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 Palm family
Coconut Palm Tree
Habit:  ?
Height:  ?
Lifespan: perennial
Origin:  ?
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[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > [[{{{divisio}}}]] > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > [[{{{classis}}}]] > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > Arecales > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Arecaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > [[{{{genus}}}]] {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} {{{species}}} {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

The Arecales family, better known as Palm Trees or Palms are what make up the palm family. There are roughly 202 currently known genera with around 2600 species, most of which are restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. Palms are one of the most well-known and extensively cultivated plant families.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
This grove of Washingtonia filifera in Palm Canyon, California is growing alongside a stream running through the desert.
A coconut palm.
A palm tree in Calella, Spain.
The orange fruit on a palm tree.
Pritchardia affinis, a critically endangered species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
Fruit of the Date Palm Phoenix dactylifera

Palm; Palms are amongst the most striking plants in tropical floras. The tall mostly straight unbranched trunks surmounted by a spreading canopy of huge pinnate or digitate leaves distinguish them from nearly all other forms of vegetation. They are widely spread in warm regions, being most abundant in America and Asia and few in Africa. They are particularly conspicuous in the Pacific Islands. Although the palms are such bold and interesting plants, the species are imperfectly understood. This is due to the great difficulty of making herbarium specimens, to the fact that the greater number of botanists are residents of regions in which palms do not grow, and to the differences of opinion as to the relative importance of the various botanical characters. Many of the palms have been named first from cultivated specimens, and often before the flowers and fruits are known. When the specimens finally come to fruit, the names are usually shifted, causing much confusion. The proper generic position of a palm may be unknown for several years after it becomes popular in the horticultural trade. Consider the changes in nomenclature which have occurred in palms that have been referred to the genera Areca and Kentia.

The species of palms are not very numerous as compared with orchids, composites and grasses. They probably do not greatly exceed 1,200, as at present known, although more than that number have been described. Bentham & Hooker accept 132 genera, and Drude, in Engler & Prantl's "Pflanzenfamilien," accept 128 genera. Most of the genera are small, and many of them are monotypic. The largest genera are Calamus, with about 200 species, all Old World, mostly Asian; Geonoma, with about 100 species, all American; Baetns, about 100, American; Chamsedorea, with about 60, all American; Licuala, with 30, ranging from eastern Asia to Australia; Desmoncus, about 25, American; Cocos; 30, all confined to America but the coconut, which is now cosmopolitan; Pinanga, with about 25 species, of the oriental tropics; Areca, nearly two dozen, oriental. Many of the species, particularly in the small genera, are restricted to very small geographical regions, often to one island or to a group of islands. The palms represent an old type of vegetation, and they are now, probably, on the decline, as measuredin geological epochs.—Perhaps the most complete account of the botany of certain groups of palms is by 0. Beccari in such works as: "The species of Calamus," "Le Palme Americane della tribu della Corypheae," "Notes on Philippine Palms," and many smaller papers. O. F. Cook has also written extensively of the American species.

General characteristics

The members of this family are essentially tropical in habitat, are highly ornamental in appearance, and many of them also of very great economic value, their fruits, stems and leaves not only entering largely into the manufactured products of both Europe and America but also providing both food and shelter for thousands of the inhabitants of tropical countries.

One notable characteristic of palms in general is their unbranched stems, the exceptions to this rule being very few and mostly limited to the members of one genus, Hyphaene, of which the doum palm of Egypt, H. thebaica, is the best example. While these unbranched stems form a prominent feature in connection with this order of plants, yet great variations are found in size and habit, some of them towering up like a slender marble shaft to a height of more than 100 feet and then terminating in a crown of magnificent plume-like leaves, while others may reach a height of only 3 to 4 feet when fully developed, and some species are permanently stemless. In some examples the stems are so long and slender that a scandent habit is the result; these rope-like stems of the rattan palms in particular are described as wandering through the tops of some of the great trees of the Malayan Peninsula to a length of several hundred feet, —reported as long as 1,700 feet, but report unreliable.

The foliage of the palms is of two chief kinds, the fan-veined leaves, in which the venation radiates from a common center, and the feather-veined, in which the veins run out from the sides of a long midrib, the leaf being frequently divided into long narrow segments. Of the first group, the common fan palm, Livistona chinensis, is a good example, while the date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, and also the coconut, Cocos nucifera, are common examples of the feather-veined class. There are also minor characteristics of foliage that mark many of the genera; some having pinnate leaves with erose tips, a few having bipinnate leaves (as Car-yota urens), others with flabellate leaves having erose segments, and many with the segments of the leaves bifid or split at the tips.

The flowers of palms in general are not specially attractive either in size or coloring, many of them being greenish white or yellow, and some orange or red; but these flowers are produced in prodigious quantities by some of the species, perhaps the most prolific in this respect being the talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera), which throws up a branching inflorescence to a height of 30 feet above the foliage, such an inflorescence having been estimated to include fully 60,000,000 flowers! This, of course, applies only to wild specimens.

The seeds of palms are also found in many sizes and various shapes, ranging from the size of a pea in some of the Thrinax to the unwieldy fruit of the double coconut, Lodoicea. maldivica, which will sometimes weigh forty pounds each and require several years to reach maturity.

As a rule, the members of any single genus of palms are found in one hemisphere, either the eastern or western as the case may be, probably the greater number of species being of Asiatic and American origin, rather than African. An apparent exception is found to this system of hemispheric distribution in the case of the coconut, this plant being so very widely distributed throughout the tropical world that its original habitat is still in doubt. On the other hand, some species are known to be very local in their natural state, in proof of which the howeas may be cited ; this genus has been found only within the circumscribed area of Lord Howe's Island, which, from a comparative point of view, may be termed merely a fragment of land (probably of volcanic origin), a mere dot on the broad bosom of the South Pacific.

Few palms are found within the limits of the United States as natives, the most common being the well-known palmetto, Sabal Palmetto, a member of the fan-leaved section, to which many of the American palms belong. But while the species of palms native in the United States are limited in numbers, yet there is at least one unique species in the group in the form of Pseudophoenix Sargentii, a monotypic palm, that is known to exist in a wild state only on certain of the Florida Keys, and in limited numbers even there, and recently in Cuba and Santo Domingo.

