Saturday, November 1, 2014
This massive tropical palm commands attention and inspires awe wherever it is grown. The Bismarck palm's stout trunk and symmetry of the huge crown lends a formal note while the startling blue green foliage amplifies the visual impact of this big beauty. It grows a single trunk that is smooth on mature specimens but young individuals retain old leaf bases.
This palm may reach an ultimate height of 50-60 ft (15-18m) with a spread of 20 ft (6m) or more. Even young specimens that have yet to form a trunk sport full crowns of about 25 leaves with the maximum spread! The huge palmate leaves are bright light blue, waxy and are up to 10 ft (3m) across. They are supported on 6 ft (1.8 m) stems that can be 10 in (25cm) in diameter. The leaf bases split where they attach to the trunk (like those of Sabal palmetto) and the leaf stems are armed with small sharp teeth.
Bismarckia nobilis is native to the island of Madagascar which is off the east coast of Africa. Madagascar is home to hundreds of unique and fascinating plant species including many of our favorite palms like the bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) and the traveler's palm (Ravenala madagascariensis), a palmlike plant related to the bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae). Culture This palm is adaptable to many kinds of soil. Light: Prefers full sun but is tolerant of some shade. Moisture:
Once established this palm is drought tolerant.
Seeds germinate easily in 6 to 8 weeks.
Because of its huge ultimate size and mass, the Bismarck palm is not recommended for small yards as it dominates its space, dwarfing and obscuring adjacent structures. This palm is best planted where it can serve as a focal point. Planted against a dark backdrop of foliage, it serves as living sculpture adding drama and interest to the landscape. Features Bismarckia nobilis is the only species in the genus. It was a relatively recent introduction to American landscapes (and other warm zone regions of the world). Bismarck palm is rapidly gaining popularity as it is a spectacular species that is drought tolerant and not as subject to disease and nutritional deficiencies as many other landscape palm species. If you have the space to accommodate its impressive bulk, try this handsome brute in
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Fishtail palms typically form multi-stemmed clumps up to 25 ft (8 m) high and 12 ft (4 m) wide. Each slender stem is topped with several bipinnate leaves than can reach 9 ft (3 m) in length. The light green leaflets are shaped like a fish's tail fin, hence its common name (see photo below). Like other species in the genus (see C. urens), as well as the related genera Arenga (see A. engleri) and Wallichia, mature plants first begin flowering at the top of the stem. Subsequent flowering proceeds lower and lower down the stem. After the last flowering, the stem dies and should be removed. The clump will survive, however, and continue to produce more stems.
Caryota mitis is native to southeast Asia where it grows as an understory plant in tropical rain forests. Culture Light: Fishtail palm thrives full sun to part shade, and even in shade .
This palm needs adequate moisture, but with good drainage.
Seeds take 4-6 months to germinate. Fishtail palm can also be propagated by division of clumps and separation of suckers from the parent clump.
The fishtail palm can be used in shrub borders and outdoor container plantings. It tolerates heavy shade and is often used in interior plantings in commercial buildings. It does well in indoor containers. Because it is shallow rooted, it should be planted in an area protected from wind. This palm is perfect for understory planting in woodland areas. Features Fishtail palm is a tough, easy to grow palm that makes a great houseplant, and is sometimes available from discount store garden centers at a reasonable price.
Avoid contact with the red fruit produced by this palm. It contains oxalic acid which is toxic when ingested, and contact with skin may result in severe chemical burns.