Phoenix - - Semi-mature and mature Phoenix reclinata

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Phoenix reclinata - Senegal Date Palm

 

Family:

Arecaceae

Origins:

Tropical rainforest Africa, Madagascar & the Cormoro Islands

Plant Type:

Evergreen multi-stemmed clumping, soft wooded perennial-palm

Size:

Trunks varying from 7.5m to 12m, 30cms wide with crowns 2 - 4m taller. In cultivation size averages between 3 - 6m.

Habit/ Form:

Its natural habitat is riverbanks and swamps, although it is occasionally found in grasslands if the water table is high enough. The roots are usually in water, therefore it would be tolerant of waterlogged conditions in cultivation. It will also take light frost but this will affect the ultimate shape, making the palm dense and bushy rather than tall and elegant

Leaves:

Leaves are recurved, 2.5 - 4.5m in length and 0.75m wide. Leaf color is bright to deep green on 30 cm petioles with long, sharp spines at the base. 20 to 40 fronds per crown. The old fronds remain on the tree and become 'petticoats' as they hang straight down beneath the crown

Flowers:

The plants are dioecious and florets appear at the top of the female and male palm trunks. Male florets are pale yellow and fall off after blooming; females are small, globose and yellow-green.

Fruit:

The fruit (2.5cm in diameter) grow in large, pendant clusters and contain one seed each, orange when ripe and edible. The Palm heart can be eaten as a vegetable and the sap when tapped just before flowering can be made into palm wine.

Bark / Trunk:

Trunks varying from 7.5m to 15m, 30cms wide. Dark brown, covered in a diamond pattern made by the leaf scars, often bulges at the base with secondary trunk and root growth.

Vigour / Longevity:

Slow growing and long lived

Environmental Requirements:

Best growth in warm sunny positions, including western sun. Will grow in part sun positions.

Hardiness:

Tolerates some pollution, neglect, part sun positions, short periods of drought and salt winds.

Soil / Drainage:

Needs good drainage and access to good water source to reach full potential, ideal for river banks, and tolerates temporary inundation.

Pruning:

Be careful when removing old fronds, the spines are very sharp and can go through leather gloves, cut as close to the base of the frond as possible. Be careful not to damage the trunk or you will destroy the diamond pattern.

Watering:

This palm can be made to grow a little faster with extra watering. Plants should receive adequate moisture during periods of drought

Fertilising:

Nitrogenous fertilisers applied during the growing season while young.

Pests / Diseases:

Scale. While Fusarium Wilt has been recorded in P canariensis glasshouse tests by RBG&DT have shown that P. reclinata can be infected by the fungus, but symptoms have been rarely observed in the field.

Uses:

It is best used as an accent for large landscapes and parks. The attractive flower stalks, often lost within the thick foliage, are followed by one-inch-long, bright orange dates which are incredibly showy. Useful river bank binder in warm areas because of its dense root system, erosion reduction, attracts seed eating birds

 

 

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