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PalmatierMeg

?Pinnate vs. palmate

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PalmatierMeg

Okay, it's Friday and my work day/week is dragging to an end. But I still have some intellect left and I've been wondering....

Has anyone ever done/read any study on why fan palms are so much more cold-hardy than feather palms? I believe the Butias are the most cold tolerant pinnate palms but can't hold a candle, so to speak, to Trachycarpus and its palmate kin. Why is that? Why do pinnate palms tend toward more tropical climes? What makes fan palms so much hardier? Is it total surface area exposed to cold? Stronger genes? If so, how? Why do the pinnates extend only so far, then hit the wall? Inquiring minds want to know.

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sonoranfans

(PalmatierMeg @ Apr. 04 2008,12:42)

QUOTE
Okay, it's Friday and my work day/week is dragging to an end. But I still have some intellect left and I've been wondering....

Has anyone ever done/read any study on why fan palms are so much more cold-hardy than feather palms? I believe the Butias are the most cold tolerant pinnate palms but can't hold a candle, so to speak, to Trachycarpus and its palmate kin. Why is that? Why do pinnate palms tend toward more tropical climes? What makes fan palms so much hardier? Is it total surface area exposed to cold? Stronger genes? If so, how? Why do the pinnates extend only so far, then hit the wall? Inquiring minds want to know.

In general fans are more cold hardy.  The number of fans that I have found that can take zone 9 is way greater.  Butias and Jubaeas and some phoenix are pretty cold hardy, but washie filiferas, brahea armatas, sabals, serenoa repens, trachys, mostly have them beat.  There are, of course, fans and feathers that are not cold hardy.  I once read on floridata that cold hardiness and drought tolerance were related.  So I would suspect it has to do with cell structure and cell fluid composition.   I amnot a botanist, but water with  impurities freezes at a lower temperature and the volume expansion of water under freezing is believed to cause tearing in the cell walls.  A loose cell wall structure and increased electrolytes or protein concentrations in cellular fluid would, in principle, lead to a lesser degree of cell damage under cold temperature exposures.  Just speculation, but a physics based speculation, not pure guessing.

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Kathryn

Interesting question Meg. A lot of peolpe prefer pinnate palms because they look more tropical.

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PalmGuyWC

Kathryn,

I think Tom's speculation is probably correct from a physical point of view. We all know the Butias are hardy to below 15F. (-10C), but Jubaeas are much more hardy, some have said down to -18C, but that might be pushing it. At any rate, Jubaea is the most cold hardy pinnate palm.

Because of the lack of many pinnate palms to take extream cold, this is the reason some of us are pushing for hybrids with either Butia or Jubaea as one of the parents. It seems when either is used as a parent the resulting hybrid is almost as hardy as the parent and grows much faster with hybrid vigor.

In recent years many new cocoid hybrids have been made, and soon many more will be available. The various combinations should produce many new palms for those of us who live on the climatic edges of where palms will grow. An added advantage with the hybrids is they seem to be more heat and humidity tollerent and will grow in areas where such palms as Parajubaeas and Jubaeas will not grow. The hybrids are just as attractive as their parents, if not more so. Twenty years from now, I expect we will hear of palms growing much further north, or south, of their present range.

Dick

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DoomsDave

Well, I'd be careful about generalizing too much.

Some fans like Pritchardias from the south Pacific are very tender.

Date Palms can survive a hard freeze and grow back from the roots.

Jubaeas can take temps down to zero.

I'd say the super-hardy palms are about evenly divided between fan and feather types.

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ruskinPalms

(sonoranfans @ Apr. 04 2008,13:42)

QUOTE

(PalmatierMeg @ Apr. 04 2008,12:42)

QUOTE
Okay, it's Friday and my work day/week is dragging to an end. But I still have some intellect left and I've been wondering....

Has anyone ever done/read any study on why fan palms are so much more cold-hardy than feather palms? I believe the Butias are the most cold tolerant pinnate palms but can't hold a candle, so to speak, to Trachycarpus and its palmate kin. Why is that? Why do pinnate palms tend toward more tropical climes? What makes fan palms so much hardier? Is it total surface area exposed to cold? Stronger genes? If so, how? Why do the pinnates extend only so far, then hit the wall? Inquiring minds want to know.

In general fans are more cold hardy.  The number of fans that I have found that can take zone 9 is way greater.  Butias and Jubaeas and some phoenix are pretty cold hardy, but washie filiferas, brahea armatas, sabals, serenoa repens, trachys, mostly have them beat.  There are, of course, fans and feathers that are not cold hardy.  I once read on floridata that cold hardiness and drought tolerance were related.  So I would suspect it has to do with cell structure and cell fluid composition.   I amnot a botanist, but water with  impurities freezes at a lower temperature and the volume expansion of water under freezing is believed to cause tearing in the cell walls.  A loose cell wall structure and increased electrolytes or protein concentrations in cellular fluid would, in principle, lead to a lesser degree of cell damage under cold temperature exposures.  Just speculation, but a physics based speculation, not pure guessing.

Hey Tom, I almost started a topic to discuss this. I think that your posting explains at least one reason why well fertilize palms tend to be a little more freeze hardy. Works the same way as when you throw salt on an iced up driveway in the winter. The salt lowers the freezing point of the driveway and thus the liquid water present at temps well below freezing. I guess the K salts in fertilizer probably work the same way. I dare some one to freeze a bowl of water and then spread palm fertilizer over to see if it melts the ice at all :)

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syersj

Many of the mature palms around San Antonio that took the great 80s freezes and recovered include feather palms, including Phoenix Canariensis, some Dactyliferas, and of course Butias.  A lot of Washingtonia Robusta died, although the hybrids with Filifera seemed to generally survive.

