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The-ZonePusher

Updates on coconut palms in california?

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The-ZonePusher

One major point I suspect that dooms Cocos in California is that, since palms do all of their growing at night, they probably need to have a threshold temperature once the sun goes down, no doubt combined with a warm-enough soil temperature, while they commence growing new tissue. Not only in coastal California, but also inland, nighttime temperatures are quite chilly from the perspective of a lowland tropical plant. Even this morning, temperatures across the L.A. basin were in the mid-50s (admittedly lower than normal)...but those low temps extended approximately 90 miles inland to San Bernardino! But beyond that is the phenomenon of the cold eddy that spins over the cold Pacific, and the fact that as the inland deserts heat up, the pressure gradient sucks in that chilly air sometimes rather early in the afternoon, and often, within 10-15 miles of the coast, temperatures by 5-6pm are already cold enough that sweaters are in order, even though the day may have been 80F at 1pm. This give a unique temperature curve compared to climates where cooling happens much later at night.

In terms of absolute low temps, in Miami Beach the average nighttime low temp in the coolest month, January (62.8F), is equal to that measured in the warmest month, August, on the coast in Santa Monica (62.2F). Meanwhile Bermuda, on which coconuts grow plentifully, has daytime temps only a little warmer than coastal and near-coastal California throughout the year, but the nighttime temps are 10F warmer consistently throughout the year.

I would be curious to hear from Tyrone if Perth's evening temperatures from, say, 6pm-midnight (as opposed to morning absolute minima) are as cold as those in Southern California, since the absolute minima appear to be similar (though days appear to be much hotter in summer in Perth). If it's a little warmer there in the evening hours, perhaps that's what allows a coconut to push some growth and survive with less herculean efforts than are required in SoCal?

Ultimately if you want the look of a coconut in Southern California, why not grow a Beccariophoenix or a Howea? Those are both absolutely beautiful palms that carry the relaxed grace of the tropics and grow well, despite the year-round chilly evenings and nights found in California.

You've brought up some interesting points regarding night time temps. I think you're totally right. Perth in summer can sizzle. I'm 18km inland (11 miles) and in the heat of summer we may not get a cooling sea breeze at all on some nights. Also if we do get a seabreeze, it's warmed up by the time it reaches my area after passing over hot land. From mid Dec to mid March the mins happen just before sunrise and are around the 16-19C (61-67F) range on average. However we can get mins as high as 27,28C (81-84F) during a heat wave. The 6pm - midnight temp range will always be above 20C (68F) with midnight temps frequently around 25-27C (77-81F) and sometimes as high as 32C (90F). It's nothing to walk outside at 10pm from an airconditioned house into a wall of real heat in my area. Closer to the coast it's cooler and more humid. Often we'll go down to the beach at night, and it will feel pleasant and cool. By the time we're half way home it's stinking hot and your sweating again at 10pm. I think the high heat in summer between 6pm to midnight is the key. It's also the time when I irrigate and so the humidity goes quite high on those sort of nights. I've never thought about this before, but I think you're right.

Best regards

Tyrone

In Southern California, except in the low desert, it's pretty rare to have temps as you mention in the evening, though it can be warm in the evenings during hot summers in the inland valleys, separated as they are from the coast at least partially by hills or mountains. Certainly not 80-90F at midnight most of the time, though I always lived on the coastal plain so others can comment with greater accuracy for the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, and similar areas, as to when the temps really drop into the coolish range on summer nights. I know there are at least some 'hot' nights inland in summer. So I suspect there are obviously some nuanced climate differences between Perth/SW Oz and SoCal, despite the fact that they both fall into that rare "west-coast cool-current maritime fog-desert" climate zone, along with Chile and Portugal. Perhaps these really start to define what makes a Cocos able to survive. It's also interesting that the Newport Beach Cocos, though in a chilly area (even if warmed by automobiles, asphalt, concrete and walls), and the Santa Ana containerized specimen, both have lots of sand at their feet. Many have suggested it in the past, and perhaps this is indeed another key component for cooler areas.

How cold are your ocean temps, and do you also have this 'eddy' of low clouds and fog that sits off the coast, drifting in and out as is typical along the California coast? This is a persistent feature and is either the heaven or the dread of people living in the coastal and near-coastal areas of California in spring and summer. Good sleeping weather, but not that nice if you want to go to the Hollywood Bowl for an evening concert (schlepp the blankets and sweatshirts), and particularly if you're a heat-loving, tropical palm tree! Only when the Pacific Ocean warms up (to about 20-21C) in August-September is there some semblance of evening warmth for people along the coast, since it weakens the eddy and keeps it offshore. Nevertheless, there are some years when even the adamant cloud-forest people along the immediate coast complain that they never saw the sun once from April through September...