Europe is even less favored as to native palms, there being but one species known there in that condition, Chamaerops humilis, also a fan-leaved species and comparatively hardy, being capable of enduring moderate frosts.

The palm tree of the Bible is doubtless the date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, which is found in large numbers throughout Syria to this day; and in fact the small grove of dates within easy reach of the Syrian householder forms one of his most valuable assets, for it provides food not only for his family, but frequently for his horses or camels also.

The act of producing flowers does not necessarily terminate the life of a palm, though in some instances such an effect may be produced by this cause; but a singular habit has been noted in regard to the flowering of the fish-tail palm. Caryoto urens, which when it reaches maturity begins to throw out a flower-spike from the top of the stem, this being followed by successive spikes of flowers, and ultimate bunches of seeds from the top of the plant downward, the flower-spikes appearing at the joints of the stem, and when this process of flowering has proceeded down to the ground, or until the vitality of the plant has been exhausted, death ensues.

There are also a number of species of palms that develop a soboliferous habit, throwing up a number of shoots from the base of the plant, Rhapis flabelliformis, sometimes known as the ground rattan, being a good example of this class, among which the widely grown and elegant Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is also found, together with the geonomas, some of the phoenix and various other genera. Many of the palms are unisexual, but there are also many others in which both male and female flowers are produced on the same spadix, in some examples the males being grouped together near the ends of the branches of the inflorescence and the females nearer to the main stem, while in others a female is placed between two males, thus arranging the flowers in threes.

Cross-pollination of palms by artificial means has probably been seldom practised, there being few cultivated collections in which the opportunity for such an operation has presented itself; but it seems highly probable that such cross-fertilization has been accidentally effected among wild plants, for in large lots of seedlings intermediate forms are frequently seen, this peculiarity having been noted among howea seedlings, where forms intermediate between H. Belmoreana and H. Forsteriana are found, and sometimes seedlings that seem to combine the characteristics of H. Belmo-reana and those of its near relative Hedyscepe Canter- buryana.

Similar variations from a given type have also been noted among the phoenix, several so-called species being most likely merely varieties.

Many palms are armed with stout thorns or prickles, not only the stems but also the leaves and even the fruits in some species being thus guarded, these prickles being usually very hard and tough. In some cases, notably Acanthorhiza aculeala, the prickles around the stem are often branched, and are decidedly unpleasant to come in contact with. In the case of Desmoncus, this being the western representative of the rattan palms, the tip of the midrib of the leaf is continued in the form of a hooked spine, and helps to support the plant in its scandent career.

The sharp spines of certain palms are used for poisoned arrows by some of the South American tribes, these arrows being projected through a blow-pipe formed from a section of the hollow stem of another palm. Among the species of Phoenix, it is often found that several of the leaflets nearest to the base of the leaf are developed as spines, these thorny leaflets becoming stiff and hard, and capable of making a very sore wound.

The very great economical value of many of the palms can only be touched upon within the limits of the present article, the uses to which not only the fruits but also the stems and leaves are put by the natives of many tropical countries being enough of themselves to fill volumes. One prominent example of this great utility is the Palmyra palm, of which a Hindoo poet enumerated over 800 different uses. Other notable examples include the coconut palm, the fruits of which are imported by hundreds of tons every year, and in addition to providing a valuable food, either fresh or in a desiccated condition, also produce that very valuable fiber from which cordage, matting and a great variety of goods are manufactured; also the Phoenix family, which produces the dates of commerce in apparently endless supply, and the date sugar of Bengal, this being contributed by Phoenix sylvestris, while the stems of date palms are often used in house-building in the East. Another very valuable palm product is found in palm oil, this being largely derived from the fruits of Elaeis guineensis, the oil being expressed from the ripe fruits in much the same manner that olive oil is manufactured. The rattan of commerce is chiefly composed of the flexible stems of various calami, the plentiful supply of this material being sufficiently attested by the great variety of articles manufactured therefrom. Various palms have been mentioned under the name of "wine palm," but it seems likely that some species of Raphia are most used for liquors, some portions of these palms giving a large amount of sap when tapped, and as the juice is rich in sugar, the sap soon ferments and may become strongly alcoholic. The best sago is produced from the pith of Metroxy-lon or Sagus, the trees being cut down and split into segments for the removal of the pith, the latter being then prepared in a rough granulated form for export. Sago is also procured from Caryota and some other genera, but the product is not equal to that of Metroxylon. The so-called whale-bone brooms frequently used in stables and for street- cleaning are mostly made from Piassaba (or Piacaba) fiber, this being gathered from around the base of plants of attaleas, mostly A. funifera. The attaleas also produce large seeds or nuts, those of A. funifera being known as coquilla-nuts, and very largely used for ornamental purposes, being very hard and capable of receiving a fine polish. Many small articles are manufactured from vegetable ivory, this being secured from the nuts of Phytelephas macrocarpa, a singular palm from South America, bearing a large fruit in which are contained from six to nine of the ivory-nuts, the plant itself having a short and sometimes creeping stem from which proceeds a noble head of pinnate fronds that are frequently 15 to 20 feet in length. The seeds of Areca Catechu, after preparation with lime and the leaves of the pepper-plant, become the betel-nut of the East Indies, so much used by the natives of that portion of the world as a mild stimulant. The cabbage palm of the West Indies is Oreodoxa oleracea, the smooth and straight stems of which are frequently 80 to 100 feet high, and the removal of the "cabbage," so-called, means the destruction of such a tree, for the portion eaten is composed of the central bud in which the young leaves are compactly gathered together.

Botanical structure

As the trunk of the palm rises, the leaves underneath the crown die and fall. Usually the old petioles, or their bases, remain for some time, forming a shaggy capital to the column; this is well marked in the large or cabbage palmetto of the South. The palms are mostly trees, and sometimes rise to the height of nearly 200 feet, but some are climbing and others are low shrubs. Some palms are only a foot or two tall at maturity, as Malortiea. In some species the stems are prickly. Usually they make very straight comely boles, but a few species produce branches above.

