didn't see one this tall.  For types of King Palms, this species is stated to have the thickest trunk.  I don't think I agree with this and feel A. maxima is thicker.  Most I've seen have a trunk diameter of twelve inches or somewhat more.   The crown shaft is a bit bulging.  Below I'd like to state some of my observations about this species.  I'm going to number them for easy viewing:

1.  It is NOT the most cold hardy of the King Palm group.  25 degrees F. will definitely burn it and lower temps will kill it.  Two decades ago people said it was the most cold hardy.  This is not true.
2.  The degree of purple color you see in the crown shaft is quite variable.  If you see a picture of one with an intense purple color like on grape candy, it is probably "photo-shopped".  Only once have I seen anything like this where the color is brilliantly purple.  Expect a light purple or reddish hue, which is much more common.  Sometimes they are more green than any other color.  And, you won't see the purple color when they are juvenile.  They have to have some trunk height before it can be seen.  So, when you buy one you just have to wait for the color.
3.  A good way to recognize this species as a juvenile nursery plant is from the yellowish color to the stem and petiole.  (see photos).  Also, the underside of the leaves are intensely silver as shown here.  The crown shaft is green on young plants.
4.  There are only two species of King Palms which have ramenta (small hair-like fibers) on the underside of the leaflets.  These are the A. cunninghamiana and A. purpurea.  So, check the underside of the leaves.  If you see ramenta and they are silver, you are looking at an A. purpurea.   (see 7th photo below).  One of the photos below shows this species in fruit.

Pictures here are an assortment of nursery plants, domestically grown plants and habitat specimens.  If you live in an area that doesn't get below the mid-twenties, it is a fun species to grow.
 
Archontophoenix purpurea

Archontophoenix purpurea 5g
Archontophoenix purpurea

Archontophoenix purpurea underside leaf
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea WITH RAMENTA
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea photo by HJD
Archontophoenix purpurea photo by HJD Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea  


MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2012

 

ENCEPHALARTOS ALTENSTEINII
AN IMPRESSIVE SPECIES FOR LANDSCAPE
This medium to large green, South African species can become a very impressive statement in the landscape.  With trunks up to fifteen feet and crown width of ten to fourteen feet, it is sizeable and stately.  Native to the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, this species is prized for collections in botanical gardens across the planet.  Garden enthusiasts love it as well because it is a good growing species that can tolerate hot sun and is fairly cold hardy. 

Leaves are green and up to eight feet long.  Leaflet edges, especially on smaller plants, have small prickles.  I've found one of the best ways to spot this species is to inspect the base of the leaf stem, right where it meets the caudex, and look for an area with no spines of prickles.  This bare area of stem can be six to twelve inches long.  It is typical of E. altensteinii.  At this location you could harmlessly grab the petiole without getting stuck.  Although not the only species with this trait, it helps you with ID'ing it.  Cold hardiness is into the low 20's F..  Desert areas may need protection from full sun. 

Shown here is an impressive 10 gallon plant with about a 12 inch trunk.  Also shown are larger boxed specimens and a 5g plant.  The garden photos show how impressive a mature specimen appears.  We have an excellent supply of Encephalartos altensteinii from small seedlings to coning sized plants. 
Encephalartos altensteinii Encephalartos altensteini
Encephalartos altensteini Encephalartos altensteini Encephalartos altensteini
Encephalartos altensteini Encephalartos altensteinii Encephalartos altensteini
Encephalartos altensteini Encephalartos altensteini Encephalartos altensteinii
 

ENCEPHALARTOS TRANSVENOSUS
AN EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE LANDSCAPE CYCAD
Many people think of cycads only as smaller, companion type plants for the garden.  This is not true.  Many are quite competitive with larger palms.  Encephalartos transvensosus, native to north eastern parts of the Republic of South Africa and most famously to the Modjadji Forest Reserve, is a huge, impressive plant that takes on the characteristics of a larger palm tree.  Trunks have been known to get over 35 feet tall with crown widths of twelve to fourteen feet.  And, trunks are over two feet thick.  The very last photo below shows old specimens from habitat in the Modjadji forest.  Granted, cycads are usually slower growing than cycads, but old mature specimens are spectacular landscape items.

Leaflets of this species are usually dark green, sometimes with a glaucous tint, almost like over-sprayed white paint had frosted them.  Suckering can occur.  E. transvenosus is cold hardy to about 22 degrees and does perfectly in full sun along the coast.  Desert areas may require part day sun.  Shown here is an impressive large plant with a 20 inch caudex in a 15g pot.  Also shown are an assortment of sizes as well as an impressive specimen with a child sitting on an old decumbent trunk.  If you want something different that is a very majestic and impressive plant, consider this species.  We have all sizes available.   
Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu
Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu
Encephalartos transvenosu
E. transvensosus with new throw of leaves
Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu
Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu
Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosus
Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosu Encephalartos transvenosus


 

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

 

 

HOWEA BELMOREANA
This umbrella shaped species is from the
island of Lord Howe and is in the same
family as the Kentia Palm.  However, there
are striking differences, mostly in the
appearance of the leaves and crown.  This
species has a curve of the leaves toward the
ground, giving it the umbrella shaped crown.
It is also a bit more cold hardy, possibly to
as low as 24 degrees.  It can take full sun
along the coast and wants protection inland.
Shown here is a super 15g plant as well as
very nice sized 1g.  The specimen photo
demonstrates the shape of the crown of
leaves.  The larger containerized palm is to
the right is about seven feet tall.  We have
an excellent selection of large one gallon plants.
The largest of these are over two feet tall and
easily shipped.  The price on these 1g is $40 for
the smaller and $45 for the larger. Some of the
latter plants would be considered large for
a 5g plant.    
Howea belmoreana Howea belmoreana
Howea belmoreana 1 g Howea belmoreana 1g howea belmoreana

 

LIGULARIA
Ligularia is an interesting group of
plants coming from Europe, Asia and
Africa.  There are many different species
in this genus.  The ones we sell are second
and third generation plants from our own
stock.  They have a Lily Pad type of leaves
and produce yellow daisy-like blossoms in
the Fall.  They prefer some protection from
the full sun and can grow in filtered light.
They do like moisture and can be considered
an "indicator plant" that tells you when your
soil is getting dry.  They'll droop over.  If you
then give them some water, they bounce
right back up by morning.  They are easy to
grow if you keep them adequately watered.
We have affordable smaller sizes for sale.
If you start with a few plants, over time and
with vegetative propagation, you can have
many colonies of nice size plants.  They are
a great companion plant and ideal for parkways
by the street.  We should have one and two
gallon plants available for sale.  We have
nice 1g plants for $25.  We also recently
have available a limited number of a rare
species with ruffled leaf edges. (see last photo)
Ligularia
Photo by RT
Ligularia
Ligularia Ligularia curley leaf Ligularia crested edge

 



SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2012

 


CARYOTA KIRIWONGENSIS
ALMOST EXTINCT AND MASSIVE FISHTAIL
By report, there are only about two dozen specimens of this species in existence in southern Thailand.  Original descriptions of this species were submitted by Don Hodel, taxonomist from California.  This is a massive Fishtail Palm and would put Caryota gigas to shame with its size.  It is supposed to get well over 100 feet tall with trunks three feet in diameter.  Little is known about this palm by collectors.  There are ONLY a hand full of plants being grown worldwide by collectors or in botanical gardens.  Internet searches fail to show you much information about Caryota kiriwongensis.  It is felt to be most closely related to Caryota obtusa, but seeds share characteristics of C. ophiopellis and zebrina. 

As most of you know, Caryotas are monocarpic palms.  A plant has to die in order to get seeds.  Well, if there are only a few in the wild and one died to give seeds, that could potentially leave even less plants in the wild.  This puts a huge responsibility on the person growing this species.  You have to make sure it survives. 
 
By report, it'll take temperatures down to about a freeze, but this is not documented.  It does get very large, so you have to give it room.  I have one or perhaps two of these for sale.  They are big one gallon plants and not inexpensive.  The only picture I could find of a large plant was by Tobias Spanner who distributed the seeds.  I apologize that I cannot show more pictures of native plants at this time.  But, to read more you could reference Don Hodel's book on the Palms of Thailand.   
Caryota kiriwongensis Caryota kiriwongensis
Caryota kiriwongensis C aryota kiriwongensis by TS, RPS
photo by Tobias Spanner
 


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

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

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

 

DYPSIS LUTESCENS
ARECA OR BUTTERFLY PALM
We presently have available some very nice ten foot tall Dypsis lutescens.  This is a suckering species from Madagascar that is medium sized, seldom over 18 feet in Southern California.  It has attractive, thin trunks with a prominent yellow color.  This color can extend into the leaf stems as well.  It has a medium growth rate.  Along the coast, it prefers sun or very bright filtered light.  In inland areas it cannot take full sun.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F.  We also have smaller plants available. 
Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants
Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants Dypsis lutescens 10 foot plants Dypsis lutescens by D.O.
photo by D.O.
Dypsis lutescens Dypsis lutescens  donated photo
photo by E.S.
 

DYPSIS SAINTLUCEI
POWDER WHITE CROWN SHAFT
This species is native to Madagascar and is usually found as a single trunk specimen, although it can sucker somewhat.  Its most prominent characteristic is the powder white crown shaft as shown here.  It is medium sized, up to about 25 feet if well grown and has a six inch thick trunk.  There is a stunning contrast of dark red new spear against the white stem as shown in the photos.  Leaves are six feet long and upright.  This species is an easy palm to grow.  It will tolerate sun along the coast but needs some inland protection.  Exact cold hardiness is still being determined, but many have reported it grows into the twenties F.  I would highly recommend this species as it isn't too big and is very attractive.  The nursery plant shown is a 15g size. 
Dypsis saintlucei Dypsis saintlucei
Dypsis saintlucei Dypsis saintlucei Dypsis saintlucei
Dypsis saintlucei Dypsis saintlucei Dypsis saintlucei
Dypsis saintlucei Dypsis saintlucei by DC Dypsis saintlucei



FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2012

 

CERATOZAMIA MIQUELIANA
A BEAUTIFUL WIDE LEAFLET SPECIES
This small to medium sized cycad species from the Veracruz area of Mexico has always been one of my favorites.  It's main hallmarks are that the trunk is not large, the leaflets are wide and new leaves emerge with a powdery blue-green color.  Caudex size is usually not more than 8 inches across; height can be up to three feet but is typically much shorter.  Leaves are three to five feet long,   Leaflets are sometimes over 2.5 inches wide but more typically a bit less than this.  Newly emerging leaves are blue-green secondary to a blue powder exuded by the leaflets; this color persists for a while.  This is a filtered light species and usually gets yellow-green in full sun.  Cold tolerance is into the mid to low 20's F.  It has a very exotic appearance compared to many other Ceratozamia.

Shown to the right is a 25g containerized male plant.  The cone is spent.  Below is a female cone.  Shortly we will have available seedlings of a very desirable wide leaf form of this species.  It is extremely rare to be able to purchase Ceratozamia miqueliana, either seedlings or plants, so we hope people interested take advantage of our offering of this great species.      .
Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana
Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana
Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana
Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana Ceratozamia miqueliana


DIOON SONORENSE
This medium sized cycad species is from the region of Sonora, Mexico and hence the species name.  It grows there at elevations of two to three thousand feet in very hot and dry conditions.  It is often on mountain slopes or cliff-like areas.  Leaves are typically 3 feet long, upright and sometimes twisted on their axis and leaflets are green to blue in color.  There are several forms of the species and one of the main differences is the leaf color. As shown here, leaflets are thin and pointed.  Texture is fairly stiff to the touch.  At one point, this species was grouped together with Dioon tomasellii. 

Culture includes full sun in most regions.  It is possible that a desert location could require part day sun.  Good draining sandy soil is preferred.  Average watering is needed.  Shown here is a citrus pot sized plant and several garden specimens.  We have very limited numbers of these for sale.
Dioon sonorense Dioon sonorense
Dioon sonorense Dioon sonorense Dioon sonorense
Dioon sonorense Dioon sonorense by JS
Photo by JS
 

DIOON TOMASELLII
This is a Dioon species from Mexico, including
the Pacific Coast area.  Formerly, there were two
species included with the name "tomasellii".
This included this species described here as
well as a variety from Sonora, D. tomasellii
variety "sonorense". (above)  The latter has more recently
been given it's own species status and is
actually quite different appearing.  Trunks on this
species never get too big.  You'll probably not see
one over six feet tall.  The hallmark of this species
are the leaflets which are narrow and lanceolate shaped.
The have a gentle curve downwards and for this reason
are called the "poor man's E. inopinus" because of a
similar leaflet shape and orientation.  Although both
of these species are rare, Encephalartos inopinus is
almost impossible to find.  Dioon tomasellii is a very
slow growing cycad.  It likes heat.  In habitat it is
usually seen in filtered light.  Along the coast, some
have grown it in full sun.  It throws new leaves
which are soft and furry.  But, it may take several
years between throws of new leaves on large
specimens.  Shown here are photos of 5g plants
which have taken me six years to produce.   On the
close-up, look at how the leaflets have a gentle
downward curve to them, the hallmark of this
species.   The last 2 pictures are of a 15g plant
and a very  old specimen in a botanical garden.

