Canary Islands, but naturalised in parts of Australia
Evergreen tree-like soft wooded perennial - palm.
Trunk 15 - 20m high, crown of leaves (fronds) up to 12m wide.
A large palm with a stout trunk 15 -20m high and 1 3m in diameter with a large crown of 6m leaves.
Pinnate, up to 6m long, the short petiole has ascending sharp spines, the spines gradually get longer until they become folded dark green leaflets (150 to 200 long in pairs of leaflets). Leaflets are induplicate (folded upwards at the point of attachment.)
These palms are dioecious, the much branched yellow spadices (up to 2m long) arise from between the leaf bases (interfoliar) bearing creamy yellow flowers during the warmer months.
Very decorative, in heavy clusters. Globose, ovoid, orange drupe (20mm long, 10mm in diameter), produced during the warmer months.
Bark / Trunk:
15 - 20m high with a 1.3m diameter, dark brown, covered in a diamond pattern made by the leaf scars, often bulges at the base with secondary root growth.
Vigour / Longevity:
Slow growing and long lived
Best growth in sunny positions, including western sun. Will grow in part sun positions.
Tolerates some frost, pollution, neglect, part sun positions, drought and salt winds.
Soil / Drainage:
Any well drained soil, better soils give faster growth.
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.
This palm can be made to grow a little faster with extra waterings.
Nitrogenous fertilisers applied during the growing season while young.
Pests / Diseases:
Fusarium Wilt has been recorded in P canariensis in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, this disease is eventually fatal and these palms are no longer transplanted from these areas.
Avenues, street tree, tropical effect plant, shade tree, tubs, habit contrasts and group plantings. Not suitable for indoor use, the leaves are too spiky and the light requirement is too high.
© Text reproduced here with the kind permission of Tony Wilson and Barck Books.