The inflorescence of palms usually arises underneath or in the crown, from the axils of the leaves. The clusters are really spadices, although often branched, and are covered in the bud by a dry spathe composed of one or several leaves or parts. The remains of these spathes are well shown in Fig. 2538 (page 2298). In the upper cluster on the left, the spathe is arching over the fruits. The blossoms are relatively small, and usually dull colored and not show}-, but in some species the spadix is scarlet or yellow and often very gracefully branched. The spathes are sometimes immense woody coverings, like troughs or bowls.

The flowers of palms are not greatly differentiated or specialized. The essential structure may be understood by comparing the details in Figs. 2725 to 2731, which are adapted from Beccari's account of palms indigenous to Cuba in Pomona College Journal of Economic Botany, February, 1913. Of most palms, the flowers are small or minute, quite regular, and they may be either hermaphrodite, monoecious, or dioecious. Often the whole flower is nearly woody, even the perianth-parts being hard and scarcely resembling petals. In most species there are two series of perianth - parts: three distinct imbricated sepals inclosing three distinct or partially united petals. Many modifications of this arrangement are known, however, as in the case of certain species of Thrinax where the perianth is reduced and deformed, and of Nenga where the sepals are longer than the petals. There are nearly always six stamens, both in the pistillate and staminate flowers, and except in certain species of Oreodoxa (Roystonea) they are always included. They are often in two series, one opposite the sepals, the other opposite the petals, always free, and nearly always inserted on the short perianth-tube. The anthers are linear, oblong or arrow- shaped, two-celled, the pollen usually ellipsoid or nearly round, very rarely minutely spiny. The ovary is free, ovoid or oblong or globose, and often found in a rudimentary form even in staminate flowers, but sometimes lacking in the latter. There are mostly three cells, but four and even up to seven cells are known in rare cases. The ovule in each cell is solitary and almost always erect.

Great variety characterizes palm fruits. Some are dry and hard almost stone-like fruits, others are fleshy and even drupe-like. In many species there is a hard fibrous coating to the fruit, as in the case of the coconut. In other species the seed is free, but often it adheres to the inner coat of the fruit; it nearly always contains a copious albumen.

The individual flowers and fruits of palms are borne on a large inflorescence (spadix) which may or may not be inclosed in a sheath-like structure (spathe). The form and branching of this spadix varies much. One character that seems to hold is that of the branching, in one group of genera the spadix being either simple or imperfectly branched, if compound then paniculate, such as is found in Geonoma, Euterpe, and allied genera; and in others the spadix is always pinnately branched, the ultimate branches distichous if greater ramification is present. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Palms have been favorite greenhouse subjects from the period of the first development of the glass plant- house. The stereotyped form of conservatory is a broad or nearly square structure, with narrow benches around the sides over the heating-pipes and a palm-bed in the center. In these conservatories a variety of palms will succeed, requiring neither a very high temperature nor much direct sunlight. (Fig. 2732.) In fact, palms usually succeed best under shaded roofs.

The palms are most satisfactory in their young state, before the trunks become very prominent, and before the crowns reach the glass. The larger number in houses have pinnate or pinnatisect leaves, and these species are usually the more graceful in habit, although the fan palms are also much prized. Small palms are now in great demand for room and table decoration, and a few species are grown in enormous quantities for this trade. They are sold when small. They usually perish before they are large enough to be cumbersome. Among the most popular of these palms are Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, Howea Belmoreana and H. Forsteriana, Cocos Weddelliana, Livistona chinensis, and possibly one or two species of Phoenix.

Some palms endure considerable frost without injury. Of such are the sabals and the palmettoes of the southern states. The saw palmetto (Serenoa serrulata) and the blue palmetto (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix) occur as far north as South Carolina. In Asia, Nannorhops occurs naturally as far north as 34° and grows in the mountains of Afghanistan where snow falls, and in Europe. Chamaerops (the only palm indigenous to Europe) reaches 44 degrees.

An abundance of water is required, for many palms grow on the banks of rivers or in swampy ground; and even those found on high and rocky ground send their roots down to such a depth as to find a liberal water- supply.

Rotted sod is the basis for the best soil for palms, and a fair proportion of stable manure is a safe fertilizer, such a soil being mixed with various proportions of peat or sand, to make it lighter and more open for some delicate species.

Summer care of palms.

Some shading throughout the summer is best, the foliage grown under glass being more tender than that naturally produced outdoors. Repotting should be done during the spring and summer months, preferably, there being comparatively little root-action oh the part of most palms between November 1 and March 1. Give only moderate-sized shifts, that is, use pots only 1 or 2 inches larger, and always ram the soil firmly.

Florists especially must understand the summer treatment of decorative palms. The usual weather of midsummer, which includes not only high temperature, but also fairly high humidity, is a help for the grower of palms, for such conditions do much to promote the growth of the stock, provided that watering, syringing, and proper attention to ventilation be given. A little ventilation at night, in addition to fairly liberal airing during the day, tends to prevent an over- accumulation of moisture on the foliage, and also has an influence toward the prevention of fungoid growths on or about the plants, for in houses so continually warm and moist as is the average palm-house, there is much encouragement for fungus on the woodwork of the benches and about the plants.

A sprinkling of slaked lime under the benches is also a help to the atmosphere and discourages snails to some extent, the latter pest being sometimes very troublesome, especially on the young growths of kentias. Two of the worst periods for the reproduction of scale insects are in the months of May and September, and if these posts can be kept down at those periods, there will be much less trouble in the remainder of the year.

Those who grow palms in quantity have to depend upon dips and spraying with various insecticides, from the fact that it is practically impossible to give the time to each plant that may be afforded by those who carry only a few dozens of palms in stock, but in either case most of the work of this character is likely to be done in the summer months, when there may be a little more time devoted to such work than can be spared in the busier seasons of spring and fall. This fact probably accounts for some of the insect tribulations to which the grower is exposed, as he is seldom able to find time to fight insects at the time of the spring rush, and by this means new colonies are distributed before the danger is appreciated.