   
Dioon tomasellii Dioon tomasellii
Dioon tomasellii leaves Dioon tomasellii Dioon tomasellii

 

HYOPHORBE INDICA
A BEAUTIFUL MEDIUM SIZED PALM
This species of medium sized palm from Reunion Island
has been grown by many successfully in Southern CA.
It doesn't get too tall (about 20 ft), likes full sun and
tolerates temperatures into the mid 20's F.
When young some varieties show a red-brown
color to the stem and base.  In addition to not being
very large in height, it also has a rather thin trunk as
you can see below.  It is pinnate and crown shafted..
It is also a quick grower.  Shown here are some
oversized 5g plants with chunky bases.  I only have
a few of these.  Also shown is that boxed specimen.
Trunk size is thin, perhaps six to eight inches.
This species prefers heat and sun along the coast.
It would qualify as a short to medium sized palm
but is very quick growing to reach an overhead
size.  These 5g plants have been outdoors for
approximately 3 years and have seen 27 to 28
degrees already.  They are ready for the garden!
5g plants are $75, very good sized.  Also shown
are some 15g & boxed specimens.  I think the red and
green form are comparable in terms of cold
tolerance.  Note the color variation in the photos.
Remember to give this plant full sun.  Theonly plants
I've lost are those put outdoors in shade.  Like the
Bottle and Spindle Palm, this species likes full sun

The last photo below is Hyophorbe verschafeltii, the
Spindle Palm.  I am posting this photo just to remind
you that H. indica is in the same family and does
share some common characteristics..  Of course,
we have both of these species for sale as well as the
popular Bottle Palm.
Hyophorbe indica 5g Hyophorbe indica 5g
Hyophorbe indica 5g Hyophorbe indica box Hyophorbe indica
Hyophorbe indica Hyophorbe indica Hyophorbe indica
Hyophorbe indica Hyophorbe indica Hyophorbe indica
Hyophorbe indica by Tobias Spanner RPS
Hyophorbe indica by Tobias Spanner RPS
Hyophorbe verschafeltii garden
Related species, Hyophorbe verschafeltii,
The Spindle Palm
   

 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2012

 

TODAY, A LOOK AT RHOPALOSTYLIS
I thought this morning I'd do a presentation on the the Shaving Brush Palms.  I'm doing this here, various species/varieties together, so you can compare them individually. 
I have not included here all the varieties that are available, but this will serve as a good introduction to the majority of Rhopalostylis that you will see.  I hope that
you enjoy this group of palms and like seeing all of the photos.

 

RHOPALOSTYLIS SAPIDA
SHAVING BRUSH PALM
FEATHER DUSTER PALM
This species is probably the first species that you'll encounter with the genus Rhopalostylis.  So, it's a nice palm to start with.  All 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

 

RHOPALOSTYLIS BAUERI
NORFOLK ISLAND PALM
The genus of Rhopalostylis are all from the main or surrounding islands of the country of New Zealand.  All species within this genus are single trunk, pinnate and crown shafted palms.  All are very attractive and all (for crown shafted palms) are surprisingly cold hardy.  Rhopalostylis baueri gets to a mature height of potentially over forty feet, although this is rarely seen.  It has green leaves, a trunk diameter of about eight to twelve inches and a crown shaft that is green in color.  The leaves tend to be re-flexed downward to some degree; i.e., they are curved and hang down. 

Many people get Rhopalostylis sapida and Rhopalostylis baueri mixed up and can't tell them apart.  I will make three comparisons here so you can tell which species you are looking at.  First, the crown of leaves of the R. sapida is more upright.  If you look at the third photo (immediately below this text), you will note that the majority of leaves point strongly upward with sapida.  Now look at the second picture to the right of R. baueri.  Note how the crown is fuller and hangs down?  Also note that the leaves are curved more than with sapida.  Even in potted plants, the leaf appearance and differences are apparent between these two species. 

Another difference is in the thickness or bulging on the crown shaft.  Rhopalostylis sapida has a much more prominent bulge than baueri.  The fifth photograph shows a baueri that has a crown shaft that is hardly thicker than the trunk.  The next photo shows how R. sapidas crown shaft is much thicker than the trunk.  Sometimes this is almost comical in how the crown shaft is so large.   Another difference is that the petiole and leaf stem of R. sapida tends to be a gray color whereas baueri is a rusty brown color.  This is sometimes quite subtle.  If you are comparing mature trees, Rhopalostylis sapida has longer leaves and the overall height of the tree is shorter, seldom over twenty-five feet. 

We have a great selection of both species for sale.  In terms of growth, I've found that R. baueri doesn't tolerate as much sun as sapida.  But, in inland locations, neither tolerate full sun.  R. baueri does best in part day sun (morning) or filtered light.  Both are cold hardy into the low 20's F. or possibly even into the upper teens. Both species grow quite well in San Francisco.

The last photograph is of Rhopalostylis baueri in my garden.  I am looking down from a deck at a very old tree.  Note the thin crown shaft, the green trunk (maintains this color when in shade) and the faint brown color in the leaf petiole.        


Rhopalostylis baueri Rhopalostylis baueri
Rhopalostylis sapida
Rhopalostylis sapida (not baueri)
Rhopalostylis baueri Rhopalostylis baueri
Rhopalostylis sapida crown shaft
Rhopalostylis sapida crown shaft
Rhopalostylis baueri Rhopalostylis baueri
Rhopalostylis baueri Rhopalostylis baueri trunk

 

RHOPALOSTYLIS CHEESEMANII
Rhopalostylis  cheesemanii is from Roul Island as opposed to Norfolk Island.  It reportedly has darker brown tomentum on the crown shaft and petioles compared to R. baueri and the fruits are larger in size.  But, the most remarkable thing is that some enthusiasts have noticed is that it is a more aggressive grower in Southern California.  In fact, opposed to R. baueri, it has been known to do quite well in full sun right along the coast.  One of our staff, Rusty, swears by this species and thinks it's far superior to other Rhopalostylis.  In his yard it has grown at a phenomenal rate.  The pictures here show the dark petioles/color.  I have limited photos of larger plants.  Be aware that many people feel this should be considered a sub-variety of Rhopalostylis baueri.  The last photo is from my garden, looking down from above the palm.  You can appreciate the darker crown shaft on this photo.  Of note, this species is the one that people recently have referred to as having the "purple crown shaft".  This purple color has been reported from customers who previously bought this species from us. You can compare the color with the R. baueri above.
Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii
Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii Rhopalostylis cheesemanii

 

RHOPALOSTYLIS SAPIDA
LITTLE BARRIER ISLAND VARIETY
This variety of Rhopalostylis sapida comes from a small island off the coast of New Zealand called "Little Barrier Island". This island is about fifty miles off the coast from Auckland.  It is not to be confused with other islands like Chatham Island, which is much further out from the main island.  Tourists and enthusiasts cannot visit Little Barrier Island.  It is a plant and game reserve.  So, getting seeds from this location is no easy feat.  The Rhopalostylis from Little Barrier Island are known to be faster growing with larger trunks and bigger crown shafts.  But, reports are that this feature is variable on where the plants are growing there.  Those in full sun have bigger crown shafts.  But, it is noted, that full sun can burn the leaves a bit.  Shown here are pictures of a 5g and 15g of this species.  I'm also posting two photos from a friend of mine, Tobias Spanner, of this rarely seen "species".  Most consider this to be a varietal form of sapida.  Cold hardiness is reportedly into the low 20's f. and I'd recommend growing it in part day sun.  Inland areas may require filtered light or morning sun only.  We only have a few of these for sale. 

The photos here by Tobias Spanner show the appearance of this variety of Shaving Brush in the wild.   
Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island 5g Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island 5g
Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island 5g Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island 5g Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island by Tobias Spanner
Photo by Tobias Spanner RPS
Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island Tobias Spanner
Photo by Tobias Spanner RPS
Rhopalostylis sapida little barrier island 15g
A 15 gallon sized plant
Rhopalostylis sapida crown shaft
Rhopalostylis spida in my garden

RHOPALOSTYLIS SAPIDA X BAUERI
AN INTERESTING AND HARDY HYBRID

At various points throughout this blog I have talked about hybrid palms.  One certainly sees this with Shaving Brush Palms.
Plants in front of you don't seem to key out specifically to one species.  So, I am going to talk about this hybrid with some
plants that we have at the nursery.


Recently, a palm enthusiast brought by several sun grown plants he said were "Rhopalostylis sapida".  However, on inspection I found that they are not Rhopalostlis sapida but rather a hybrid with Rhopalostylis baueri.  I am going to show you here the differences and why I came to this conclusion.

1.  The leaves of these plants are not totally upright but rather have a little curve to them.  In other words, they are not a stiff in an upright manner as what I expect of R. sapida..
2.  The stems and petioles are not gray like sapida, but sort of brown.  R. baueri are definitely a red-brown color.
3.  The leaflets are softer than R. sapidaSapida leaflets are a bit thinner and stiffer than baueri.

I'll compare these three side by side here.  Of interest is the fact that the hybrids were grown totally in full sun since small.  Note that the sapida leaves are more upright as shown below.  The base of the petiole is more gray than brown on sapida.  And the leaflets are stiffer.  You can see how the hybrid is sort of like a blend  of sapida and baueri. with somewhat curved leaves and gray-brown petioles.  But, it's exactly like either adult.  So, for this reason, I feel they are hybrids.  Of note, these hybrids came from the garden of Mardy Darian in Vista, CA, from seed.  He has both adults in his garden.  In the last row below, I apologize that i don't have a close up of the baueri base, but trust me that they are brown, sometimes even dark brown; not gray.

I've found R. sapida to be the best for sun.  So, these hybrids probably got some sun tolerance from the sapida parent.  Also, some people feel that these hybrids are more vigorous growers; the "hybrid vigor" sort of thing.  I suspect mature height of these will be about 25 feet.  Cold hardiness will be into the low 20's F.  If you are right along the coast, full sun would be fine.\
RHOPALOSTYLIS HYBRID RHOPALOSTYLIS SAPIDA RHOPALOSTYLIS BAUERI
Rhopalostylis hybrid Rhopalostylis sapida Rhopalostylis baueri
Rhopalostylis hybrid Rhopalostylis sapida Rhopalostylis baueri
Rhopalostylis hybrid Rhopalostylis sapida Rhopalostylis baueri
Rhopalostylis hybrid Rhopalostylis sapida Rhopalostylis baueri


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2012

 

CHAMAEDOREA BENZEI X WARSCEWICZII
AN INTERESTING CHAMAEDOREA HYBRID
The purpose of this thread is not particularly to promote the particular hybrid I'm showing this morning.  Rather, it is meant more to remind you that many palms hybridize quite easily.  Chamaedorea would be such a genus.  Phoenix is notorious for hybridization.  For this to occur, you are typically talking about a palm that is dioecious, i.e. there are both sexes.  A female plant of such a genus gets pollen from a male of the same genus, but a different species..  Intergeneric hybrids do occur (Mule Palm, Foxy Lady, etc.), but crosses between species are many times more common. 

This hybridization can occur by wind dispersion of the pollen or by crawling/flying insects such as bees and ants.  When you have a dioecious species, you can count on the fact that Nature provided, most likely, an insect to transfer the pollen in habitat.  But, we as gardeners may not have the right insects in the garden to accomplish this.  Therefore, sometimes a human hand is needed with hybridization.  But, when you have a female plant that gives viable seeds and there are no males of the species nearby, you can almost be assured that hybridization has occurred.

Such is the case with the hybrid shown today which is between a female Chamaedorea benzei and a male C. warscewiczii.  In the garden where both plants were located, there were no other Chamaedoreas whatsoever.  And, none known to be around within at least a block.  So, logic tells you that the male pollen from the warscewiczii somehow got to the benzei blossom.  They were about ten feet apart.  And, the resulting juvenile plant from the seeds produced seems to fit the expected appearance of this cross.  The base looks more like benzei and the large terminal leaflets more like warscewiczii.  Hybrid Chamaedoeas can sometimes be real winners.  Many remember the famous "Irving Cantor" cross from 30 years ago that is a fabulous suckering palm.  If you get yourself a nice selection of Chamaedorea species in the garden, you can really have fun manually creating hybrids that have never been known to exist.  And, of note, there are palm experts that seem to spend half their lives on ladders, playing with flowers and pollen and  trying to get the most amazing hybrids. If you are so inclined, making hybrid palms can be a lot of fun.
Chamaedorea hybrid Chamaedorea hybrid
Chamaedorea hybrid Chamaedorea hybrid Chamaedorea hybrid
Chamaedorea benzei
Chamaedorea benzei
Chamaedorea warscewickzii colin
Chamaedorea warscewiczii by Colin Wilson
 


DIOON MEJIAE
AN ATTRACTIVE MEDIUM SIZED CYCAD
For many people, Dioon mejiae is one of their favorite cycads.  It doesn't get too large, it has a very attractive crown of leaves, and newly emerging leaves are soft, fuzzy and so inviting.  They are almost like a baby rabbit's foot.

Native to southern Mexico and Honduras, this species is similar to Dioon sinulosum.  But, unlike the spinulosum, leaflets do not have the spines on the leaflet edges.  And, the leaflets appear slightly different shaped.  Leaves are four to six feet long, trunks typically under five feet although old habitat plants have trunks over twenty feet, and new leaves emerge vertically.  Although they are soft at emergence, they eventually become straight and flat with firm leaflets.. Seeds of this species are large and tan in color.

I've found this cycad does best in part day sun or strong filtered light.  Right on the coast, some grow it in full sun.  But, I've found this creates more of a lime colored green cycad.  For this reason, I prefer filtered light.  It likes good draining soil and will tolerate temperatures into the low 20's F.  Shown her are some larger nursery plants as well as garden specimens.  We have all sizes of this species for sale.    
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae Dioon mejiae


CARYOT URENS
SUPER TALL, SUPER FAST GROWING
For most, this is probably the fastest growing species that you could add to your garden.  And, it is not unusual for this species to get over sixty feet tall!  It is one of the most successful species for establishing a canopy.  It is not unusual to put in a standard 15g sized Caryota urens and have a plant that's over thirty feet tall in three or four years.  It's natural habitat stretches from the India region to northern Thailand. Trunk diameter is 12 to 18 inches and the color is white.  There is tomentom on the trunk.  If you scratch this tomentum or write your name, it'll be there for the life of the palm. 