I noticed that you say you get six leaves in a summer on your Cocos, Tyrone, and it sounds from the few SoCal specimens mentioned in this thread that it might be only 2-3 leaves on in-ground plants there. A couple of new leaves obviously is not enough to sustain a crown and a healthy plant for years. Six leaves sounds decent enough if old leaves make it more than a season, so perhaps you're just on the edge? Where do Cocos start thriving to the north of you?

Sorry that I missed these questions earlier. I'll try and answer them.

One big difference between the southern west coast of OZ and So Cal is the ocean. Although we are on the west coast of a continent the traditional southerly to northerly flow of waters which keeps temps down is way off shore out near the continental shelf and beyond. The west coast of Oz has a tropical northerly to south current called the Leeuwin current which travels down the west coast all the way down from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea from about the shoreline out to the other cooler south north current way offshore. Winter ocean temps are around 18C and summer temps are between 22-23C, 24C in a warm year. I think the Leeuwin current is strongest in a La Nina period when winds across the top of Australia blow water into the Indian Ocean.

We don't get those clouds in summer like So Cal. It's all blue skies in summer. Sometimes you can literally go weeks without even seeing a small cloud in summer. Summer in Perth is typically blue bright and hot.

With my Cocos (which is suffering this record winter-41 days below 5C) it probably puts out 5 or 6 new leaves in a growing season (Spring to Autumn). In the summer it may very well put out 3 new leaves. I mark the spear year round, and although it grows slowly in winter it doesn't actually stop at all.

Cocos start to thrive at about 29S along the coast (I'm at 32S) at Dongara where there is at least one large healthy trunking specimen growing. Just a little further to the north at Geraldton (28.5S) there are many largish specimens which are fruiting now. Geraldton is approximately 1C warmer than me but with 1/3 of my rainfall. It is still a winter rainfall area that is very hot and dry in summer.

Another thing which is very helpful along the coastal areas of Western Australia is the abundance of sand. Coconuts love the sand.

Best regards

Tyrone

Except for the winter months, the overall temps of my area is almost the same as Geraldton. Spring and fall here is cooler by 3-4 degrees, and summers are just as long. My summer is hotter, but night time lows are cooler. Given winter protection, could one fruit here as well?

Edited by The-ZonePusher

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BS Man about Palms

Hey palm people,

Here's my Cocos nucifera,

I got it from Wal mart for $14.95 and babied it for the first 3+ years and now it is completely on it's own after 8-9 years in the ground against a 16 foot, South facing wall. It's overall height is about 13 feet.

It went through last winter without any shadecloth "help" of any kind.

Heres a pic to go with Marks Coconut. (I hope) I couldn't figure out how to reduce the photo size on Marks' mac.

post-27-1283828232925_thumb.jpg

PS- Bob, thats an old pic! Nice hunting..

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paulgila

Here i am in 1979 in my backyard obsessing over Coconuts . I grew Many too large size 15 gallon . I planted some only to watch them languish. Who knowa maybe one of these is the FAMOUS ! :mrlooney: NewPORT Beach coconut.

Believe me i feel your pain COCO -NUTS :lol:

post-406-12838060639453_thumb.jpg

put on some pants next time,bob! :mrlooney:

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LJG

Here i am in 1979 in my backyard obsessing over Coconuts . I grew Many too large size 15 gallon . I planted some only to watch them languish. Who knowa maybe one of these is the FAMOUS ! :mrlooney: NewPORT Beach coconut.

Believe me i feel your pain COCO -NUTS :lol:

post-406-12838060639453_thumb.jpg

Classic shot.

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Tyrone

The Zone-Pusher in answer to your question.

You won't know unless you try. No harm in that except to your wallet. Try and get the biggest fattest and healthiest one you can afford. Probably a tall green variety. Don't worry about LY, it's probably the least of your concerns at the end of the day anyway. Find the best sunniest south facing rocky microclimate you have preferably up against a south facing light coloured brick wall as tall as possible and plant it in early spring. Put pebbles all around it's base, and feed it with seaweed/fish emulsions and NPK like a prize boxer eats protein and carbs, and pray a lot. :D

All the best.