Kentias and cocos are undoubtedly the palms for the million at this stage of the florists' art in America, and the necessities of these admirable plants are well understood. Seaforthias and ptychospermas were rather more common to the trade fifteen to twenty years ago than they are now, and were used for decorative work before the kentias absorbed so much attention. Instead of using seaforthias for decorating, persons are adding them to the outdoor garden in those parts of the South where palms add so greatly to the permanent effect in the outdoor planting.

The common Phoenix canariensis and other strong- growing members of that subfamily are also frequently in demand for outdoor use, while the dwarf date, Phoenix Roebelenii, continues to be in demand for house decoration, under which condition it is eminently satisfactory; it has found further usefulness even in small sizes, in being used to some extent for the centers of fern-pans. Livistona rotundifolia is one of the most charming of dwarf palms, but is easily spoiled by insects, requiring constant vigilance on that account, while a comparatively high temperature and moist atmosphere are also essential to its welfare. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

The species most used in commercial horticulture in the United States are contained in a very short list, the greater quantity being confined to five species, namely, Livistona chinensis, Howea Belmoreana, Howea Forsteriana, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, and Cocos Weddelliana, while less quantities of Caryota urens, several species of Phoenix, P. canariensis being very largely planted outdoors in the South and on portions of the Pacific coast. Seaforthia elegans and some others of the Ptychosperma group, and some few livistonas cover the extent of the catalogue for many growers.

Of these, the seeds are imported in most cases, and on the quality of these seeds the success of the grower depends, so far as getting up a stock is concerned. Most of these species germinate readily in a warm greenhouse, providing the seeds are fresh, the slowest of the common commercial palms being the howeas. In small quantities these seeds are usually sown in about 6-inch pots, the pots being well drained and nearly filled with light soil, then the seeds sown thickly and covered with 1/2 inch of soil, watered thoroughly and placed where they may receive the benefit of some bottom heat; and at no time should they be allowed to become very dry. The period required for germination varies greatly with different species, Livistona chinensis germinating in two or three weeks if fresh, and being ready for potting in about two months, while seeds of some of the attaleas have been known to remain in the earth for fully three years before starting.

The seedlings of many species are very much alike, the seed-leaf in many instances being a long narrow simple leaflet, this description often applying equally to the seedlings of both fan-leaved and pinnate-leaved species; and from this fact it is somewhat difficult to recognize a species while in the juvenile form. Figs. 2733-2736 show stages in the germination of common palms. Special cultural notes for particular species of palms will be found throughout the Cyclopedia, but at this time a few general remarks regarding treatment of palms as a whole may be admissible. It has already been noted that palms in general are tropical in nature, and while there are a number of species that are found at considerable elevations, where the nights are decidedly cool, yet in a young state the same species may make more progress in a night temperature of 60° F.; and with this in view, a minimum temperature during the winter of 56° to 60° is safest for young and growing palms, while an advance of 15° to 20° during the day will not hurt them. CH

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Pests and diseases

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Insects are frequently troublesome if allowed to gain headway, various scale insects doing the greatest damage, while red-spiders and thrips may become established unless forcible syringing is persisted in. The most successful practice requires close observation on the part of the grower, and the prompt removal of all insects. Many other pests are also known and in the report of the Missouri Botanical Garden for 1898, Trelease gives an account of many of these. Busch in a report on investigation of diseases of the coconut palm in United States Department of Agriculture Bulletin of Entomology II. 38, 1902, gives an account of a disease that threatened the coconut industry in Trop. America. CH

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Selected generawp

See list of Arecaceae genera arranged by taxonomic groups or by alphabetical order for a complete listing of genera.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

The genera chiefly known to horticulturists are the following:

Tribe Areceae. Lvs. pinnatisect, the lfts. free or joined so as to form a plaited limb, the sides in vernation reduplicate: fls. monoecious or dioecious: seeds umbilicate, with ventral raphe and dorsal embryo.

Areca, Pinanga, Kentia, Hydriastele, Kentiopsis, Hedyscepe, Nenga, Archontophoenix, Rhopalostylis, Dictyosperma, Ptychosperma, Cyrtostachys, Drymophloeus, Cyphophoenix, Clinostigma, Cyphosperma, Euterpe, Acanthophoenix, Oreodoxa, Acrista, Bacularia, Linospadix, Howea, Ceroxylon, Verschaffeltia, Dypsis, Chamaedorea, Hyophorbe, Roscheria, Geonoma, Calyptrogyne, Bentinckia, Wallichia, Didymosperms, Arenga, Caryota, Phytelephas, Pseudophoenix, Oenocarpus.

Tribe Phoeniceae. Lvs. pinnatisect, segms. acuminate and with induplicate sides in vernation: spadices interfoliar, the spathe solitary: fls. dioecious: carpels 3, only 1 maturing, the stigma terminal; seed strongly ventrally sulcate, the embryo usually dorsal. Phoenix.

Tribe Corypheae. Lvs. fan-shaped, wedge-shaped or orbicular, plaited, more or less cut, the lobes with induplicate sides: spadices interfoliar, the spathes many: fls. usually perfect; ovary entire or 3-lobed or sometimes the 1-3 carpels distinct, the ovule erect; pericarp usually smooth; seeds with ventral raphe and small hilum.

Corypha, Sabal, Washingtonia, Chamaerops, Rha- pidophyllum, Acanthorhiza, Brahea, Erythea, Pritch-ardia, Licuala, Livistona, Trachycarpus, Rhapis, Thrinax, Nannorhops, Serenoa, Copernicia, Teys-mannia, Trithrinax, Coccothrinax.

Tribe Lepidocaryeae. Lvs. pinnatisect or fan-shaped, the segms. with reduplicate sides in vernation: spadices terminal or axillary, the spathes numerous: fls. polygamo-monoecious; ovary entire, more or less 3-loculed: fr. clothed with reflexed, shining, imbricate, appressed scales; seed with dorsal raphe and ventral embryo. Calamus, Ceratolobus, Raphia.

Tribe Borasseae. Lvs. orbicular, the segms. fan-shaped and the sides induplicate. spadices interfoliar, the spathes many and sheathing: fls. dioecious, the male minute and sunk in cavities on the spadix, the female very large, ovary entire, 3-loculed, the ovule ascending: fr. various. Borassus, Lodoicea, Latania, Hyphaene.