This is a multipinnate palm with long wide leaves.  It's canopy produces a lot of shade.  It responds to good draining soil and adequate water.  Because of it's height, strong hurricane type winds can blow this species over to the ground.  Shown here are several sixteen foot specimens in 25 gallon containers.  We also have big 15g for sale.  Compared to Caryota gigas, this is a much taller tree with a thinner trunk.  Also, growth rate is faster.  As it is a monocarpic species, anticipate a life of about twenty years.  Blossoming occurs prior to the plant's dying.  It takes about four to five years for the blossoming cycle to end.  An ample number of black seeds usually result and you can grow another one with your seeds.  (see photos of blossoms and seeds).  The last photo demonstrates how tall this species can grow.  In my garden, one got to approximately 80 feet.  
Caryota urens http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html
http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html
http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html
Caryota urens in blossom
http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html
http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html
Also note blossoms hanging on this tree
http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html http://www.junglemusic.net/New%20Plant%20Arrivals/new_plant_arrivals.html

 

RAVENEA SAMBIRANENSIS
This species of Ravenea is from both the west and eastern sides of the Island of Madagascar.  It was named after a river on the island.  It is a large and elegant pinnate palm with heights reportedly up to one hundred feet.  Trunk diameter is one foot.  It grows at elevations from sea level to six thousand feet in both dry and moist native habitats.  When younger, this species has flat erect leaves that go straight upwards.  However, with age, this species produces leaves that are keeled and curve downwards at the ends.  When mature the overall crown is hemispherical with the leaves in the upper portion of the circle.  Because of its large size, this plant should be consider a major landscape item and not a companion plant.  The only habitat photo I have is #5 below.  From this photo, you can see how large this species will become.

I have a limited number of five gallon plants for sale.  They should be grown in an area where they can work their way from strong filtered light into full sun.  Cold hardiness is into the mid-twenties F.  They like moisture but need good draining soil.  The last photo below is a juvenile tree, picture taken by T.S. from RPS.  This is a difficult species to find.  But, there are enthusiasts in Southern California growing it with no problems.
Ravenea sambiranensis Ravenea sambiranensis
Ravenea sambiranensis Ravenea sambiranensis Ravenea sambiranensis
Ravenea sambiranensis Ravenea sambiranensis Ravenea sambiranensis by TS RPS
Ravenea sambiranensis by T.S. at RPS

 

CYCAS TAITUNGENSIS
THE EMPEROR CYCAD
A Very Cold Hardy Cycad

Cycas taitungensis is a species of cycad from China and Taiwan.  It used to be known as Cycas taiwaniana.  In fact, some reference books around still refer to it by this name.  But, Loran Whitelock points out in his book, The Cycads, that there has historically been confusion between the plants collected under the names "Cycas taiwaniana" and "Cycas taitungensis".  Regardless, as we stand today this species is formally known as Cycas taitungensis. 

It is a medium to large cycad with trunk diameter of twelve to eighteen inches and height of ten feet.  It is known as the Emperor Cycad.  This name was coined by a nursery several decades ago trying to market this species.  It is similar to a Sago Palm but with some noted differences.  The leaves are longer and wider than the C. revoluta.  They also tend to be flatter.  The color is deep green.  Also, growth rate is much faster and cold hardiness is better than the Sago. It is not unusual for this species to throw two or three sets of leaves a year.  In the crown area, the tomentum is a very prominent orange color, a good clue as to the species.  I think it's a bit more tropical and lush appearing than the Sago Palm.  There are reports of this species easily tolerating mid-teen F. temperatures.  Also, it likes full sun except in desert areas.

Shown here is a nice boxed specimen of this species with about two feet of trunk.   We have several of these for sale.  But, we also have seedlings, 5g and 15g plants for sale.  For someone in a cold area, this is perhaps one of the first cycads you should consider.  
Cycas taitungensis Cycas taitungensis
Cycas taitungensis Cycas taitungensis Cycas taitungensis
Cycas taitungensis Cycas taitungensis  


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2012


ARENGA MICRANTHA
THE MOST COLD HARDY ARENGA
This species was totally unknown to the nursery market until a relatively short time ago.  This is quite surprising as it is so cold hardy and a great plant for so many areas.  In it's native habitat in the Himalaya Mountains, it regularly sees snow and freezing weather. Its native distribution is from northern India to Tibet.  It grows at altitudes well above 6000 feet"

It is a suckering species and quite beautiful.  It reaches a height of twenty feet, has flat pinnate leaves, and has a prominent white color to the back of the leaves.  This white color is much more prominent than seen with Arenga engleri and this species is more cold hardy and larger.  Its individual stems are about 6 inches in diameter and the actual trunks get up to about twelve feet. In Southern California, I would suggest filtered light locations.  It prefers to be watered adequately.  As this is a new species, the exact low temperature tolerance is unknown.  But, we anticipate it will be at least the low twenties or upper teens.  It is a hardy species to find and there are few photos of it on the Net.  Our supply is very limited.  This is not surprising as you can imagine the difficulty of collecting seeds.  So, act quickly on this one.  The habitat photo below is by Tobias Spanner.
   
Arenga micrantha  Arenga micrantha 
Arenga micrantha  Arenga micrantha  Arenga micrantha 
Arenga micrantha  Arenga micrantha by Tobias Spanner
Photo by Tobias Spanner 
 

CYCAS PANZHIHUAENSIS
ONE OF THE MOST COLD HARDY CYCADS 
As were were just talking about a cold hardy Asian palm species, I thought I'd mention one of the most cold hardy cycads from this same general part of the world.  Cycas panzihuaensis is from high elevation mountainous areas of southern China.  It comes from elevations above 6000 feet and can tolerate snow.  It is quite attractive and has many advantages over the Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta.  First, it is a smaller plant with stems usually three to six feet tall.  Secondly, it has a smaller spread of the leaves, which are an interesting green with a blue sheen to them.  Also, it doesn't have quite the proclivity to make a massive clump.  Finally, the leaves are softer than the Sago and cold hardiness may be even better.  The hardest thing to remember about "Cycas panzhihuaensis" is how to spell the name.  As of yet, it has no common name.  Perhaps the "Chinese Sago" would work.  Cycas revoluta originates in Japan.   

Leaf length is typically about 3 to 5 feet.  Stem diameter is about 6 to 8 inches, much thinner than the 18 - 24 inch Sago.  It is fairly rare to see in nurseries because of limited numbers of seeds being available.  It tolerates coastal full sun and can take strong filtered light or part day sun.  Cold tolerance is into the upper teens.  It is known to survive areas of the United Kingdom.  Over time, we feel this species has the potential to replace the common Sago palm because of all of its desirable characteristics.
  
Cycas panzhihuaensis  Cycas panzhihuaensis  
Cycas panzhihuaensis   Cycas panzhihuaensis   Cycas panzhihuaensis  
Cycas panzhihuaensis   Cycas panzhihuaensis   Cycas panzhihuaensis  

CHAMBEYRONIA MACROCARPA & HOOKERI
THEIR BEAUTIFUL NEW RED LEAVES
I thought I'd present something different and interesting this morning.  Most of you know that Chambeyronia throw new red leaves.  These leaves can sometimes be fire engine red, other times pink, and sometimes a dark black-red burgundy wine color.  All are very beautiful and please most plant enthusiasts.  This color lasts ten to twenty days and then turns green.  The color evolves through a red-brown, then brown-green and finally into a green color that you are use to seeing.  Both Chambeyronia macrocarpa and hookeri throw new red leaves.  They'll usually display the red leaf by a 5g size, but we've seen new red leaves in plants as small as one gallon size.  Unfortunately, about one in twenty plants will never throw a new red leaf, much to the owner's disappointment.  There's no way of knowing beforehand if you have a "non-red-throwing" Chambeyronia.  Over the last year or two, if my camera is handy, I've shot photos of red leaves around the nursery.  I thought I would share them with you here.  And, Chambeyronia offers you another treat: the seeds are big and red as well. 

If you like this species, we have a good assortment of sizes from seedlings to large 25g plants with trunk.  We also have some great 5g which are way oversized.  They are equivalent in size to an average 15g plant, yet in a 5g pot.  Thus, they can be shipped affordably right to your door.  They make excellent interior houseplants.  See the photos below to see how nice they are.  Price is $95.  The last photo, by long time acquaintance Ian Edwards, is from PACSOA.
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf Chambeyronia red leaf
Chambeyronia red seeds
Photo by HJD
Chambeyronia red seeds Chambeyronia 5g
Chambeyronia 5g Chambeyronia 5g Chambeyronia 5g
Chambeyronia 5g Chambeyronia red leaf Ian Edwards PACSOA
Chambeyronia macrocarpa new red leaf by Ian Edwards, PACSOA
 

 

ENCEPHALARTOS WHITELOCKII
This species was named in honor of noted cycad authority and author, Loran Whitelock (The Cycads) from Southern California.  When I first heard of this specie's availability, it was called the "Uganda Giant" cycad.  It was also known as "Laurentianus Lake George".  Only years later did it receive its published taxonomic name.

Native to Uganda, this long leaf cycad gets a trunk over ten feet tall over many decades.  It has long green leaves that can get up to fourteen feet long.  New leaves emerge in an upright position making a "V-Shape" to the new crown of leaves.  As future new leaves emerge, older leaves will hand down and give a fuller look to the crown of leaves.  Leaves are flat or slightly keeled.  Leaflets are prominently toothed and up to twelve inches long and about one inch wide. 

This is a fast growing cycad that does well in Southern California.  Like other Central African species, it would prefer less than full sun in most areas.  I think this is because of our more arid conditions with less humidity in the air.  Grown in part day sun or strong filtered light, this is an impressive and quick growing species.  It likes good draining soil.  Cold hardiness appears to easily be into the mid twenties F. and probably somewhat lower.  Shown here are citrus pot, 15g and boxed nursery plants.  We also have affordable band seedlings as well.  If you look closely at the next to last photo below, you will see a cone forming on this Southern California plant.  If you like cycads, this is a definite addition to your garden! 
Encephalartos whitelockii cit pot Encephalartos whitelockii 15g
Encephalartos whitelockii close up leaf Encephalartos whitelockii leaf detail Encephalartos whitelockii
Encephalartos whitelockii Encephalartos whitelockii Encephalartos whitelockii box
Encephalartos whitelockii Encephalartos whitelockii Encephalartos whitelockii

 

COCCOTHRINAX MIRAGUAMA

This is a rather thin trunked fan palm native to Cuba.  It attains a height of typically twenty to thirty feet, rarely taller.  Below the crown of leaves is an attractive pattern of meshed and woven fibers.  The middle and base of the trunk are usually woody.  You will note the the leaves are prominently divided into thin, long leaf segments.  These leaves are held by a prominent petiole.  The dorsal color of the leaves is typically green with a blue-green or sometimes silver color below.  This species likes sun and heat.  Cold tolerance is into the upper twenties F. 

In general, all Coccothrinax are slow growing plants.  This is especially true in container grown plants.  In the ground they are quicker growing.  Shown here is a one gallon
Coccothirnax miraguama var. havanensis. a variety native to a specific area of Cuba.  Also shown are C. miraguama
in domestic plantings. For the garden, Coccothrinax are nice species to grow because they take sun and heat and don't take up too much room.  As you can see, the crowns of leaves are not large.  And, they are strikingly different than anything else you'd be growing.  We have various species of this genus for sale in a variety of species.  
Coccothrinax miraguama var havanensis Coccothrinax miraguama var havanensis
Coccothrinax miraguama var havanensis Coccothrinax miraguama Coccothrinax miraguama
Coccothrinax miraguama Coccothrinax miraguama  


ORANGE PHILODENDRON HYBRID
Thank goodness for the meristem culture boys.  They are always hybridizing and developing something unreal and shocking.  With this said, check out this Philodendron hybrid that does indeed have newly emerging orange leaves.  They turn to green over time, but what a shocking color to add to the garden. Plants available in 5g size.
Philodendron orange  Philodendron orange 



FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2012 

CEROXYLON SPECIES
TALL, SOUTH AMERICAN PALMS
T
here are a lot of reasons that palm enthusiasts love the genus of Ceroxylon.  For starters, they are rare and you don't see them that often.  This allures collectors.  They are tall and rather thin for their height.  But, the trunks are gorgeous.  Almost all are light in color (near white) with prominent rings (see photos).  Another interesting characteristic is the silver color to the underside of the leaves.  Three photos here demonstrate this glaucous nature.  People also appreciate their very tall trunks.  Some species get well above 100 feet and are known as the tallest palms in the world.  Finally, for being so beautiful, they are remarkably cold hardy.  some species will survive temperatures into the teens F.  It is well known that they thrive up in Northern California.

About two years ago we were loaded with these rare palms.  We have about eight species up to 20g size.  Well, those days are over.  Now we are down to the a much smaller supply.  Shown here are some nursery plants, various species.  All are desirable and worth trying.  I've found that starting these plants in filtered light and letting them "work their way" up into the sun has worked for most.  They do like good draining soil and adequate moisture.  Santa Ana winds are hard on them and letting their roots go dry might do them in.  Remember that these are cloud forest plants that grow to altitudes of nearly 10,000 feet in habitat, so it is no surprise they like moisture and water..  .

If you like this genus, give one a try while we still have them available.  . 
 
Certoxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon alpinum 
Ceroxylon alpinum
Ceroxylon alpinum
 
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon amizonicum
Ceroxylon amizonicum
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon trunk
Certoxylon sp. trunk
Ceroxylon amixonicum
Ceroxylon amizonicum by TS
Ceroxylon quiduiiense leaf
Ceroxylon quinduiense
Ceroxylon sp. trunk by JS
Ceroxylon sp. trunk by JS
Ceroxylon species
Ceroxylon species

 

ALLOSCHMIDTIA GLABRATA
AKA BASSELINIA GLABRATA
 This is a thin trunk, crown shafted understory palm from New Caledonia.  It is rare and highly sought after by collectors.  It does well for us in Southern California if it gets enough moisture in the air and ground water.  It likes good draining, rich soil.  Maximum height is about twenty feet.  It is definitely an understory palm and cannot tolerate full sun.  The crown shaft is quite long for the thin nature of the trunk; it has a mild bulge in its shape an is prominently green in color.  The leaves are about four to five feet long.  Cold tolerance appears to be in the mid-twenties F., perhaps a bit lower (data limited).  Shown here are several 15g plants and a few pictures from habitat.  
Alloschmidtia glabrata  Alloschmidtia glabrata 
Alloschmidtia glabrata  Alloschmidtia glabrata  Alloschmidtia glabrata 
Alloschmidtia glabrata  Alloschmidtia glabrata  Alloschmidtia glabrata 
 

ARCHONTOPHOENIX TUCKERI
This species of King Palm is the most northern of all the species, coming from Queensland and named after the founder of the Townsville Palmetum in Australia.  It is a tall palm with trunk height of up to fifty feet.  The crown shaft, as shown, is a nice green color.  Sometimes slightly red new leaves emerge.  Enthusiasts in Southern California have found this to be not only an attractive species to grow but also very robust in its growth habit.  The underside of the leaves are silver.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F. and it can take coastal sun or part day sun inland.  We were lucky to recently get in some chunky, sun grown 5g plants as shown.  We only have a limited number.  

For those who think all King Palms are alike, this is not true.  They are similar, but not the same.  Different species show different crown shaft colors, different leaf appearances and most importantly, different mature sizes.  Why these other very exciting species haven't really made it into the trade is perplexing.
Archontophoenix tuckeri Archontophoenix tuckeri
Archontophoenix tuckeri Archontophoenix tuckeri Archontophoenix tuckeri
Archontophoenix tuckeri    

 

 

CRYOSOPHILA ALBIDA
THE STAR PALM
The genus of Cryosophila consists of
about nine species from Mexico south
through Central America and into northern
South America.  This is a fan palm of medium
size with prominent white color to the underside
of the leaves.  The trunks are thin and show
some modified spines that can form aerial roots
if given enough time.  This is a very attractive
palm.  This species, also known as Cryosophila
warscewiczi
, prefers AM sun or filtered light
and has potential to get to 30 feet height.  It is
somewhat cold hardy, probably into the mid-
twenties F.  Shown here is a 5g plant with one
shot showing the intense white underside of the
leaf.  Below is a photo by HJD of one showing
this white color.  The last photo is a shot of an
undetermined species of this genus, showing
its overall size.        
Cryosophila albida Cryosophila albida
Cryosophila albida by HJD  Cryosophila   
 

 

CLINOSTIGMA SAVORYANUM
THE PACIFIC BEAUTY PALM
We've discussed this palm previously, but because
it's so beautiful, I thought it merited another mention. 
This exotic single trunk, crown-shafted species
comes from Bonin Island near Japan.  It has been
proven possible to grow this species in warmer
areas of Southern California.  It is very exotic
appearing with a prominent green crown shaft.
Interestingly, there are several species of
Clinostigma that can be grown here. 
Clinostigma savoryana can potentially get to
a height of 30 feet or more and prefers a sunny
location.  Cold tolerance is down to about a
freeze. 
 
Clinostigma is a very exotic pinnate palm and would
be one of the more exotic and unusual of palm
types possible in this area.  Shown here are a 5g and
15g plant from our nursery.  Also shown are a
variety of sizes of domestic plants in Southern
California.  The sixth picture shows a Clinostigma.
I am not sure of the species name of this plant, but
it is definitely an exotic specimen.   BTW, I was just
at an enthusiast's garden yesterday in Encinitas, CA
and saw a gorgeous ten foot plant doing great.
     
Clinostigma savoryanum 15g Clinostigma savoryanum
Clinostigma savoryana 5g Clinostigma savoryana Clinostigma savoryana
Clinostigma Clinostigma savoryana  



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2012

 

ARENGA PINNATA
THE SUGAR PALM
As many of you know, Arengas are usually suckering palms.  But, there are several single trunk species.  Arenga pinnata is one of these.  It is felt to be native to Indonesia and is a large palm.  It is a pinnate palm with a fibrous trunk made from woven fibers.  Overall height is forty to fifty feet and the trunk gets to a diameter of two feet.  The leaves are held upright and can be over twenty feet long.  The leaflets, like all Arenga, has jagged terminal ends.  This is a monocarpic species and will die when the plant flowers.  Other suckering Arenga has new trunks to replace dying flowering trunks.  But, since this species has only one trunk, like a Caryota it will be gone a few years after the flowers appear.  The Sugar Palm is a full sun species with cold tolerance into the mid-twenties F.  Shown here are some 5g nursery plants and photos of mature specimens.  Note the woven material on the trunk.  It is very interesting to see in person.
Arenga pinnata Arenga pinnata
Arenga pinnata Arenga pinnata Arenga pinnata
Arenga pinnata Arenga pinnata  

 


CHAMAEDOREA ALTERNANS
This is a thin trunked, solitary stem species of
shade loving palm that comes from the eastern
coast of Mexico.  It gets to a height of about
ten feet or a bit more.  The trunks are approximately
one inch in diameter and have an interesting
characteristic where (often) multiple flower spikes
emerge at a single leaf nodes along the stem.  See the
photo below.  The leaflets are broad and green.
Shown here are an assortment of various sized
plants with close-ups to demonstrate this species.
It is closely related to Chamaedorea tepejilote.
It prefers filtered light and is cold hardy into the
mid twenties F.  We have a variety of sizes on this
hard to find species.  It is ideal for a thin strip area
where there is not too much room for planting.   
Chamaedorea alternans Chamaedorea alternans
Chamaedorea alternans male blossom Cham alternans Rusty Chamaedorea alternans leaflets

 

CHAMAEDOREA TEPEJILOTE

This is a very attractive single trunk Chamaedorea whose natural habitat spreads from Mexico through Central America and down into northern South America.  It is most commonly seen as a single trunk species, but a suckering species does exist.  As a single trunk species, it is quite tall, getting up to 20 feet or more.  The trunk is thick and even gets up to three inches.  The leaves are long and somewhat flexed toward the ground with a length of four to five feet.  The leaflets can be up to two feet long, have an "S" shape coming to a point, a flat in cross section and dark green in color.  Likewise, the trunks are very dark green with prominent white rings.  An interesting thing is that almost always one sees a faint yellow stripe down the dorsal side of the petiole and rachis.  This can help identify this species but is also seen in other species.  The blossoms are large and branched.  A male blossom can explode with pollen, almost like a cloud of dust.  Pollination usually occurs without assistance if males and female plants are nearby.  The inflorescent of this species are edible.  The seeds are dark black in color (when mature) on orange bracts. 

This species is easy to grow, cold tolerant into the mid to upper twenties F, and likes only shade.  Direct sunlight will burn it.  It is an excellent houseplant if one has enough overhead room.  Compared to C. alternans, it is a more powerful plant with a thicker and taller trunk.  It is also another species where planting more than one plant per pot is very attractive.  One photo shows the suckering species with a tiny sucker at the stem base.

 

Cham tepejilote trunk Chamaedorea tepejilote 15g
Cham tepejilote female seeds Cham tepejilote 15g Cham tepejilote yellow stripe
Cham tepejilote leaf Cham tepejilote suckering

 

 

BRAHEA DECUMBENS
Blue, Suckering, Dwarf, & Cold-Hardy
We have available a few of the 5g size of this fabulous dwarf palm that turns blue as it gets older.  It has to be at least 5 g size and in the direct sun to get the blue color.  Native to Mexico, this rare and hard to find species is perfect for people who see cold temperatures in the mid to upper teens F.  They never get over about six feet tall and are definitely blue when larger.  Shown is an example of one for sale.  We have voth one gallon and 5g for sale.  They like sun and take temperatures down to about 17 degrees F.  Enthusiast can use them in locations close to a walkway because they don't get too massive.  Of note, their growth rate is steady but slow.
Brahea decumbens 5g Brahea decumbens
Brahea decumens



WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2012

 

ALLAGOPTERA ARENARIA
BEACH PALM, SAND PALM
 
I am mentioning this palm from Brazil again because we just got in some very nice band sized plants.  We also have 5g swize.  This is a dwarf to semi-dwarf palm that loves growing in sandy soil, can live near the ocean and gets to a height of about six, perhaps maximum eight feet tall.  It does have a comparable width.  Its trunks can divide but it is not a true suckering palm.  The leaves are very plumose as shown; quite fluffy in appearance.  And, it has the most peculiar blossoms, as shown here.  Cold tolerance is into the low 20's F.  It typically prefers full sun. 
Allagoptera arenaria Allagoptera arenaria
Allagoptera arenaria Allagoptera arenaria Allagoptera arenaria
Allagoptera arenaria Allagoptera arenaria Allagoptera arenaria 

 

CYCAS BIFIDA
AKA CYCAD MULTIFRONDIS
This cycad gets its name from the dichotomously divided leaflets as shown in the many pictures here.  Note that leaflets seem to divide into two parts.  This species is from China and northern Viet Nam.  It holds a small number of leaves, typically three to five, that go upwards but can get to a height of over twelve feet.  The color is green.  The leaf stems are mildly armed.  It prefers filtered light and appears to be cold hardy into the lower teens F.  So, it is an exotic cycad species that looks really tropical but can be grown in some cooler areas.

Contrast the appearance of these leaves with the last photo of Cycas debaoensis.  The latter is a multipinnate leaf, so stems themselves divide and show more leaflets per primary leaf stem.  I might comment that, having grown quite a few of the "Cycas micholitzii complex" plants, there appears to be some variability in the appearance of Cycas bifida.  If you carefully look at the leaves of the four or five nursery plants shown here, you will see subtle differences from plant to plant.  But, none qualify as Cycas multipinnata or debaoensis, which both have branching leaflet stems. 

Of note, initially C. bifida was known as "C. multifrondis" and some still refer to it by this name. 


 
Cycas bifida  Cycas bifida 
Cycas bifida  Cycas bifida  Cycas bifida 
Cycas bifida  Cycas bifida  Cycas bifida 
Cycas bifida  Cycas bifida  Cycas debaoensis
Cycas debaoensis 
 


GAUSSIA MAYA
In the "old days", this species was known as Opsiandra maya, a name that I really enjoyed.  It is a single trunk palm that can be grown in Southern CA.  It has the interesting habit of getting a very swollen base, especially when planted in the ground from a smaller plant. Interestingly enough, this swollen base to the trunk if quite noticeable, but abruptly disappears with age.  It's quite fascinating because one day it's there and almost the next day it's gone.  I apologize that I don't have a photo to show this swelling, although some photos here hint at this swelling. 

Shown here are various specimens of this species with several box size.  We have several of these as well as smaller sizes for sale.  Along the coast it takes full sun.  Cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties F.  The plant you see immediately to the right saw temperatures outside in 2007 of 24 degrees.  The third photo is of a containerized plant in the greenhouse.  Note the swelling at the base.  I am also showing you a few pictures of larger domestic plants to give a feel for the species.  Typically this species only holds abut five or six leaves, one of its drawbacks.  The trunk diameter is about six to perhaps maximum eight inches.  I've grown it in part day sun, which it loved.  however, the trunk will often curve to seek more sun.  Some grow it in full sun with success.  The fifth picture below shows a plant with a curving trunk.  My first garden plant I grew with an eastern exposure and this is exactly what it did.

I''m showing a lot of photos of this species here so you should be able to recognize it.  These larger plants have taken me well over ten years to produce.   
Gaussia maya Guassia maya
Gaussia maya Gaussia maya Gaussia maya
Gaussia maya Gaussia maya Gaussia maya
Gaussia maya  Gaussia maya  Gaussia maya 
Gaussia maya  Gaussia maya  Gaussia maya 



MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2012

 

HYPHAENE
THE GENUS:  BRANCHING AFRICAN PALM
Hyphaene is a branching palm from southern and eastern Africa.  Yes, I mean "branching", just like a normal tree.  This is opposed to basal offsets at ground level known as suckers.  Hyphaene are sun-loving fan palms that are dioecious (males and females), prefer hot dry climate, can tolerate drought conditions, and don't like cold/wet winters.  There are about ten species and all have rough trunks with retained leaf bases.  Most have one major trunk that support several crowns of leaves.  But, this is variable.  I've seen plants with no branching.  The seeds are large with a fibrous attached fruit.  These seeds are very difficult to clean.  The leaves are large and color ranges from green to powder blue. 

From time to time, we have species of Hyphaene for sale.  Shown here is a Hyphanae coriacea in a one gallon size and a 15g plant.  Also shown are a variety of mature plants.  I'll also show some mature flowers with seeds.  Cold hardiness appears, on most, to be in the mid-twenties F.  If you are like most, your favorite will be Hyphanae crinita.  It is a really nice blue color, sometimes even white.  We don't have these right now but, from time to time, do have them available. 
Hyphanae coriacea
Hyphanae coriacea

Hyphanae coriacea
Hyphanae coriacea 15g
Hyphanae coriacea
Hyphanae coriacea
Hyphanae coriacea
Hyphanae coriacea
Hyphanae turbinata
Hyphanae turbinata
Hyphanae semiplaene
Hyphanae semiplaene
Hyphanae turbinata
Hyphanae turbinat seeds
Hyphanae crinita
Hyphanae crinita
Hyphanae crinita
Hyphanae crinita
Hyphanae crinita
Hyphanae crinitia
Hyphanae coriacea seeds
Hyphanae coriacea seeds
Hyphanae petersiana
Hyphanae petersiana
Hyphanae coriacea  

 

CYPHOPHOENIX NUCELE
Cyphophoenix is a genus of single trunk palms from the island of New Caledonia.  Specifically, Cyphophoenix nucele is from the small island east of the main island in New Caledonia.  It is named Lifou Island.  This species is a tall, thin, crown shafted palm wit less than one hundred plants left in the native habitat.  Height can reach fifty feet and trunk diameter is six inches.  The crown shaft is white to silver and essentially not swollen at all.  It has been grown by many successfully in Southern California.  Shown to the right is a nice 5g plant that we photographed yesterday.  Also shown are multiple pictures of larger plants.  When I visited New Caledonia, I did not make it to Lifou Island, so these pictures are from domestic plantings.  Most like to start this species in filtered light and allow it to grow eventually into the sun.  Cold hardiness is somewhere in the mid-twenties f.  Below is the other species of Cyphophoenix, C. elegans.
Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele
Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele
Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele
Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele

 

CYPHOPHOENIX ELEGANS
This species is also from New Caledonia in the northern part of the island.  It is of similar height to C. nucele and has the same trunk diameter.  The crown shaft on C. elegans is slightly more swollen than that of C. nucele.  The crown shaft is also more of a green color, but can show silver.  The leaflets are thinner and, as you can see, the leaves curve downward as opposed to the stiff, upright leaves of nucele.  Another important difference between the two is that the leaves of C. elegans are keeled whereas the leaves of nucele are more flat.  You might have to look at these photos and then go above to compare with the Cyphophoenix nucele to recognize these differences.  Of note, on both species the bare petiole (stem with no leaves) is very short.  This helps you identify this genus. 