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DoomsDave

Again, "fan v. feather" isn't really the right way to look at it.

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_Keith

(Dave from So-Cal @ Apr. 07 2008,00:22)

QUOTE
Again, "fan v. feather" isn't really the right way to look at it.

Got to agree with you Dave.  I prefer the dead vrs alive version.  As near as I can figure palmate vrs pinnate doesn't play much, but I would give a sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight edge to palmate.  But not enough to matter.

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simona

(ruskinPalms @ Apr. 06 2008,14:04)

QUOTE
I think that your posting explains at least one reason why well fertilize palms tend to be a little more freeze hardy. Works the same way as when you throw salt on an iced up driveway in the winter. The salt lowers the freezing point of the driveway and thus the liquid water present at temps well below freezing. I guess the K salts in fertilizer probably work the same way. I dare some one to freeze a bowl of water and then spread palm fertilizer over to see if it melts the ice at all :)

Well, that is some good reason & I'd be happy to see the result of such experiment....

& it's to good to be true but, if so....then, waw, we could "grow more" in zone 9!!!!  :D

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DoomsDave

(keiththibodeaux @ Apr. 07 2008,01:26)

QUOTE

(Dave from So-Cal @ Apr. 07 2008,00:22)

QUOTE
Again, "fan v. feather" isn't really the right way to look at it.

Got to agree with you Dave.  I prefer the dead vrs alive version.  As near as I can figure palmate vrs pinnate doesn't play much, but I would give a sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight edge to palmate.  But not enough to matter.

We-e-e-e-lll

No.

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_Keith

The way I count it, and trust me I am no expert, but 3 of the top 4 cold hardiest palms in the world are palmate.

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SubTropicRay

Palmate wins in a landslide.

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Phil

There's no question that the list of options for someone from a colder area includes more fans than pinnate.  Cold tolerance is a genetic factor.  It has to do with the temperature at which the cells of any given species rupture.  This leads to plant death.  There are additional factors, but I think this is the most important one.  I've told the story before, but a researcher for the US Navy called me about this topic.  He was doing studies on what temps caused cellular rupture on which species.  Rhapidophyllum by far was the winner with his experiments with palms.  Here's an idea for you scientific types:  Genetically engineer Cyrtostachys r. so that it will grow easily in Florida and California.  You'll be on easy street from that accomplishment.  

Phil

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PalmGuyWC

Phil,

Some years back I read an article where scientiest were using a new process to alter the DNA in certain plants. The DNA of an unrelated plant was litterally shot into the DNA of the germplasam plant. This was sort of a hit and miss method, sort off like shooting a shot gun, but a few did reach the target. I think they were using tomatoes and shooting the DNA of tobacco into the tomatoes trying to make tomatoes more resistant to insects.

Wouldn't it be great if the genes that causes palms to be cold hardy could be transfured into tropical palms? Maybe some of the scientiest out there know about this process. Presently, I think the only method of mixing DNA in palms is through hybridization.

Dick

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sonoranfans

(ruskinPalms @ Apr. 06 2008,14:04)

QUOTE

(sonoranfans @ Apr. 04 2008,13:42)

QUOTE

(PalmatierMeg @ Apr. 04 2008,12:42)

QUOTE
Okay, it's Friday and my work day/week is dragging to an end. But I still have some intellect left and I've been wondering....

Has anyone ever done/read any study on why fan palms are so much more cold-hardy than feather palms? I believe the Butias are the most cold tolerant pinnate palms but can't hold a candle, so to speak, to Trachycarpus and its palmate kin. Why is that? Why do pinnate palms tend toward more tropical climes? What makes fan palms so much hardier? Is it total surface area exposed to cold? Stronger genes? If so, how? Why do the pinnates extend only so far, then hit the wall? Inquiring minds want to know.

In general fans are more cold hardy.  The number of fans that I have found that can take zone 9 is way greater.  Butias and Jubaeas and some phoenix are pretty cold hardy, but washie filiferas, brahea armatas, sabals, serenoa repens, trachys, mostly have them beat.  There are, of course, fans and feathers that are not cold hardy.  I once read on floridata that cold hardiness and drought tolerance were related.  So I would suspect it has to do with cell structure and cell fluid composition.   I amnot a botanist, but water with  impurities freezes at a lower temperature and the volume expansion of water under freezing is believed to cause tearing in the cell walls.  A loose cell wall structure and increased electrolytes or protein concentrations in cellular fluid would, in principle, lead to a lesser degree of cell damage under cold temperature exposures.  Just speculation, but a physics based speculation, not pure guessing.

Hey Tom, I almost started a topic to discuss this. I think that your posting explains at least one reason why well fertilize palms tend to be a little more freeze hardy. Works the same way as when you throw salt on an iced up driveway in the winter. The salt lowers the freezing point of the driveway and thus the liquid water present at temps well below freezing. I guess the K salts in fertilizer probably work the same way. I dare some one to freeze a bowl of water and then spread palm fertilizer over to see if it melts the ice at all :)

Yeah Bill freezing point depression can be achieved with cellular fluid if you can get some impurties into the cellular fluid.  I have read a number of articles that support the use of electrolytes and some fertilizer to make palms more resistant to freezing in winter.  I have actually done this myself prior to the winter of the '07 freeze(20degx2 nights).   Protein concentration in cellular fluid could be a factor, as amino acids will also depress the freezing point of water.  A simple mass spectroscopy measurement would reveal alot regarding the impurity content of  cellular fluid.

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