Tribe Cocoineae. Lvs. pinnatisect, the lfts. with reduplicate sides: spadices interfoliar, unisexual or androgynous, the spathes 2 or more: inferfoliar fls. often in 3's, the middle one female; ovary 1-7-loculed: fr. large, drupe-like, 1-7-loculed, the stigma terminal, the endocarp or shell hard and woody and provided with 3-7 pores.

Bactris, Astrocaryum, Acrocomia, Martinezia, Elaeis, Diplothemium, Cocos, Maximiliana, Scheelea, Attalea, Jubaea, Desmoncus.

There is very little accessible monographic literature on the palms. Martius' "Historia Naturalis Palmarum," Munich, three volumes, 1823 to 1850, is a standard work. Kerchove de Denterghem's "Les Palmiers," Paris, 1878, is an important work, A popular running account of palms and the various kinds, by William Watson, will be found in the following places in Gardeners' Chronicle: 1884 (volume 22), pages 426, 522, 595, 728, 748; 1885 (volume 23), pages 338, 410, 439; 1885 (volume 24), pages 362, 394, 586, 748; 1886 (volume 25), pages 75, 139, 557; 1886 (volume 26) pages 491, 652; 1887 (volume 2, series 3) pages 156, 304; 1891 (volume 9), pages 234, 298, 671; 1893 (volume 13), pages 260, 332. CH

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External links

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
The following two sections, Palms in California and Palms in Florida should be rethought, and perhaps moved to new pages either based more on climate, or perhaps better incorporated into the text above.

Palms in California.

Palms grown in the open in California gardens do not exceed about twenty-six genera, and numbering about eighty species. In this account may be found the species growing in the gardens of Los Angeles and vicinity, and throughout southern California in limited numbers from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Occasional plants of species not mentioned are found in some old gardens, but are not so plentiful as to be considered in a general list of the hardy palms. A complete list of palms grown somewhere in southern California is given by Franceschi as follows:

Archonto- phoenix, 2 species; Hedyscepe, 1; Rhopalostylis, 2; Clinostigma, 1; Bacularia, 1; Howea, 2; Chamaedorea, 10; Gaussia, 1; Phoenix, 10; Sabal, 10; Washingtonia, 3; Chamaerops, 1; Rhapidophyllum, 1; Serenoa, 2; Brahea, 3; Erythea, 4; Pritchardia, 2; Livistona, 6; Trachycarpus, 2; Rhapis, 2; Thrinax, 2; Trithrinax, 2; Copernicia, 1; Acrocomia, 1; Cocos, 10; Jubaea, 1.

In enumerating the prevailing garden palms, they are placed as to their importance, or rather as to their numerical strength in California. The native fan-palms, the washingtonias, natives of San Bernardino and San Diego counties, have been most extensively planted, and may be found everywhere, serving, in some instances, a variety of purposes. (Fig. 2737.) In growing this palm, water is of the first importance. When planted along a street, those adjoining vacant lots often remain nearly at a standstill, except in case of an unusually wet winter, while those along the cultivated lots or lawns grow faster than any other palm. When one in its native habitat blows over by the force of the desert winds, the hole left by the roots and stump invariably fills with water. Washingtonias are hardy 600 miles north of Los Angeles. It may be well to state that hardiness in palms is principally a question of size, the larger ones passing through the most severe winter unharmed, while the small ones may perish. So, also, some palms supposed to be very tender need protection from sun more than from frost. This is particularly the case with the so-called kentias and rhapis. A certain howea (or Kentia Forsteriana] is protected only by a large overhanging branch of a sycamore, which is of course leafless in cold weather, yet it has reached a height of 12 feet, with a diameter at base of 12 inches, and it has never been injured by frost, yet water hydrants 10 feet away have been frozen so hard as to burst them. In Los Angeles is a kentia 15 feet high, growing on the north side of a house, protected from sun alone, being 20 feet from the building, where for several winters the ground nearby has frozen to the depth of 1 inch. This is in the bottom-lands, the coldest part of the city.

Phoenix dactylifera, although not so ornamental as others of the genus, was extensively planted in early days and is one of the hardiest of palms (Fig. 2738). The most popular palm for the masses, who look for grace and beauty combined with cheapness, is Phoenix canariensis. More of these are planted at present than of any other three species. In Los Angeles and vicinity they may be counted by tens of thousands. Like these two for hardiness is P. reclinata; and all may be seen growing north of San Francisco some 200 miles. All the genus is hardy in southern California. Trachycarpus excelsus and Chamaerops humilis, the latter varying greatly in appearance, will grow as far north as any palms and are popular everywhere. The former in thirty years will grow to the height of 25 feet, while the latter will make 8 to 10 feet of trunk in the same time. Livistona australis and L. chinensis are both popular, though not hardy outside the southern part of the state, and the latter must be shaded from noonday sun. Erythea armata and E. edulis (often known as braheas) grow around San Francisco Bay luxuriantly. The dwarf sections of Cocos, represented chiefly by the one known in the trade as Cocos australis, is hardy even farther north than the erytheas, and are by far the most ornamental palms to be found in that section. Other cocos in southern California are C. flexuosa, C. plumosa, C. coronata, C. Romanzoffiana, and many others. Any cocos will grow here in protected places except C. Weddelliana. Palms of the Cocos flexuosa-plumosa-Roman-zoffiana type are the most graceful grown, and at present very extensively planted in the southern citrous belt, sometimes for street or sidewalk trees. It is also one of the fastest growers, and will reach 20 feet in fifteen years, with ordinary care. Archontophoenix Alexandrae and A. Cunninghamii, the most elegant of our palms after the Cocos plumosa type, are not quite so hardy but will thrive from Santa Barbara southward, in warm locations. The same exposures, with shade during the hottest part of the day, will do for Hedyscepe Canterburyana and Howea Forsteriana and H. Bel- moreana; also Rhopalostylis Baueri and R. sapida. The four species of sabals seem to thrive and seed well in this section, though S. Palmetto and S. Blackburnianum grow much faster than the others. Rhapidophyllum Hystrix is perfectly hardy, but on account of its dwarf habit is not so extensively planted as its merits deserve. Rhapis flabelliformis and R. humilis need protection from sun alone, though there is a rhapis growing for ten years without protection from either sun or frost, and in the coldest section of Los Angeles, but its color is not all that could be desired. Chamaedoreas are planted only where they can be protected from both frost and sun, though they thrive better under such circumstances than they do under glass. In such situations they are just the plant for the purpose, as they do not grow away from the protecting tree as do sun- and light- loving palms, but remain erect. Brahea dulcis may occasionally be seen, but grows too slowly to be popular.