Shown here is a 5g plant that I photographed yesterday.  Also shown are lots of photos of mature plants.  This species should be started in filtered light and be allowed to grow into some sun if you live along the coast.  Inland full sun is too harsh for this species.  Cold hardiness is into the mid-twenties F.
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans
Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans Cyphophoenix elegans

 

STANGERIA ERIOPUS
LEAFLET APPEARANCE
Stangeria eriopus is a dwarf cycad species from South Africa.  It has fern-like leaflets and overall fern-looking appearance.  One thing that has fascinated me about this species has been the variation in the appearance of its leaflets.  Some leaflets are flat, some are keeled (like the bottom of a ship) while others have leaflet edges than reflex downwards.  Some have smooth edges and others shown spination (as shown on several plants here).   And, some are undulating, sort of "wavy", while others have a flat surface.  The plant to the immediate right almost has "crinkled" leaflets.  With these pictures here I am going to try to show you some of these differences.  At this time I am unaware of any importance to this other than curiosity and diversity among the species.  There might be age related differences, but I have found similar differences among older plants as well. 
Stangeria eriopus Stangeria eriopus
Stangeria eriopus Stangeria eriopus Stangeria eriopus
Stangeria eriopus Stangeria eriopus Stangeria eriopus

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2012

 

PARAJUBAEA TORALLYI
SOUTH AMERICAN COCONUT
WEBSITE SPECIAL
This rare and nearly extinct species from Bolivia in South America is a single trunk pinnate palm that gets to about forty feet height with a twelve to eighteen inches in trunk diameter.  In its natural habitat high in the Andes Mountains, it sees a fair amount of cold weather.  In domestic gardens, reports of this species tolerating temperatures into the teens have surfaced.  Seeds are huge in size, expensive and germination is sporadic.  For the first time is a long time, we are pleased to offer affordable band sized seedlings as shown.  Our website special is $30 for these band sized plants.   Just mention this blog when ordering.  Remember, seeds on this species are expensive, sometimes 2 to 3 dollars each and one typically only gets a small percent germination.  So, this is a super fair price.  These can be easily shipped. This is a full sun species.  Growth rates are medium.  It would be an attractive replacement for the Queen Palm and nearly as cold tolerant.  This species has thrived in the San Francisco Bay area.  We also have plants available in 5g, 15g and some larger 25g specimens.  On the foliage close up picture, you can see the blue green color of the leaves, typical of this species.  The last photo, by an acquaintance of mine, Gaston Torres, is from PACSOA.  You can see this species makes a large, exotic tree.
Parajubaea torallyi Parajubaea torallyi 15g
Parajubaea torallyi Parajubaea torallyi  Parajubaea torallyi
Parajubaea torallyi Parajubaea torallyi PACSOA by Gaston Torres
Photo by Gaston Torres, PACSOA
 

 

DRACENA DRACO
THE DRAGON TREE
This species of Dracena actually makes a rather large tree.  It has thick silver leaves.  It is native to the Canary Islands.  It has the peculiar habit that, after a lengthy time, any given branch stops growing and then bifurcates or trifurcates, giving a very branched pattern. The trunk can get quite thick.  It has fragrant white blossoms.  It likes full sun and is cold hardy only into the mid-twenties F.  Shown here is the popular 5 gallon size which we've been out of for some time.  But, now we have several available.  Also shown is a larger nursery plant and a mature specimen.  I can obtain very large plants of this, but be aware that transport of large plants is risky.  It's sort of like moving a big Plumeria.  The branches can snap off.  Single trunk plants are a lot easier to deal with.  Eventually, they all fork and branch.
Dracena draco Dracena draco
Dracena draco Dracena draco Dracena draco

 

BUTIA X JUBAEA
Several months ago I got in a very limited number of
a rare cross.  This is Butia X Jubaea with Butia being
the seed bearing parent.  This cross is very difficult
to locate in a good size.  I presently have only a few
of these left.  Shown here is a 15g plant.  It has a blue
color, keeled leaves and many characteristics of
Butia.  But there are also traits of the Jubaea.
Interestingly enough, with the plants I've had, there is
variation in the appearance of the plants.  They
are not all the same.  It will be a fast growing, thick
trunked blue palm.  It's cold tolerance should be into
the mid-teens F.  It will demand a full sun exposure in
almost all areas. I first got in this batch of plants about
three months ago.  I have one or two left.  If you live in
a coler area and want something different and fairly
fast growing, this cross might be for you.  It'll give a
fast growing, thick trunked palm.
Butia X Jubaea Butia X Jubaea
Butia X Jubaea    

 

SABAL MAURITIFORMIS
Although I don't have photographs of a super tall specimen, this is a tall, thin trunked fan palm from southern Mexico and Central America that can attain a trunk height of over sixty feet.  This trunk goes straight up and is tan in color.  Leaves are six feet across, flat, and the segments form a near 360 degree swirl.  In other words, these fan leaves make almost a full circle.  This makes it very attractive.  Because of the genus Sabal's cold hardiness, they have become quite popular.  But, be aware this species is known as the "Tropical Sabal".  It will tolerate temperatures into the mid to low twenties F, but is not a species for people who see colds into the teens F.   It likes full sun but can tolerate filtered light.  It is a very slow growing species.  Huge tall specimens take many decades to attain this height.  

Shown here is a 5g plant.  The foliage is still juvenile.  Note the silver color on the back of the leaves, a characteristic of this species.  We should have a pretty good assortment of sizes for sale.  The last two photos show the full appearance of the leaves with the circular pattern to the segments. 
Sabal mauritiformis Sabal mauritiformis
Sabal mauritiformis Sabal mauritiformis Sabal mauritiformis
Sabal mauritiformis Sabal mauritiformis  

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2012

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

ARCHONTOPHOENIX PURPUREA
THE PURPLE CROWN SHAFT KING PALM
Having just discussed Oraniopsis, I thought I'd continue on to talk about the other predominant species in the Mt. Lewis area of Queensland, Australia.  Archontophoenix purpurea is known for the purple color to the crown shaft.  It is found at an elevation up to 4000 feet.  Mature height is quoted to be over fifty feet, but in habitat and culture I didn't see one this tall.  For types of King Palms, this species is stated to have the thickest trunk.  I don't think I agree with this and feel A. maxima is thicker.  Most I've seen have a trunk diameter of twelve inches or somewhat more.   The crown shaft is a bit bulging.  Below I'd like to state some of my observations about this species.  I'm going to number them for easy viewing:

1.  It is NOT the most cold hardy of the King Palm group.  25 degrees F. will definitely burn it and lower temps will kill it.  Two decades ago people said it was the most cold hardy.  This is not true.
2.  The degree of purple color you see in the crown shaft is quite variable.  If you see a picture of one with an intense purple color like on grape candy, it is probably "photoshopped".  Only once have I seen anything like this where the color is brilliantly purple.  Expect a light purple or reddish hue, which is much more common.  Sometimes they are more green than any other color.  And, you won't see the purple color when they are juvenile.  They have to have some trunk height before it can be seen.  So, when you buy one you just have to wait for the color.
3.  A good way to recognize this species as a juvenile nursery plant is from the yellowish color to the stem and petiole.  (see photos).  Also, the underside of the leaves are intensely silver as shown here.  The crown shaft is green on young plants.
4.  There are only two species of King Palms which have ramenta (small hair-like fibers) on the underside of the leaflets.  These are the A. cunninghamiana and A. purpurea.  So, check the underside of the leaves.  If you see ramenta and they are silver, you are looking at an A. purpurea.   (see 7th photo below).  One of the photos below shows this species in fruit.

Pictures here are an assortment of nursery plants, domestically grown plants and habitat specimens.  If you live in an area that doesn't get below the mid-twenties, it is a fun species to grow.
 
Archontophoenix purpurea

Archontophoenix purpurea 5g
Archontophoenix purpurea

Archontophoenix purpurea underside leaf
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea WITH RAMENTA
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea photo by HJD
Archontophoenix purpurea photo by HJD Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea
Archontophoenix purpurea Archontophoenix purpurea  

 

CHAMAEDOREA STOLONIFERA
This clumping, simple leaf Chamaedorea comes from Chiapas, Mexico.  It is one of my favorite dwarf palms for shade.  In habitat, it comes from elevations over 2000 feet.  This probably is the reason we see reasonable cold hardiness with this species.  The name of this species comes from the fact that plants produce "stolons".  Stolons are serpentine type of growth points that grow out from the plants like a curvy pencil.  They'll then dive below the soil, root out, and then re-emerge from the soil with leaves.  Sometimes you just see them shooting randomly out from the soil to make new stems.  This is different than the normal observation of a plant's just "suckering" near the base of an existing stem.  Stolons result in a colony being formed and the plants ability to spread laterally.  It also makes for simple removal of new plants for propagation.  You can merely dig and pot them up. The problem is finding one to dig; they are very rare.

Typical height of a mature clump of this species is about six feet.  But, because they can "run", the width is dependent on the age.  Leaves are about a foot long, simple in shape and bifid at the end as the photos show.  The first three photos show a nice, shippable size specimen that has a dozen or more canes.  It is very full and  pretty.  The blossoms show that it's a female.  We do have smaller 2 gallon size and a few boxes (fourth photo).  Cold hardiness is into the mid to low-twenties F. and this plant prefers filtered light.  Full sun will burn the leaves for sure.  We also have available 2g plants removed from known male and female clumps.  If you get two, you can obtain both sexes (they are marked as male or female) and set viable seeds.  This is also an appealing species if you like to do hybridization with Chamaedorea.  
Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera
Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera
Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera Chamaedorea stolinifera

 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2012

 

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

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

 

CHAMAEDOREA GLAUCIFOLIA
A TALL, THIN TRUNKED AND FAST GROWING SHADE PALM
I've been doing this blog for about sixteen months and have yet to mention this species.  I think this is because I am so fond of a very similar appearing species, Chamaedorea plumosa.  But, Chamaedorea glaucifolia is an old-time favorite of many enthusiasts. 

Chamaedorea glaucifolia is native to Mexico and is very fast growing.  It would not be unusual for a one gallon plant to be overhead in two years.  It gets its name from the glaucous material that the plant exudes on it's crown shaft, trunk and leaves.  This gives it a blue green color.  The second photo to the right shows this waxy material.  I intentionally rubbed my finger over it to show how it wipes off, showing the green crown shaft below.  The leaves are multi-ranked and plumose. The leaflets are very thin.  Trunk size is about one to one and a half inches thick.  I've found this species peaks out at about fifteen feet height.  It is prolific in seed formation and loves to hybridize with other nearby Chamaedorea species. 

I might comment that this is a species I would recommend planting with three or five plants close together.  It looks much better as a small colony.  And, you avoid the appearance of "leaves on a stick" when you do this.  It's cold tolerance is into the mid-twenties.  It tolerates part day sun or filtered light but is not as sun tolerant as C. plumosa.  I'd recommend trying this species because it is so different from most shade-loving palms.  It is also a very difficult species to photograph from afar.  Because of the thin leaflets, it just doesn't show up well.  
Chamaedorea glaucifolia Chamaedorea glaucifolia
Chamaedorea glaucifolia Chamaedorea glaucifolia Chamaedorea glaucifolia
Chamaedorea glaucifolia Chamaedorea glaucifolia Chamaedorea glaucifolia

 

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

 

NANNORRHOPS RITCHIANA WHITE
"NANNORRHOPS ARABICA"
This species is a suckering fan palm from the Middle East.  This includes the countries of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Leaf size is about four feet, height typically eight to twelve feet and width about ten feet.  Taller very old specimens do exist.  Trunks are about four to six inches thick.  The upper stem in the area of the leaf attachments are covered with a wooly, tan material. (see photo).  The presence of this material is a good way to identify this species.

The main thing I wanted to talk about this morning with Nannorrhops is the color of the leaves.  Interestingly enough, this genus is felt to be "monocarpic".  This means there is only one species in existence.  Recently seeds have become available of a type of Nannorrhops that has white or near white leaves.  Some call this Nannorrhops arabica, but I am not sure this is an accepted taxonomic name. This, of course, would make a second species of Nannorrhops.  Taxonomists typically don't get too excited about leaf color.  It's all about the flowers.  So, my suspicion, is that this would be given a "variety" category at best. 