Tyrone

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Tyrone

"Good sleeping weather, but not that nice if you want to go to the Hollywood Bowl for an evening concert (schlepp the blankets and sweatshirts), and particularly if you're a heat-loving, tropical palm tree!"

I forgot to mention, in relation to the above comment, from late Nov to early April I don't wear a sweater or jumper as they call it over here, not even at night. It's just too warm. Down on the beach if you get a strong southerly wind then maybe you would at night, but other than that, my sweaters are tucked away for a few months of the year. I actually didn't realise that coastal So Cal was so cool at night, and cooled off by late afternoon. This must be one of the biggest differences between West Coast USA and West Coast Oz. It also explains why I can't grow Dypsis marojejyi, yet in So Cal you can grow them in full sun!

Best regards

Tyrone

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pogobob

Here i am in 1979 in my backyard obsessing over Coconuts . I grew Many too large size 15 gallon . I planted some only to watch them languish. Who knowa maybe one of these is the FAMOUS ! :mrlooney: NewPORT Beach coconut.

Believe me i feel your pain COCO -NUTS :lol:

post-406-12838060639453_thumb.jpg

Too sexy for my shorts :D My thighs were like bulging ropalostylis crownshafts in those days as I was a roadbike racer

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Zeeth

Hey palm people,

Here's my Cocos nucifera,

I got it from Wal mart for $14.95 and babied it for the first 3+ years and now it is completely on it's own after 8-9 years in the ground against a 16 foot, South facing wall. It's overall height is about 13 feet.

It went through last winter without any shadecloth "help" of any kind.

Heres a pic to go with Marks Coconut. (I hope) I couldn't figure out how to reduce the photo size on Marks' mac.

post-27-1283828232925_thumb.jpg

PS- Bob, thats an old pic! Nice hunting..

Oh, wow, that's a nice one. If any coconut in Cali is able to survive besides the Newport Beach one, that one's definitely it

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LJG

I have waited to show my Coconut. This is three years in the ground now.

falsecocoIMG_0761.jpg

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Zeeth

You sneaky sneakster :D

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Tilto

Very nice,looks better than many here in So Florida

I have waited to show my Coconut. This is three years in the ground now.

falsecocoIMG_0761.jpg

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kylecawazafla

hmmmm...... I never really post photos of things that aren't palms, but this one seemed way too appropriate!

post-305-12840533066479_thumb.jpg

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quaman58

Nice one Len. Good planning, good fortune, or both?

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SoTropiCal Ben

I have waited to show my Coconut. This is three years in the ground now.

falsecocoIMG_0761.jpg

If I wasn't growing them from seed, I probably would have thought that was a true coconut palm. I'm going to say, that's a Beccariophoenix, and because of the recent discovery and fast growth, I would have to say Alfredii? Comments anyone?

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pogobob

I have waited to show my Coconut. This is three years in the ground now.

falsecocoIMG_0761.jpg

Windows form or nonwindows? :lol:

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SoTropiCal Ben

Niether. Alfredii. :winkie:

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MattyB

Lookin' good Len, glad to see some pics from your awesome garden. Post some more. :)

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palmazon

If I wasn't growing them from seed, I probably would have thought that was a true coconut palm. I'm going to say, that's a Beccariophoenix, and because of the recent discovery and fast growth, I would have to say Alfredii? Comments anyone?

BLASPHEMER! IDOLATOR! HERETIC! wouldst thou doubt the one and only true Len?

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MattyB

Well, it's not Len's fault, he really doesn't know that much about palms. He's really good with Jade plants though.

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SoTropiCal Ben

If I wasn't growing them from seed, I probably would have thought that was a true coconut palm. I'm going to say, that's a Beccariophoenix, and because of the recent discovery and fast growth, I would have to say Alfredii? Comments anyone?

BLASPHEMER! IDOLATOR! HERETIC! wouldst thou doubt the one and only true Len?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 08:11 AM

Ryan,

Welcome to PalmTalk! And just for the benefit of everyone else - we had another "California coconut" thread very recently. That thread unfortunately had to be deleted after a number of Forum members found it necessary to make inappropriate, sarcastic and off-topic remarks. Any similar responses in this thread will be dealt with promptly, so stay on topic! Please!

Aloha! :)

Bo-Göran

I want to reiterate what Bo said above. Let's stay educated and focused, and let's not use words that can be taken in other ways, lest this thread also be removed.