One of the grandest and hardiest palms, one that deserves for many reasons to be more extensively planted, is Jubaea spectabilis. There are a few specimens 20 feet in height with a bole 4 feet in diameter.

List of California palms. (Wright.)

The following list of palms for southern California has been compiled from many years of observation by J. Harrison Wright. While not entirely complete as regards the newest and untried introductions, it covers all the hardier species and it is made with special reference to the effects of the severe frosts of January, 1913.

I. Hardy Palms.

Withstand a minimum temperature of 18° to 20° F. with little or no injury.

Chamaeropa humilis (in a dozen varieties). Cocos Alphonsii. Cocos Bonnetii. Cocos campestria. Cocob eriospatha. Cocoa flexuosa (of Hort.). Cocos Gaertneri. Cocoa Yatay. Erythea armata. Erythea edulis. Jubaea spectabilis. Phoenix canariensis. Phoenix dactylifera. Phoenix reclinata. Phoenix sylvestris. Sabal Adansonii. Sabal Blackburniana. Sabal mexicana. Sabal Palmetto. Sabal princeps. Serenoa serrulata. Trachycarpus excelsa. Trachycarpus Martiana. Washingtonia gracilis. Washingtonia robusta. Washingtonia Sonorae.

The following require protection from sun in the interior valleys:

Livistona australis. Livistona chinensis. Phoenix Roebelenii.

Rhapidophyllum Hystrix. Rhapis flabelliformis. Rhapis humilis.

The above are rather generally found and to them may be added the following, equally hardy but not yet in general cultivation:

Brahea calcarea. Brahea Pimo. Cocoa Arechavaletana. Cocob australis (true). Cocoa Datil. Above are tall-growing Cocos of the plumosa type but hardy. Cocos odorata. Nannorhops Ritchiana. Cocob pulposa. Trachycarpus caespitosa. Erythea Brandegei. Trithnnax braziliensis. Erythea elegans. Trithrinax campestris.

All the above can be grown wherever oranges are planted, and in addition the following are at home on the hill section of Los Angeles, in the frost-free foothills and sheltered coastal valleys like Santa Barbara and the Montecito.

II. Tender Palms.

Chamaedorea desmoncoides. Chamaedorea elegans. Cocob botryophora. Cocos plumosa. Cocob Mariae-Reginae. Cocob Romanzoffiana. Howea Belmoreans. Howea Forsteriana. Livistona Jenkinsoniana.

Livistona Mariae. Phoenix rupicola. Pritchardia Gaudichaudii. Pritchardia pacifica. Ptychosperma Alexandrae. Ptychosperma Cunninghamiana (Seaforthia). Rhopalostylis Baueri. Rhopalostylis sapida.

The following have been recently introduced, but are not thoroughly tested:

Ceroxylon andicolum. Copernicia australis. Juania australis.

Livistona decipiens. Sabal Uresana. Sabal Exul.

[Juania australis, Drude, representing a monotypic genus in the Island Juan Fernandez (and for the first word of which it is named); is an unarmed palm with pinnatisect terminal lvs. allied to Ceroxylon: lf.-segms. long and narrow, acuminate, whitish beneath, thickened on the margins: fr. globular, size of a cherry.]

Ernest Braunton.

Hardy palms in Florida.

A large proportion of the various species of palms tried by the writer in Florida have succeeded from moderately to exceedingly well. Close to 200 species belonging to some 60 genera have been in cultivation and of these more than 150 are surviving. The state itself is rich in palms for a region lying wholly outside the tropics, there being not less than fifteen native and one naturalized species, the latter the common coconut, found within its borders. A few of these, such as Sabal Palmetto, Serenoa serrulata and Rhapidophyllum among native forms, and one or two species of Trachycarpus, one or two of the dates, Jubaea spectabilis and Washingtonia should be fairly hardy, especially along the coastal region, throughout most of the northern part of the state.

Most of the palms which do well in this state succeed on ordinary pine land, but their growth would be improved if a liberal amount of muck or leaf-mold was incorporated with the soil, and a heavy mulch is always beneficial. Of course in poor soils a good fertilizer is necessary and it is an excellent plan to apply one rich in potash in the fall in order to harden up the growth for winter.

Nearly all the palms must be propagated from seed; only a few are cespitose, such as chrysalidocarpus, rhapis. most of the phoenix and chamaedoreas, and these can often be propagated from suckers. When these are thrown out above the ground it is best to make an incision at their bases and set a flower-pot underneath, mounding up with earth around the sucker, when it will generally throw out roots into the pot, after which it may be severed and the whole removed.

The entire state is subject to "northers" during which the wind blows from the northwest, and cold weather and frost may occur in any part of the state. A large part of the palms which can be 'grown in Florida are tropical and if their seeds when in the ground are subjected to such a

degree of cold they are almost sure to perish. If one is propagating any considerable number of palms, it will pay to have a frame covered with a sash or sashes. This can be sunk in the ground if necessary; the seeds should be planted in good soil, and during cold nights the whole may be heavily covered with fertilizer sacks. It should have a southern exposure and be well protected from the wind. In the southern part of the state such a pit, if covered early and thoroughly on cold nights, will generally answer all purposes, but if one could have a small glass house with a bench along one side it would be better. The space in front and below it could be closed up and under the shelf a small kerosene stove or lamp could be kept going during cold nights. This would furnish bottom heat for the seeds planted on the bench and thus insure their germination.Fairly good-sized palms are best for planting in the open ground, say from 4- or 5-inch pots.