In any case, we have a few of these available for sale.  They are difficult to find.  If you compare these with other Nannorrhops, you'll find the others are often a blue color, gray color or even green in color.  See the side by side comparison.  I've shown some mature specimens of regular Nannorrhops, but do not have a picture of a mature white form of this species.  Of note, these will sell out quickly.  They like sun and are cold hardy into the upper teens F. 
Nannorrhops ritcheana white FNannorrhops ritcheana white
Nannorrhops ritcheana white AND GREEN Nannorrhops ritcheana white Nannorrhops ritcheana
Nannorrhops ritcheana Nannorrhops ritcheana Nannorrhops ritcheana

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LICUALA RAMSAYI
For those who think that all fan palms are "desert palms", consider this species to change your mind.  Native to a coastal area in Queensland, Australia, this exotic species has proven to be a pretty good grower here in Southern California.  It comes from humid, sometimes swamp like localities natively.  In habitat, it initially grows as an understory palm because of competition of adjacent trees and taller ramsayi overhead.  But, over time, it works its way up into the sun.  Plants are single trunked.  This trunk is thin, typically about six inches, and in time smooth.  The leaves are divided into wide segments as shown, typically five to six feet across.  Height can easily reach over twenty feet and the tallest plants in QLD are over fifty feet.  The bottom row of photos were taken by my son Jesse and I in the year 2000, when we visited the habitat location.  There is also a shot of a juvenile plant in a garden here in Southern California.

Cold tolerance is somewhat below a freeze, perhaps to about 28 degrees F.  It is one of the more cold tolerant Licuala.  In a container, I would grow it in filtered light.  But, we've learned that, for this species to do well, you must eventually give it some sun.  So, along the coast, I'd recommend half day sun at least, perhaps morning sun being better.  If you are far inland, keep it out of direct sun.  Presently we have some nice 5g plants for sale as shown to the right. We just got these and they'll be gone in a week or so.

licuala ramsayi Licuala ramsayi
Licuala ramsayi Licuala ramsayi Licuala ramsayi by HJD
Photo by HJD
Licuala ramsayi Licuala ramsayi Licuala ramsayi

 

JUBAEA HYBRID
Recently a homeowner contacted me about a "Jubaea" they had and wanted to sell.  I had photos emailed to me and recognized that this plant was not a pure Jubaea.  This is because, as you can see, it doesn't look like a pure Jubaea.  The leaves are different and, at this size, the trunk shouldn't be so prominently filled with old leaf bases.  My guess is that it is a Jubaea X Butia.  In any case, it has been dug and moved by an associate of mine who specializes in large, crane sized plants..  It's in a 64 inch box and will be a very different, large trunked plant in someone's garden.  If interested, just let me know.  It was dug in the past week with a great root ball and should do fine with the transplant.  It'll be instant landscape for someone who likes different looking plants.  I'd estimate the trunk diameter will be three to four feet and overall height probably thirty feet or more. The last photo was sent to me by a homeowner and is a picture of his "Jubaea", which I also think is the same hybrid in the box.
Jubaea hybrid large box Jubaea hybrid
Jubaea hybrid being moved Jubaea hybrid  

 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2012

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

TWO DIFFERENT DYPSIS "SPECIES"
DYPSIS SP. "SLICK WILLY" AND TSARAVOSIRA
Jungle Music has been growing rare and unusual Dypsis species for well over two decades.  And, in the past twenty years, we've come across a lot of species of plants from Madagascar that were either something new and as of yet un-described, were mislabeled as another species, or just a plain unknown species.  In other words, at times we'd be growing something that no one knew for sure what it was.  There are a lot of reasons this happens.  First and foremost is the fact that there are a lot of species of Dypsis in Madagascar.  Second, not all have been named.  Third, there are crossovers or natural hybrids that are a bit different.  Finally, many seedsmen just don't know the name of the plant in front of them.  In some cases, it became a situation of "The blind leading the blind" in terms of trying to figure out what you had in front of you.  The reference book, Palms of Madagascar, by Dransfield and Beentje, helped a lot with identifying new things that came on the market.  Dransfield recently published a new edition with more species.  But, there is more work to be done. 

Shown here are two species we just got in.  The first is Dypsis species "slick willy".  This plant, first named by Mardy Darian after U.S. President Clinton, may be or is similar to Dypsis species "bef", a suckering species with medium sized trunks and height.  The second species, Dypsis "tsaravosira" is probably misnamed and should be considered Dypsis species unknown.  I mention these two species so Dypsis enthusiasts know that we have them.  They are in limited quantities and in the size shown.   I've shown photos of larger Dypsis tsaravosira, bef, and "slick willy" either from habitat or a domestic garden.  But, with the explanation above, there's always a bit of guessing and surprise when you get into Dypsis.  (see yesterdays post) 
dypsis species slick willy
Dypsis species slick willy
Dypsis tsaravosira
Dypsis species tsaravosira
Dypsis tsaravosira
Dypsis species tsaravosira
Dypsis tsaravosira
Dypsis tsaravosira
Dypsis species bef
Dypsis species bef
Dypsis species bef
Dypsis species bef
Dypsis species slick willy
Dypsis species slick willy
 

 

DYPSIS AFFINIS
WHITE CROWN SHAFTED PALM
I hope that I am not overwhelming you with Dypsis species.  It could be a never ending story.  But, I thought I'd show one more species that palm enthusiasts really like.  It is Dypsis affinis.  Interestingly, when you check Paul Craft's or John Dransfield's books on palms, you will not find this one mentioned.  Yet, among enthusiasts, many will know the exact palm you are talking about when you mention Dypsis affinis. 

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

 

 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2012

 

DYPSIS FLORENCEI
THE CANDY CANE PALM
This sought after clustering pinnate palm is from Madagascar.  It has the coined name "Candy Cane Palm" because of the irregular red markings of the crown shaft area set against a white/light colored upper stem.  It has pinnate leaves, a trunk diameter of a few inches at most, and an overall height under ten feet.  It is an extremely rare species and is difficult to grow outdoors.  You must provide warmth, humidity and good draining soil.  It is an understory palm, so filtered light is needed.  Cold tolerance is above freezing and it likes humidity.  It is being grown by many in Southern California, but HI or Florida would be a more ideal climate for this species.  Shown here is a nice 5g plant and more mature specimen.  The last photo was taken by Clayton York and is borrowed from PACSOA.  Crown shaft color is variable and young plants show a lot of speckling in this area as shown. Supplies of this species are inconsistent and extremely limited.  If you really want to try this species, just let me know and perhaps I'll have one for you.  

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

 

DYPSIS SPECIES "HAWAIIAN PUNCH"
SIMILAR TO NEOPHLOGA "PINK CROWN SHAFT"
From time to time we have available a rare palms called "Dypsis Species Hawaiian Punch".  This is obviously a coined common name.  They look quite similar to plants we previously discussed called "Neophlogra Pink Crown Shaft", an as of yet un-described single trunk pinnate species from Madagascar. The seeds source of these Hawaiian Punch plants says these are different.  It is a single trunk species with a narrow trunk, a pink to red colored crown shaft and a red, newly emerging leaf.  It is an understory palm.  I'd suspect its cold tolerance will be into the upper twenties F., but am not certain of this.  The first three photos here are the Hawaiian Punch plants.  All the rest are Neophloga Pink Crown Shaft, the last photo showing a few plants on one of our display benches.  Perhaps there are differences in the juvenile foliage shown here.  You can decide.  These promise to be a very attractive species for planting below the canopy in your garden.  They'll add color and interest.  Supplies of this species are quite inconsistent but we've got some from time to time.
Dypsis species Hawiaan Punch
Dypsis species Hawaiian Punch
Dypsis species Hawiaan Punch
Dypsis species Hawaiian Punch
Dypsis species Hawiaan Punch
Dypsis species Hawaiian Punch
Dypsis species pink crown shaft
Neophloga Pink Crown Shaft
Dypsis species pink crown shaft
Neophloga Pink Crown Shaft
Dypsis species pink crown shaft
Neophloga Pink Crown Shaft
Neophloga pink crown shaft
Neophloga Pink Crown Shaft
 

 

 

ACTINOKENTIA DIVARICATA
THE MINIATURE FLAME THROWER PALM
This thin trunked, medium sized palm comes from New Caledonia where it lives in habitat below overhead tree canopy.  It is very slow growing.  It has a trunk diameter, at maturity, of about three inches.  It has a cream colored crown shaft and a sparse crown of five to six leaves.  It is often seen "leaning" for light among competing plants.  For a nursery, producing a nice 5g plant takes about five years.  For this reason, few nurseries grow this species.  Planted in the garden, growth rate picks up a bit but is still slow.  Newly emerging leaves are often red in color.  If you are in a drier climate, this species would definitely take filtered light.  Since the trunk is small and the canopy is medium sized at most, it is a good species to "sneak into that small, filtered light area".  Cold tolerance is into the low twenties, F.  I've known this species to grow in the San Francisco Bay area.  We have a very limited supply of Actinokentia.  Of note, this is a monotypic genus with only one species in the genus.  Shown here are 5g plants, pictures from habitat and a few domestic photos. Note the long slender crown shaft and how plants don't carry very many leaves. We've been selling this species for over 20 years and typically have one or two for sale.  But, supplies may run out.
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata
Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata Actinokentia divaricata

 

 

ENCEPHALARTOS VILLOSUS
AN UPRIGHT CYCAD WITH GOLD CONES
 

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

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

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


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

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2012

 

ROYSTONEA PRINCEPS
THE SMALLER ROYAL PALM FROM JAMAICA
About four years ago I was lucky enough to make contact with a fellow that loves palms and often goes to Jamaica.  He told me he visited Roystonea princeps in habitat and asked if I wanted seeds.  That was a "no-brainer" for me and I replied "of course".  This relationship has let to a good supply of this desirable tall crown shafted Royal Palm.  Compared to Roystonea regia, this is a shorter palm, maximum height to sixty feet (not one hundred like regia).  Also, the trunk is more narrow with a small amount of basilar bulging.  Finally, the leaflets are multi-ranked giving a plumose appearance with some leaflets hanging down in a dependent fashion.  The crown shaft is emerald green.  Growth rate is similar to other Royals and cold tolerance is in the mid-twenties F.  Shown here are 2g, 5g and a 15g plant.  Presently we have the two smaller sizes from this wild collected seeds.  The two habitat photos were taken by RL.  Note the rather narrow trunk for a Royal Palm and the fluffy leaves.
ROYSTONEA PRINCEPS 5G Roystonea princeps
Roystonea princeps Roystonea princeps Roystonea princeps by RL
Roystonea princeps by RL Roystonea princeps  

 

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

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

By the way, I've written about Roystonea borinquena far below in this current thread of postings.  Check it out if you are interested.  Some feel it is the most cold hardy of all the Royals.
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
  Roystonea regia  

 

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 above) 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

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2012

 

WALLICHIA DISTICHA
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
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

 

DYPSIS LEPTOCHEILOS
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

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

 

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

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

 


DYPSIS LUTESCENS
THE BUTTERLY 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  with Rusty are some squate 20g plants.  We 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

 

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2012

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 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
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.  
Encephalartos kisambo cit pot Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo Encephalartos kisambo leaf Encephalartos kisambo cone

 

PRITCHARDIA GLABRATA
As you might know by now, I am quite fond of all the Hawaiian Fan Palm.  This is the only native species of palms in Hawaii.  Pritchardia glabrata is native to Maui and the Island of Lanai.  It ha 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
 

 

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 t olerance 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  

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

TRACHYCARPUS TAKIL
THE KUMAON PALM

This species comes from a very high mountainous area of northern India.  It grows at elevations above 7000 feet and sees bitterly cold winters.  Because of its native habitat, it has been touted and hoped by many to be the most cold hardy of the species of this genus.  It certainly can tolerate temperatures below 15 degrees F., but its lowest tolerance is still being determined.  In appearance, it is similar to Trachycarpus fortunei.  On mature trees and compared to the common Windmill Palm, however, it is taller with a thicker trunk, has a bigger crown of leaves with more actual leaves in the crown and larger individual leaves.  The leaves are also more stiff than the fortunei.  The trunk tends to lose its fibers more readily, giving it a cleaner appearing trunk.  A field note for distinguishing this species is that the hastula (a flap of tissue at the junction of the leaf stem with the palmate leaf) is twisted and askew.  Fortunei are not this way.  Growers also comment on how the trunk of containerized plants is a bit more tidy with prominent hairs near the point of emerging new leaves.

Trachycarpus takil first became recognized as a species in the past fifteen or so years.  Research on this (and other Trachycarpus) species has been done by Tobias Spanner and Martin Gibbons.  Tobias has also been a source for authentic seeds of this species.  The trick from a commercial point of view is to be sure you have the right thing.  As a seedling, it is near impossible to be sure what you have.  We recently got in some very nice 15g plants that I feel are the true takil.  Note the close up views of the off-center hastula.  Also note the paper-like long fibers in the crown and the leaves that seem stiff and don't reflex down.  We have a limited number of these available in the 15g size.  We also have smaller plants.  I wish to thank my friends, Tobias and Martin, for allowing me to show you the last two photos from habitat.

 

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

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2012

 

SABAL MINOR
COLD HARDY DWARF PALMETTO PALM
This palm is the most northerly native palm in the United States.  It's habitat extends from Texas east, through the Gulf sates and Florida, and up into the Carolinas.  In Texas it can be found near Dallas and its range extends well south into Mexico.  As you might imagine, the Latin derivation for the species name refers to "small". 

The size of this species is quite variable.  Depending on the native locality, trunks can be non-existent or up to ten feet.  On the average specimen, I'd estimate height to be about five perhaps six feet.  But, shorter and taller plants do exist.  It is common in some areas to see trunks crawling along the ground (arborescent trunks).  I'll see this in old potted plants; the palm seems to crawl from one side of the pot toward the other.  The leaves are about three to four feet wide, deeply divided into stiff segments.  They are costapalmate leaves.  Sometimes these leaflets have a gap between two groups of segments.  One easy way to identify this plant is to see a blossom spike develop and go above the plant.  As a rule, when you see this, you are looking at a Sabal minor if the leaves are deeply divided.  Seeds, as shown here, are small and black.  The mature plant shown in the ground here is from Balboa Park, San Diego.