I'm sure Len is well respected and has great garden skills, but that still looks a lot like a Beccario to me. I could be wrong that's why I was interested in wanting to know what others thought of that photo or perhaps Len himself can post a closer photo of the rachis area or a connected coconut seed. (?)

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MattyB

Ben,

You've got it right; it is Beccariophoenix alfredii. Palmazon and I are friends with Len, we were just joking. Sometimes sarcasm is hard to gleen when you can't see the people face to face, especially because Palmazon and I don't often use :):):winkie::mrlooney: when making jokes. It's all good.

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SoTropiCal Ben

Oh, gotcha! Ok. Thanks for explaining that one. It seemed hard to believe that Len didn't know much about this palm or others, for that matter, seeing he is well established in this forum.

Anyhow, I was wondering if I was wrong on the Beccario because it looks so much like a coconut. Wouldn't you agree? Wow! It almost got me fooled.

I would reiterate that I think it's awesome to try to grow a coconut here in SoCal and we can't say 'it hasn't been done' because technically, it has. However, I would also encourage that it would seem wise to me to plant a Beccariophoenix Alfredii, as a 'fall back on' palm , just in case we have another tough winter. Cheers :winkie:

Edited by SoTropiCal Ben

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Zeeth

I'm growing 50 or so B. alfredii, and 10 B. sp. windows. I have seen an adult B. sp. windows in person and man, it looks just like a coconut (it's trunk was a little on the thick side, but I've seen equally large coconuts that received ample fertilizer as juveniles, and it also tapered down like coconuts do, so it was just about right). I've heard that the 3 species of Beccariophoenix look pretty much identical when adults, so I have high hopes for B. alfredii. I'm also going to be trying out some different growing techniques with my B. alfredii. I've got one triple and 2 doubles, to see if the trunks will curve out from each other like coconuts. I will also be growing one to a large size in a pot and planting it on it's side, to see if it will form a curve like a coconut (if I doesn't, I'll dig it up and plant it on it's side again periodically until I can get it to form a gentle curve like a coconut).

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LJG

Ha-ha. Its all in good fun. You guys got me. It is a B. alfredii. :)

Just wanted to see if I could trick someone. This palm really does look like a Coconut, but this one grows through winter!

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Zeeth

Ha-ha. Its all in good fun. You guys got me. It is a B. alfredii. :)

Just wanted to see if I could trick someone. This palm really does look like a Coconut, but this one grows through winter!

You said it's been in the ground 3 years, do you have any idea how old it is from seed?

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LJG

I am not sure Keith. I can found out. This was from the first seed batch that came in. I think Jeff Searle has some of these from the same batch so he might know.

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Zeeth

I am not sure Keith. I can found out. This was from the first seed batch that came in. I think Jeff Searle has some of these from the same batch so he might know.

Ol thanks. I've seen pictures of Jeff's. It looks larger than yours, so I think they may grow faster in our climate. Here's the picture of Jeff's that I have

post-3598-1284079589723_thumb.jpg

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Jeff in St Pete

Ha-ha. Its all in good fun. You guys got me. It is a B. alfredii. :)

Just wanted to see if I could trick someone. This palm really does look like a Coconut, but this one grows through winter!

You tricked me. I thought for sure that was a well grown juvenile coconut still holding all its fronds.

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LJG

I am not sure Keith. I can found out. This was from the first seed batch that came in. I think Jeff Searle has some of these from the same batch so he might know.

Ol thanks. I've seen pictures of Jeff's. It looks larger than yours, so I think they may grow faster in our climate. Here's the picture of Jeff's that I have

Mine was in the pot longer too. But yes, they do grow faster in FL. They slow down in Winter here. They also grow much faster in the ground as most palms do.

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BS Man about Palms

I believe the biggest I have seen are ones Pete planted at his clinic.

post-27-12840927514035_thumb.jpg

Zeeth, are you sure that one is Alfredii? If so, its probably because Jeff planted one from Pete before Pete did. But they look a little different.

And I know I was told at one point, I think they are 5-6 years old at most..

Len- Good post to show why its really not worth the bother to struggle with a coconut... just get a alfredii.