Water well and mulch, then shelter by setting palmetto leaves around the plant so as to shade it. In case of danger of frost, mound up around the stem to above the growing point with dry soil and if the leaves are frozen the plant will not be seriously injured.

The following notes are drawn from experience in the cultivation of these palms in central and southern Florida.

Acoelorraphe Wrightii grows in marl land on the southern shore of the mainland of Florida. It forms very dense, attractive clumps 30 feet or more across.

Acrocomia. Rapid growers, and A. Totai is hardy in the southern half of Florida. It will not grow in dry or poor soils, but thrives in rich moist lands. Like most palms, this species is very responsive to an application of commercial fertilizer—from a pound to ten pounds according to the size of the plant. A. media, from Porto Rico, is an exceptionally vigorous grower.

Archontophoenix, The two species, A, Cunninghamii and A. Alexandrae, which are such favorites in the North, are among the best palms in Florida, and will, without doubt, becomes favorites in the lower third of the state. They succeed well in shade or sunshine, on pine or hammock land, and are fairly rapid growers, the former being somewhat the stronger plant.

Areca glandiformis is a superb, rapid-growing palm which grows well in pine land; A. triandra is an elegant species, which should probably be grown in the shade, and the same may be said of A. Aliceae. All are tropical.

Arenya saccharifera is a noble palm and does well in pine land.

Attalea. Prefers rich soil and if well grown makes magnificent specimens. A. Cohune succeeds well in southern Florida, and also A. gompphococca.

Bactris. None of the species thrives in southern Florida.

Caryota. Several species are cultivated in lower Florida. Some-times the specimens do well; at other times they fail. When in bloom they are among the most striking of palms. The ends of the leaflets are subject to a blight which decidedly injures the growth of many specimens.

Chamaedorea. Lovely, often cespitose palms with reed-like stems. They are probably all tender, and do well in southern Florida in sheltered, more or less shaded places.

Chamaerops. All of these do well in southern Florida and would doubtless prove hardy throughout a large part of the state. They are slow growers, especially until they attain to considerable size. C. humilis thrives best on high dry soils. The flowers, resembling a flat yellow fringe from a distance, appear in March, and exhale a very strong, aromatic perfume. All produce numerous suckers which should not be removed. Planted in small groups 10 to 15 feet apart, they soon form very beautiful specimens which look best in the foreground of magnolias or other taller palms. Each plant should receive a mulch of stable manure in March or April, and some good commercial fertilizers during the rainy season.

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is a well-known palm in the North, and in southern Florida it forms large clumps 20 or 25 feet high.

Coccothrinax jucunda and C. Garberi are elegant, low-growing palms from the extreme southern part of Florida and are as easily grown as the species of Thrinax.

Cocos. All species of Cocos do well in southern Florida except C. insignis and C. Weddelliana.

The common coconut, C. nucifera, save that it sometimes is injured by frost, does as well as in many parts of the tropics and it is grown more than all other palms put together. It ripens nuts and is becoming naturalized in Dade and Monroe counties. C. plumosa and the species of its section are beautiful, rapid growers and all the australis section succeed admirably. The various species are sometimes attacked by what is apparently a fungous disease appearing as brown streaks in the young leaves. The only remedy is to pull the leaves apart and cut out the injured young leaf back as near the growing bud as possible. This may have to be repeated once or twice. This same disease attacks the royal palms, which may be treated in the same way. All the species do well on high pine land, if well fertilized and watered during long dry spells.

The tall-growing, slender-stemmed species like C. plumosa, C. flexuosa, C. Romanzoffiana and C. coronata are hardy as far north as central Florida. The species and varieties of the australis group— C. australis. C. eriospatha, C. Datil. C. Gaertneri, C. Yatay—are better adapted to high pine land than most palms. They soon form beautiful specimens, flower regularly when only a few years old, and bear large bunches of edible fruit, sometimes as large as a big cherry or small plum. The fertilizers to be used for these palms should be equally rich in ammonia, phosphoric acid and potash. This should be applied in the months of December, January, and February. All the old dry leaves, spathes and fruit-stems should be removed at the end of September.

Copernicia. A fine group of fan-leaved palms which is abundantly developed in Cuba.

Corypha. None of the species seems to thrive in Florida.

Daemonorops. Tender, and easily killed during cold spells in lower Florida.

Dictyosperma, Two species are grown in southern Florida, D. rubra and D, alba. Both are fine palms and when established are strong growers and soon make bold and beautiful specimens. They are hardier than some of the tropical species.

Elaeis, the oil-palm of tropical Africa,is grown to some extent in lower Florida and it has produced perfect seeds. It seems to be a rank feeder and if planted in pine land should be well fertilized.

Erythta edulis and E. armata should be hardy throughout the southern half of Florida.

Gaussia princeps grows abundantly on limestone cliffs in the mountains of Cuba, and promises to do well also in southern Florida.

Geonoma. Species of this genus are doing moderately well in southern Florida planted in a shaded situation in the edge of the hammock.

Hedyscepe Canterburyana is doing excellently in southern Florida and should be hardy throughout the greater part of the state.

Howea. These palms do not seem to do well in Florida, although they should be hardy over the southern half of the state.

Hydriastele Wendlandiana is a handsome, rapid-growing palm which promises well when planted in partial shade in fairly good pine land. As it is a native of Queensland it is, no doubt, tender.

Hyophorbe amaricaulis and H. Verschaffeltii are strikingly ornamental, richly colored palms which are doing fairly well in lower Florida. Both have bottle-shaped caudices.

Hyphaene Schatan has been introduced into southern Florida and does well in pine land, although very tender. It has massive leaves with spiny-edged petioles.

Jubaea. The species grow very slowly. J. spectabilis should be hardy throughout Florida.

Latania. The latanias are among our noblest and moat beautiful palms; L. Loddigesii is very robust and L. Commersonii, although not so strong a grower, is very fine. They will grow in salty soil and stand salt air well, but are tender.

Licuala. Tropical palms from the Orient which do not do well in southern Florida. L. grandis and one or two others have succeeded for a short time, but soon die.