Cold hardiness is quite remarkable.  It can easily tolerate the mid-teens F. and I've received reports of it surviving much colder temperatures.  It can survive in partial sun and has an affinity for water.  Along the coast, it easily tolerates full sun as well.  Shown here are 15g plants and a band.  We usually have this species in stock, one size or another.
Sabal minor Sabal minor
Sabal minor Sabal minor Sabal minor
Sabal minor Sabal minor Sabal minor
Sabal minor Sabal minor Sabal minor

 

ALLAGOPTERA ARENARIA
THE SEASHORE PALM, THE SAND PALM
A DWARF PINNATE TYPE PALM
Since I talked about a dwarf fan palm above, I thought I'd jump right to a dwarf pinnate palm from Brazil.  The reason it's called the "Seashore" or "Sand Palm" is because it lives in a sandy environment right next to the ocean in southern Brazil.  There it can be found literally on sand dunes close to the water.  It's height is typically six to eight feet tall.  Its leaves are plumose (fluffy) and about four to six feet long.  The leaflets are very thin.  Color is a silver-green.  This is a single trunk palm.  But, with so many leaflets, they appear to be suckering.  It is known that individual trunks can bifurcate, but taxonomists say this species does not sucker.  Also, note the peculiar blossom of this species as shown.   This is an attractive foreground palm where view over the plant is needed.  It is unarmed.  Mature specimens can be wider than they are tall.    

Presented here are some band sized plants just available as well as a 5g plant.   This species likes sun along the coast and is cold tolerant down to the lower 20's F.  It's growth rate is slow to medium.  Plants can tolerate partial sun as well.   

allagoptera arenaria allagoptera arenaria
allagoptera arenaria allagoptera arenaria allagoptera arenaria
allagoptera arenaria allagoptera arenaria allagoptera arenaria

 

 

RHAPIDOPHYLLUM HYSTRIX
THE NEEDLE PALM, ANOTHER DWARF PALM
THE WORLD'S MOST COLD HARDY PALM!
To finish off this series on dwarf palms, I thought I'd mention this really unique species from the Southern United States.  This particular species, the Needle Palm, is without doubt, the most cold hardy of them all.  It can tolerate temperatures below zero degrees F.  People have been able to grow this species (sometimes with cold protection) in "non-palm growing" areas such as Utah, New Mexico, Ohio, New York, etc.  It is not a tall species, typically getting to about eight feet.  It is a fan palm, it suckers freely and in many areas tolerates full sun.  I like it the most when it's grown in strong filtered light or part day sun.  The last photo shows how, in less than full sun, this species shows a "Rhapis-looking" leaf with a dark, olive green appearance. It is native to southeast United States.  We typically have available an assortment of sizes from seedlings and 5g plants and sometimes 15g plants.  This is a slow growing species and for me to make a nice 15g takes about 8 years.  It is called the Needle palm because of long, thick needles on its trunks.  Seeds are produced on very short flower stocks, so collecting seeds means you have to carefully reach in between needles to get your harvest.  

Rhapidophyllum hystrix Rhapidophyllum hystrix
Rhapidophyllum hystrix Rhapidophyllum hystrix Rhapidophyllum hystrix
Rhapidophyllum hystrix Rhapidophyllum hystrix Rhapidophyllum hystrix

 

ARENGA ENGLERI
THE DWARF SUGAR PALM

This suckering pinnate palm is native to lower mountainous areas of Japan and Taiwan.  It is usually under ten feet in height and is often as wide as it is tall.  It is not as small as the three species above but would be considered a rather small palm.  It is a suckering, multi-stemmed species with woven fibrous material on the trunks.  The leaf color is green and leaves are typically five to eight feet long.  The leaflets have jagged ends and are silver on the underside. This silver color always helps you distinguish this species from Caryota, which are always green on the under side of the leaf.

This species is quite cold hardy and known to grow in northern California and colder parts of Texas.  It can be grown in filtered light or full sun if you are in a coastal area.  Because of its fullness, it is a great species to "hide the neighbor", thus giving privacy.  Shown here is a whole assortment of available sizes, starting at one gallon on up to a boxed specimen.  This species is a slow growing plant and it takes many years to produce a good sized specimen.  The last picture shows a plant in full sun at Balboa Park, San Diego. An interesting thing is that the flowers from this species are extremely fragrant and as nice smelling as a Gardenia.  If you ever collect fruit, wear gloves as the fruit will make your hands itch.
Arenga engleri Arenga engleri
Arenga engleri Arenga engleri Arenga engleri
Arenga engleri Arenga engleri Arenga engleri

 

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 

CHAMAEDOREA SEIFRITZII
A TYPE OF BAMBOO PALM 



This medium sized, suckering and shade loving palm comes from Southern Mexico and parts of Central America.  It is one of the most commonly used and sought after of all the species in the genus.  It has very thin trunks, rather short leaves and typically gets up to eight, perhaps ten feet overall height.  The flower brachts are orange.  When someone says "Bamboo Palm", this is the species they areI want to tell you why this species is far from my favorite species of
Chamaedorea.  But, realize that I do grow them for people who "have to have them".  Such people are usually landscapers who are trying to fulfill what the architect called for.  It's the only "bamboo palm" known by most landscape architects.  But, as someone who grows lots of species of Chamaedoreas, I will readily admit that there are far superior and I think prettier Bamboo Palms.  In my opinion, Chamaedorea hooperiana and costaricana are much prettier.  C. seifritzii also has more problems with fungal infections than the others. On the positive side, this species does have curiously thin canes and tends not to take up too much room horizontally.  Regarding culture, this is a filtered light species and tolerates cold temperatures down into the mid, perhaps low twenties F.
Chamaedorea seifritzii Chamaedorea seifritzii
Chamaedorea seifritzii Chamaedorea seifritzii Chamaedorea seifritzii
Chamaedorea seifritzii Chamaedorea seifritzii Chamaedorea seifritzii

 

CYCAS SPECIES
A BIT OF A MYSTERY
At our nursery, we do have a large number of plants.  Sometimes this causes plants to "get lost".  In other words, one of my workers will say something like "look what I found".  This plant is one of these discoveries.  Joaquin, who's been with me for seventeen years, tells me I brought this plant up from San Diego when we opened our Encinitas location.  It's been outdoors in our growing grounds in full sun all this time.  This gives it an age of twenty years plus.  It has short leaves with short, minimally armed petioles.  The caudex is about a foot tall with hundreds of old leaf base scales.  Diameter of the caudex is under six inches.  This is a very compact plant for it's age. 

Re the exact species, I'm not quite sure.  I did have some small Cycas armstrongii back then, but this plant doesn't really look like this species.  Also, I was also bringing in an assortment of Cycas seeds from Thailand and other parts of Asia at that time.  I think I'll just leave it at "species" and hope that a future cone may help with the ID'ing of this plant.  It may end up being Cycas media (see below) or a similar species.  In any case, it's small and very attractive.. 
Cycas species Cycas species
Cycas species Cycas species  

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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 rought "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
 

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2012

 

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

 

TRITHRINAX ACANTHICOMA
AKA TRITHRINAX BRASILIENSIS

To finish off the genus of Trithrinax, I thought I'd mention the third and last species of this genus.  It 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, SEPTEMBER 14, 2012

 

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

 

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, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012

 

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

 

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

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

 

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
 

 

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

 

ZAMIA PSEUDOPARASITICA
AN EPIPHYTIC CYCAD


This is a very unique cycad species from eastern Panama because it is an epiphytic species that lives on the limbs of overhead trees.  Its leaves are three to nine feet long, pendant, and hang down toward the ground.  Trunks have been reported up to a meter long.  Therefore, you would look up into the overhead canopy and see a cycad growing with long leaves hanging down, out of the tree, toward you.  It is truly a remarkable and beautiful species.  Contrast this growth habitat to the normal terrestrial cycad. 

Growing it domestically can be a challenge.  Most recommend growing it in a basket with quick draining soil.  If you do this, you must maintain adequate moisture to the roots.  This is because of the Atlantic slope location of its habitat, where it is used to very heavy rainfall.  When we grow these, we mix our cycad soil with 50% coarse sphagnum moss.  Water just gushes through the pot.  We've used baskets as well.  This species likes filtered light and is damaged by temperatures below freezing.  Recently we've not had these available, but found one in our inventory.  I have photographed it for you here.  It has approximately a 2 inch caudex with two leaves and two new leaves emerging.  The plant in the orange container is from a previous plant we had.  The other pictures are from RM in Panama.  These include a close up of a caudex with no leaves and several hanging basket plants. 
Zamia pseudoparasitica Zamia pseudoparasitica
Zamia pseudoparasitica Zamia pseudoparasitica by RM Zamia pseudoparasitica
Zamia pseudoparasitica by RM    

 

 

WASHINGTONIA FILIFERA
CALIFORNIA FAN PALM

This 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

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012

 

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

 

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 in cross section and more or less upright with minimal re-curve.  The leaf stems are rather clean at the base and have no barbs.  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 

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2012

 

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

 

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 

 

CARYOTA URENS
FISHTAIL PALM
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. 
Caryota urens 25g Caryota urens
Caryota urens Caryota urens 15g Caryota urens Balboa park

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2012

 

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

NANNORRPHOPS RITCHEANA
A suckering palm from the Middle East that has anywhere from a green color to a prominent blue, gets to a height of about eight feet and is cold hardy into the upper teens F. and likes sun.
Nannorrhops r. band  
SABAL MINOR
A dwarf Sabal that never gets over about four feet tall, is single trunked, has fan leaves with prominent flower spikes that come above the foliage.  Native to the southern U.S., this species is cold hardy into the mid teens F. It wants full sun.
 
Sabal minor band  
TRITHRINAX CAMPESTRIS
This South American palm is a fan palm, suckers, has a very blue color, likes full hot sun and surprising cold tolerance.  It can take temperatures into the mid teens F.  Overall height is about ten feet or less.  
Trithrinax campestris band  
ENCEPHALARTOS TRISPINOSUS
This South AFrican rare cycad species is extremely blue when grown in the sun   nd never gets overly large.  A plant five feet tall would be a big plant.  It likes full sun, heat and good drainage.  Cold hardiness is into the low 20's F.
 
Encephalartos trispinosus  
CERATOZAMIA HILDAE
This is a shade loving dwarf cycad that has interesting groups of leaflets along the stem.  It typically is never over four feet tall.  It is a very "cute" species and cold tolerant into the lower twenties f.
Ceratozamia hildae  
ENCEPHALARTOS CERINUS
This is another South African cycad.  This is a dwarf species with a trunk that is typically under six to eight inches in size.  Leaves are about three feet long and fluffy appearing.  It likes sun and good drainage.  Cold tolerance is about 22 degrees F.  Cycads are easy to cold protect.
Encephalartos cerinus band  
DYPSIS BETAFAKA
This Madagascar species resembles a more blue colored Dypsis decipiens.It is a new introduction.  It may sucker over time, this is not well known.It will want sun and should be cold hardy into the lower 20's F.
Dypsis betafaka band  
DIOON TOMASELLII
A Mexican cycad, this species prefers strong filtered light or perhaps full sun along the coast.  It is a medium sized plant with leaves about five to six feet long.  The interesting thing is the curve of the leaflets in a sickle like downward curve.  This is seen in only a few cycad seedlings.  Cold hardiness into the low 20's f.
 
Dioon tomasellii band  
STANGERIA ERIOPUS
This species looks more like a fern than a cycad.  It is from South Africa and is quite easy to grow.  It can take sun along the coast or filtered light inland.  Cold hardiness is like other species, into the low 20's f.  It is a dwarf species with leaves about three feet long.
STangeria eriopus band  
BURRETIOKENTIA KOGHIENSIS
This New Caledonian palm is single trunk, pinnate,
and has a white crown shaft.  It is very beautiful and a quick
growing plant.  It likes full coastal sun or part day sun/filtered light inland.  Cold tolerance is into the mid, perhaps lower 20's F.  It is rare and hard to find.
Burretiokentia koghiensis band  
PRITCHARDIA MUNROII
As you can see here, some of our band plants are huge, bigger than most nursery's one gallon plants.  This is an example of that.  P. munroii is native to Hawaii and is a medium sized fan palm that will take full sun along the coast, wants protection inland, and has a broad, flat
green leaf.  It is a very pretty species and hard to find.
Pritchardia munroii band  
DYPSIS AFFINIS
A beautiful white crown shafted palm that gets to heights of fifteen feet or less, sometimes suckers, and has thin to medium sized trunks.    
dypsis affinis band  
LICUALA ELEGANS
Exotic fan palm from Asia with wide, flat leaf that likes filtered light and can tolerate mild frosts.  It is slow growing but worth the wait. 
Licual elegans band   
     
DYPSIS SPECIES DARK MEALY BUG
A sought after species of Dypsis from Madagascar.  The mature appearance of this species is unclear at this time, but most think it will be super
desirable. 
 
Dypsis species dark mealy bug
 
 
DYPSIS PRESTONIANA
This highly sought-after, single trunk species from Madagascar is very beautiful.  This species comes from mid-elevation in southern Madagascar and is proving to be a great species for Southern California.  It has a height of over 30 feet, a thick trunk that is about 12 to sixteen inches thick with prominent rings, plmuose upright leaves and a colored crown shaft.  Cold tolerance appears to be into the mid-twenties but is not yet worked out.  Mature trees tolerate full sun along the coast. 
Dypsis prestoniana band

 
PARAJUBAEA TORALLYII
This is a medium to large sized, single trunk, non-crown
shafted palm that comes from South America.  It is sometimes called the "South American Coconut".  It is fast growing, likes sun, and cold tolerant down to the low 20's F.
Parajubaea torallyii band  
 

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

 

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

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

 

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 drainig soil. I'd say rate of growth is slow.

we just 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

 

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 

 

CYCAS SPECIES "THAILAND SILVER"
This is another seldom seen species from Thailand.  It is known for the fact that it throws a new set of leaves that emerge silver.  These leaves change to green over time.  We came across this species because, about fifteen years ago, there were a small number of seeds from habitat that became available.  After all this time, the plants are of good size with caudexes up to about eight inches.  My suspicion is that they will have somewhat of a bottle shape to the trunk.  We have several of these for sale.  After these are gone, I suspect you won't see them available for a while.  I would grow this species in part day sun.  Cold hardiness appears to be in the mid-twenties F.  Overall size is anticipated to be about 8 feet when mature, although this is not well documented.
Cycas species Thai silver  Cycas species Thai Silver 

 

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  

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2012

 

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.
Livistona chinensis 15g Livistona chinensis 15g
Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis 
Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis Livistona chinensis 
 


HYOPHORBE LAGENICAULIS X VERSCHAFELTII
THE BOTTLE PALM CROSSED WITH THE SPINDLE PALM
A GREAT HYBRID!

