Needle palm

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Needle palm
Rhapidophyllum hystrix.jpg

Needle palm ( Rhapidophyllum hystrix )

Order : Palm- like arecales
Family : Palm family (Arecaceae)
Genre : Rhapidophyllum
Type : Needle palm
Scientific name of the  genus
H. Wendl. & Drude
Scientific name of the  species
Rhapidophyllum hystrix
( Pursh ) H. Wendl. & Drude

The needle palm ( Rhapidophyllum hystrix ) is a small- stature palm species whose natural range is in the southeastern USA, Florida and southern Georgia , Alabama and Mississippi .


The needle palm remains small, grows slowly and often forms multi-stemmed clumps with age. The very short trunk reaches a maximum height of one meter and is covered by dark fibers and long, needle-like spines. It can reach a diameter of eight to ten centimeters. Its leaves are fan-shaped , dark green and shiny on top, and somewhat silvery on the underside. The petiole is thornless and is 0.5 to 1.7 meters long. The entire tuft of leaves can contain 10 to 30 leaves and reach a diameter of 2.5 meters. The needle palm is dioecious , its seeds are round to oval and 1 to 1.5 centimeters in size.


The needle palm grows mainly in the understory of deciduous deciduous forests on moist, humus-rich loam and sandy soils. In the northern regions of their area of ​​distribution, there is a continental climate with winter cold spells and short severe frosts. In contrast, the climate in the coastal areas of its distribution area is mild. Their natural populations are small and endangered by increasing colonization. Since their inflorescences are very short, most of the seeds germinate close to the mother plant and die after a short time.


Needle palms are considered to be the most cold-resistant palms ever and should be able to withstand low temperatures of −14 to −24 ° C. They are therefore used as ornamental plants in the USA up to New York and Washington, DC , but are still largely unknown in Europe.


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