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Tyrone

Nice B alfredii pics. These big ones must have been from the original batch of seed long before RPS started selling them as B sp "high plateau" in 2006. I would just hazard a guess they're from seed in the 2001, 2002 era. They're pretty close to a coconut, but that picture kind of gave itself away. Real coconuts keep bifid leaves for much longer than B alfredii, and unless it's a green variety, have more gold than B alfredii in them. Still they're an awesome palm that must be grown more. Yes, they do grow through winter, but then so does my coconut. :)

I just drove past the Morley coconut yesterday and although we've had a horrible winter, it's looking OK, but with the usual winter stress. The leaves are a good 12ft long and it's trunking although the trunk is running parallel to the ground like a Nannorhops. :)

Best regards

Tyrone

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Zeeth

Tyrone, May of 2004 was when the first expedition was set out to find the palm, so I don't think there are any in cultivation older than that.

BS Man, The picture was sent to me as Alfredii. 5-6 years sounds about right, and it's not too bad, I wonder when they'll start trunking

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Tyrone

Tyrone, May of 2004 was when the first expedition was set out to find the palm, so I don't think there are any in cultivation older than that.

BS Man, The picture was sent to me as Alfredii. 5-6 years sounds about right, and it's not too bad, I wonder when they'll start trunking

Didn't Alfred in Tana get seed before this? I thought he received seed first then went looking to locate the actual plants. You can imagine that the seed collectors would have considered it B madagascariensis but in a completely wrong location. I reckon those big alfredii's are older than 5 or 6 years. Jeff could tell us how old his is.

Best regards

Tyrone

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The-ZonePusher

This is just my opinion, no offense to anyone. No palm no matter how easy it is to grow and much it looks like a coconut palm will ever replace one for me. But I do think that palm is nice, its just not what I want. I wouldn't be surprized to see a hybrid of the two? I would like that if the hybrid would be more like a new variety of coconut palm, but one that is better suited for cooler climates. Hopefully it could create large edible coconuts:) Any thoughts?

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Zeeth

Zone Pusher, I agree, nothing will ever replace the coconut, but it's nice to have palms like B. alfredii and Butia X Cocos to grow to be able to get as close to a coconut look as possible. Although I can grow coconuts where I am (and I do), it's still cool to grow the lookalikes.

Tyrone, I'm not sure honestly, this is what I'm going off of

The species was first noted in 2002, when Alfred Razafindratsira noticed a picture of a Beccariophoenix species in photographs taken of the vegetation surrounding Andrembesoa (originally taken in search of a species of Pachypodium in the rocky escarpments to the southwest of Antsirabe). Alfred found this odd, considering this area of Madagascar is far from the other localities of Beccariophoenix and is, furthermore, ecologically totally different from the east coast and littoral forests where the other Beccariophoenix species are known to occur. In May 2004, an expedition was set off into the High Plateau of Madagascar, to confirm the existence of this species. On the fourth day of the expedition, the new population of Beccariophoenix was found.

Which seems like he noticed that the species was there in 2002, but no one was able to get up there to collect seed until 2004. You may be right though

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Tyrone

Yeah Zeeth, that's the info I was going off too. It is possible his local collectors who went Pachypodium hunting, took some seeds with them back to Alfred in 2002, and that's where those big plants have come from. I think Alfred kept this species under wraps for a while, and it's location secret. The other thing that may have happened is seedlings may have been dug up, and that's where these larger ones have come from. Jeff may have got plants in from Alfred early on.

The reason I think those big ones are older than 5 or 6 years is that I have seedlings from the original 2006 RPS list and they are nowhere near as big as those, but they would be a good 2ft tall above the pot. Admittedly I'm not in the warmest climate although this species hates the hot humid tropics, and prefers the lower humidity cooler weather they get in the mountains. My year round average temp is about 19C which falls in the middle of what this species would get in habitat according to "Palms". So I wouldn't expect it to be slow here either. Compared to B mad it's a rocket. They're a very easy grow here. I just ignore them and they grow.

Best regards

Tyrone

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SoTropiCal Ben

I like that! You ignore them and they grow. Now, I know, I'm not the only one who feels that way about them. :lol:

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LJG

Keith, no way my plant is only 6 years old. I would guess 10.

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Zeeth

I would think 8 years would be the max, as the article about it in palms states 2002 as the year that Alfred first saw it, but I didn't import the seed so I honestly can't say. Either way, it's a superb specimen

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Tyrone

I would think 8 years would be the max, as the article about it in palms states 2002 as the year that Alfred first saw it, but I didn't import the seed so I honestly can't say. Either way, it's a superb specimen

Len's plant may have been a 2 year old wild collected seedling in 2002. That's pure conjecture though. I know that it is relatively easy to import seedlings into parts of the US from Madagascar. Seedling import into Australia is next to impossible.

Best regards

Tyrone

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