Livistona. Most of the species do well in southern Florida. L. chinensis and L. austrolis will probably prove hardy as far north as latitude 27°. They require rich moist soil. L. rotundifolia, L. altissima, L. Hoogendorpii, L. subglobosa and L. Jenkinsiana are fine tropical species.

Martinezia caryotaefolia is cultivated in southern Florida and seems to do best in a sheltered and partly shaded situation.

Nipa. This grows successfully in brackish marshes in southern Florida, although often destroyed by land crabs.

Oreodoxa. The species of this genus are unsurpassed for majesty and grace by anything in the vegetable kingdom. The common royal palm, O. regia, grows in the greatest abundance almost everywhere throughout the island of Cuba and is universally respected and loved by the natives.

It is generally a rather slender tree, rarely over 70 feet high and, as a rule, has a swelling somewhere along the stem. O. F. Cook considers that the species growing in the extreme lower end of this state is distinct and has named it Roystonea floridana. It grows to a height of 100 feet or more, the stem is not often swollen and the seeds are smaller than those of Cuban trees. Both flourish on rich or moist soil over the lower third of the state. O. Borinquena is a stouter species which will probably do well where the Cuban species will, while O. oleracea. is a lofty growing species that is much tenderer. They generally do not succeed well on pine land but will do fairly well if abundantly mulched and treated with muck, especially if they are irrigated.

Phoenix. All species and varieties of the date palm grow exceedingly well in Florida, and all the smaller kinds growing in tufts fruit abundantly, as do also the hybrids between Pdactylifera and P. sylvestris. They flourish equally well on pine, hammock or swamp land, even in brackish marshes. P. dactylifera, P. canariensis and P. sylvestris are hardy in northern Florida. Hybrids between these three are numerous. The tufted kinds like P. reclinata, P. palu-dosa. P. farinifera and their varieties form magnificent specimens of medium size when well cared for. P. humilis and P. Roebelenii grow best in rich moist somewhat shaded soil. For the large-growing species like P. canariensis and P. sylvestris, and for all the large- growing palmettos (sabals) it is necessary to make special preparations before setting them out on high pine land. Dig a hole 6 feet deep and 6 feet wide. Old tin cans, bones, rotten oak wood should be placed at the bottom, then stable manure mixed with clay should follow. The upper 2 feet of the hole should be filled in with surface soil mixed with well-rotted manure. Three- or 4-foot specimens should be set out in such places. They will grow very fast and will form beautiful specimens within a few years. On low moist soils and in hammock woods, such preparations are not so necessary. But wherever planted, all palms need two good applications of fertiliser each year. A good plan is to mulch the plants in April and May with stable manure. This should be dug in around the plants in October, and a good application of commercial fertilizer rich in potash should follow immediately. Potash serves to harden the plants and makes them more resistant to cold.

Phytelephas macrocarpa succeeds well in southern Florida.

Pritchardia, A few species of magnificent fan-leaved palms from the South Seas, all of which are excessively tender in Florida. They can be grown in the more tropical parts of the state in sheltered places but are liable to have their leaves disfigured by frost.

Pseudophoenix Sargentii has been found rather abundantly on Elliott's Key, one of the northernmost of the -lower chain. It is cultivated somewhat in southern Florida and when young is rather attractive but when old it has exceedingly dark foliage and is rather stiff and formal.

Ptychosperma Macarthuri is an elegant tufted palm which succeeds finely in southern Florida. It should have partial shade and shelter and if well fertilized it soon becomes a most attractive object.

Rhapidophyllum. This beautiful little palm is a native of northern and central Florida where it grows on low shaded ground. The low stems are covered with a very thick spongy mass of a peat-like substance. It is easily removed and thrives in any soil, even on high pine land. It does not need much water or fertilizer.

Rhapis. Slender, tufted, low-growing palms which are hardy in Florida and require moist soil and a shady place. R. humilis is the most elegant species, growing in dense clumps about 7 feet high. R. flabelliformis is more inclined to spread.

Roscheria. Young plants of R. mclanochates do well in southern Florida, in sheltered situations.

Sabal. In good rich moist soil all the sabals grow well and soon form fine specimens. Such soils need no special care before planting. but good applications of fertilizers are necessary, if fine-looking and thrifty specimens are desired. All do well, however, on high dry pine land soils if well watered and fertilized. If not well taken care of they are exceedingly slow growers. S. Blackburnianum has immense leaves, while those of the somewhat glaucous-colored S. mauritiaeforme are scarcely of less size. S. mexicanum resembles the native S. Palmetto. There are a number of distinct varieties, such as S. havanensis and S. princeps. The species which do not form a trunk, like iS. Adansonii, are only desirable for large palm collections.

Serenoa. Common on high pine lands as well as in rich hammocks. It grows in dense clumps and when given an opportunity to grow makes a very ornamental plant.

Stevensonia grandifolia is a magnificent palm but seems to be excessively tender in Florida. Perhaps it would succeed with protection until it attained considerable size.

Thrinax. The species of this fine genus do remarkably well in all kinds of situations and soils. They are all tropical and the beauty of the leaves is destroyed by frost. T. Wendlandiana, T. floridana, T. microcarpa and T. keyensis are natives of the extreme southern end of the state and are all fine. T. barbadensis and T. Morrisii are elegant species, the latter being dwarf. The magnificent leaves of T. altissima are liable to be injured by winds if planted in an exposed place.

Trachycarpus. These palms do not seem to thrive well in Florida, although a few specimens of T. excelsus in the central part of the state are doing well.

Verschaffeltia also does not thrive in Florida.

Wallichia caryotoides thrives in shady positions in southern Florida.

Washingtonia. Three distinct species are grown in Florida. W. robusta is one of our finest palms, growing rapidly and vigorously in pine land and it is used to some extent for planting along streets and roads. W. filifera is not so handsome a tree or so rapid a grower as W. robusta but it is doing well. W. Sonorae promises well here. Everywhere in Florida where the soil is moist, the washingtonias grow to perfection. They will not thrive on high dry ground.

They will occasionally require good applications of fertilisers.

Chas. T. Simpson. H. Nehrling.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

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