All plant enthusiasts love the genus Hyophorbe.  This genus of five species comes from the Mascarene Islands.  All are single trunk species with interesting trunks, pinnate leaves and peculiar flower bracts.  Of these, the Bottle Palm, H. lagenicaulis, is the most popular.  It has a swollen, bottle shaped base with a thinner trunk above this fat base.  The H. verschafeltii, the Spindle Palm, is thinner at the base and swells in the mid trunk or toward the top.  On mature specimens, the trunk is cigar shaped.  Both tend to be short palms, hardly ever over twelve feet tall except in habitat or with hundred year old trees.  Both require sun and heat to grow.  Another difference is that the Bottle Palm, especially when younger, has a dark red color in the stems and petiole whereas the Spindle is a yellow-gold color. 

However, the Bottle Palm has the weakness for us in California that it doesn't tolerate cold temperatures.  A freeze or even temperatures in the mid to low thirties F., will burn or kill it.  The Spindle Palm is more cold tolerant.  There are very few nice sized H. lagenicaulis growing here because of our cold, but a nice number of H. verschefeltii.  But, enthusiasts love the swollen base of the Bottle Palm. 

The perfect solution is a hybrid of the two.  And, I recently got in some massive 15g hybrids of the Bottle Palm crossed with the Spindle Palm.  These have been outdoor grown and already seen temperatures below freezing for many years.  I'd estimate their cold tolerance at 28 degrees.  They show the basilar swelling of the bottle, but the leaf color of both with yellow in the petiole.  And, the mere fact that they've survived cold weather outdoors here rules out they're being pure Bottle Palms.  The bases are ten inches in diamter.  We've only got a small number of these.  They are ready for a box or the garden.  No acclimation is needed.  If you need an interesting short palm for full sun, this might be the perfect plant for you.  The last photo is of a hybrid, but the reverse cross.  It is at the PACSOA website and by George Lao. I do not have a mature specimen photo of this actual hybrid. 

We're almost sold out of these, so don't miss out!
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis base
Bottle Palm


Hyophorbe verschafeltii base
Spindle Palm
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis
Bottle Palm


Hyophorbe verschafeltii
Spindle Palm
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis x verschafeltii Hyophorbe lagenicaulis x verschafeltii Hyophorbe lagenicaulis x verschafeltii
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis x verschafeltii hyophorbe lagenicaulis x verschafeltii Hyophorbe lagenicaulis x verschafeltii
Hyohorber lagenicaulis x verschafeltii Hyophorbe hybrid by George Lao, PACSOA
H. verschafeltii x lagenicaulis, Pacsoa by G. Lao
 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2012

MESSAGE TO READERS OF THIS BLOG


I've been doing this Blog for about 15 months now.  I've covered hundreds of species of palms, cycads and tropical plants and posted thousands of photographs. 
It's been viewed by tens of thousands of people.  But, I need feedback from you, the reader.  I would like to know what you like.  And, how you prefer it's presented. 
More text?  More pictures?  Less of either of these.  What part of this blog do you enjoy the most?  Are there species or groups that you'd like to see me present?
Also, and very important, can you view this thread easily?
 
It's easy to email me feedback.  Just click on the link below to "Email Feedback to Phil".  If the link doesn't work for you, email me at phil@junglemusic.net
I thank you for your time.
 
I apologize, but I can't post new species this morning.

Phil Bergman

EMAIL FEEDBACK TO PHIL
  

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2012

 

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

 

ROYSTONEA REGIA
THE CUBAN ROYAL PALM
Since I introduced a Royal Palm above, I thought perhaps I should say something about the most common Royal Palm that you'll see around: The Cuban Royal Palm, Roystonea regia.  This species gets extremely tall, even to one hundred feet.  It is native to a vast area including Mexico, parts of Central America and almost all the Caribbean Islands.  Trunk diameter is 2feet, even more at the base, which is sometimes massively swollen.  Crown shafts are long and emerald green in color.  Leaves are about fourteen feet and older ones hang down past the horizontal midline of the crown. (contrast this with R. oleracea which don't hang down)  Cold tolerance is into the mid twenties.  Twenty-five degrees F. definitely shows foliar damage.  It is a sun loving species and has been known to grow in full sun in Phoenix, AZ.  This species does like ample water. 

We always have some sizes available for sale.  The second and third photos show large boxes that we can provide on demand.  They are extremely heavy.  The next to last photo shows several plants on Morena Dr. in San Diego, CA, that almost died during 2007 when they saw temperatures into the low 20's.  But, they came back.  The last photo is a picture of Louis Hooper's plant in La Habra, CA.  About five years ago another enthusiast later bought it from Louis and successfully dug and moved it to Anaheim Hills, CA.  It is still alive today.  Large Royals can be dug and moved, but it is very risky and you have to know what you are doing.

 
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia Roystonea regia moreno san diego
Royals on Morena Dr., San Diego
Roystonea regia hooper
Royal on Mansfield in San Diegoe/span>

 

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
 

 


DUDLEYA BRITTONII
THE CHALK DUDLEYA PLANT
I don't pretend to be an expert on succulents, but I know what I like in this interesting group of plants.  Since I first saw this peculiar near white plant, I fell in love with it.  Dydleya are a group of xerophytic plants with many species being chalky blue to white in color.  This species is native to Baja California and grows in a rosette pattern and never gets very large.  A large plant would be twelve inches across.  Its leaves are covered with a chalky white powder, thus giving it its extreme glaucous color.  This wax cover prevents dehydration of the plant.  It wants sun and heat to grow well.  It is hardy to frosts.  It doesn't like to be watered at all during the colder months.  I had a friend who had one of these in a pot on an outdoor table.  He told me that, for ten years, he has never watered it.  And, it looked superb.  We just got in some one gallon plants.   We are selling these for $25.  They can be easily shipped.  Our plants had not yet been put into full sun.  So, they will get a lot more white colored quickly in the sun.  This is an ideal species for close to a walkway in full sun.  And, for native plant people in these areas, it would qualify as several species of Dudleya live natively in So Cal.  The last photo is borrowed from Wickipedia, unknown photographer, to show the appearance of a mature plant. 
Dudleya brittonii  Dudleya brittonii 
Dudleya brittonii Wickipedia unknown photographer 
Wickipedia, unknown photographer
   

CALOCASIA SPECIES
BLACK ELEPHANT EAR
Calocasia are a group of water loving, tropical companion plants that add appeal to the garden.  We just got in some black colored species.  They appear similar to C. esculente black magic, but have been reported to us to be more cold hardy.  These are outdoor grown plants that have seen a freeze.  They are black in color with a blue-black underside to the leaves.  Height should be two to three feet.  They prefer part day sun or filtered light.  They do like water.  We have some 5g plants at a very affordable price. 
Calocasia black magic  Calocasia Black Magic by httpmembers.iinet.net.au~meckmsColocasias.html.jpg
 by httpmembers.iinet.net.au~meckmsColocasias.html.jpg
Calocasia black Calocasia black magic by Wayside Gardens
photo by Wayside Gardens 
 

 

BISMARCKIA NOBILIS
SPECIAL PRICE, $65 FOR 15G SIZE!
We jrecently got in a special group of 15g Bismarckia nobilis from another grower These plant are reasonably sized as shown in the first photo.  All the leaves are palmate.  They have been outdoor grown and seen temperatures into the mid-twenties F.  For the next two weeks, we're charging just $65 for these 15g plants.  They are about 30 to 36 inches talland showing good color.  They are sun grown and in a heavy soil mix.  We don't have many, so come by and get this great blue species of palm at a great price.  I'll show a few photos of mature plants for those not familiar with this species.  It likes full sun and is cold tolerant to about 23 degrees, perhaps a bit lower.

If you note the leaves have a purple color mixed in with the silver, you are correct.  You see this when plants are outdoor grown, fully exposed and see cold weather.  Some feel this purple guarantees you that you'll get a nice blue color when mature.  In other words, with maturity they stop showing the purple; it's replaced with pure blue.
Bismarckia nobilis  Bismarckia nobilis 
Bismarckia Bismarckia   

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012

 

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

 

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 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 pattens 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 

 

PTYCHOSPERMA ELEGANS
THE SOLITAIRE 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.
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 species.  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

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2012

 

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-maraisiiF
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 

 

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2012

 

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

 

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


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

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2012

 

BRAHEA CLARA
More Tolerant of Humidity Than B. armata?
This is a single trunk, blue fan palm from the area of Sonora in Mexico.  It is closely related to Brahea armata and some would consider it a variant of the latter.  But, there are others who praise the interesting characteristics of this "species".  First and foremost is that fact that people in the southern U.S. say this species tolerates the humid summers bettter than the desert-loving Brahea armata.  People in the San Francisco bay area say it grows better there and doesn't seem to demand as much hot weather in the summer.  Brahea armata has to have hot summers.  Others claim it's faster growing than armata, and this is probably true.  There are some who feel this fast growth is because of natural hybridization with Brahea brandegeei in the wild.  Others will tell you that the petiole is longer, has a different color and the crown is more open. 

So, what does one make of all this?  You have to be the judge.  All I can say is that I got in some very nice and chunky 15g plants as shown here.  These reportedly were from wild collected seeds.  This will be a medium sized, full sun palm that takes temperatures into the mid-teens.  And, if you like blue and live in the South, perhaps this is the species to get.  BTW, there are very few photos of this species on the Internet.  The last photo shows a 15g Brahea armata for comparison.
Brahea clara 15g Brahea clara 15g
Brahea clara 15g Brahea clara 15g Brahea clara 15g
Brahea clara by TS at RPS
photo by TS at RPS
Brahea armata 15g
For comparison, Brahea armata in a 15g pot
 

 

ZAMIA PAUCIJUGA
EASY TO GROW, RARE DWARF CYCAD
This is a dwarf Zamia from Mexico, specifically on the Pacific Coast side of the central Mexico near Puerto Vallarta.  It natively lives under oak trees in filtered light.  Mature caudexes are three to four inches.  Leaves are typically two, maximum three feet long.  Leaflets are leathery, green and have fine spines on the apical half of the leaves.  Males cones (shown here) are about 10 cm long and light brown in color.  This species tolerates strong filtered light or perhaps full sun along the coast.  Inland areas require protection from bright sun. 

I just got in some mature Zamia paucijuga.  It is so rare that ones sees such plants for sale.  By report, these plants are from habitat collected seeds well over ten to fifteen years ago.  They have already seen cold weather in the mid to low 20's F.  These were grown in rather bright sun.

I might warn you that, if you do an Internet search on this species, you are going to see some mislabeled plants of this species.  Some will even have long thin leaflets with pronounced drip tips.  These are not true Zamia paucijuga.  Hybridization of Zamia occurs frequently.  As far as I know, these plants shown here are pure and true to the species.
Zamia paucijuga Zamia paucijuga
Zamia paucijuga Zamia paucijuga Zamia paucijuga
Zamia paucijuga leaflets    

 

BONZAI ROCK FICUS
TWENTY YEARS IN A SMALL POT
I don't pretend to be a bonzai expert nor do we have a bonzai nursery.  About twenty years ago I bought a Ficus plant that I was told was a 'Rock Ficus".  I was told that, if you planted it on top of a rock, the roots would wrap around the rock in a very unusual manner.  I did not do this at the time.  Recently I came across a plant that I was told had been in this pot for twenty years.  It looks like that rock Ficus from years ago.  It has the most unusual exposed trunks or roots as shown.  It almost resembles the legs of an animal.  I thought it was so interesting that I bought it and brought it to the nursery.  It is as shown.  I am not sure of the species name of the Ficus.  It's a one of a kind thing and is for sale.  It might make a wonderful patio plant or perhaps a one-of-a-kind interior plant in a very bright window location.

I know this type of plant is off-theme, but once in a while I like to show something to surprise you. 
Bonzai rock Ficus Bonzai rock Ficus
Bonzai rock Ficus Bonzai rock Ficus Bonzai rock Ficus

 

PHOENIX THEOPHRASTII
PERHAPS THE MOST COLD HARDY PHOENIX
Recently I talked about this species.  Please scan below a few weeks ago.  I just wanted to show some new 15g plants that I got in that are really nice.  This species is suckering (typically) and is from the island of Crete.  It is a bristly palm with lots of spines.  It has a pronounced yellow color in its petioles.  But, most important to people in cold areas, it is possibly the most cold hardy of all the Phoenix, even better than the Canary Palm.  It is somewhat smaller than Phoenix dactylifera and the leaves are green in color.  Shown here are views of the new plants I got in. It likes sun and cold tolerance should be about 15 degrees F.  The last photo shows a single trunk plant (RPS website), perhaps pruned this way or perhaps naturally single trunk.  You can see that it is a medium sized palm species. 
Phoenix theophrastii Phoenix theophrastii
Phoenix theophrastii Phoenix theophrastii phoenix theophrastii by TS at RPS
Single trunk plant by TS at RPS website



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Last modified: July 28, 2013

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