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Brahea Axel

B. Alfredii under-rated

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Moose

This is what I was certain to be a Beccariophoenix alfredi in my yard.

post-1729-0-10988800-1366385433_thumb.jppost-1729-0-42312100-1366385546_thumb.jppost-1729-0-69652700-1366385574_thumb.jp

the petioles ...

post-1729-0-37321900-1366385614_thumb.jppost-1729-0-62444000-1366385652_thumb.jppost-1729-0-74583400-1366385698_thumb.jp

post-1729-0-26928600-1366385729_thumb.jppost-1729-0-41100800-1366385760_thumb.jp

overall view from several aspects

post-1729-0-20441600-1366385869_thumb.jp

a bird's eye view

After this thread - I'm not so certain :bemused:

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richnorm

Moose that's classic madagascariensis

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redant

Moose that's classic madagascariensis

i agree, time to purchase some alfredi moose

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Phoenikakias

Someone posted that Dysis decipians does well in shade, but that is not true at all. When I planted my Dypsis decipians they were small plants. I fell in love with them after seeing many in shaded and coastal gardens. They were growing and pretty, one of them had ten foot leaves. Today my decipians have lots of trunk and all those shaded ones look the same. Because palms grow and live in the shade and have that shade green color, does not mean they grow good in the shade. Dypsis decipians and B Alfredii belong in full sun if you ever want to see one trunk in under 20 years. Gary

Good advice Gary, except that if I followed it at my place, my alfredii would be toasted by frost in the first winter.

In the long run I'd rather have a live, slow-growing palm in shade with the potential to get bigger, than a dead one with the potential only to rot.

Cheers,

Jonathan.

It depends on the prevailing climatic conditions. In the cold-hardy section it has been recently almost unanimously accepted that DD at least when young does not tolerate well cold soil during winter (and that's the case when winter is constantly cool to cold even though without freezing temps), and this latter factor could also lead to the gradual decline of young plants. If this is also the case with B. alfredii then in such places full sun is a must. If on the other hand you fear of an occasional frost or excessive sun in summer, you'd better take extra protection measures during the suspicious period of year.

I used to think that too when I first started to grow palms, but the last 17 years of palm growing have shown me that Winter sun is the least favorable for tender tropicals. I've experienced exactly the opposite. Winter sun hitting a plant that has cold feet is probably the best recipe for disaster. The sun angle is too low to really warm up the soil during the peak Winter months, but it's warm enough and at the right angle to cause leaves to try to metabolize when the roots aren't capable of supplying nutrients.

The best setup for a tropical plant that likes full sun is to give it a setup where it can get full sun in the Summer and as much shade as possible in the Winter. The shade will help the above ground portion to stay as inactive as possible while the roots aren't capable of functioning.

This is probably the #1 reason why I succeed with palms up here that others have failed with. I have a lot of large trees that maximize Winter shade in many parts of my garden while allowing full sun during the Summer. The sun angle drops the fastest during September while it's still warm, and palms start to slow down. By the time the real cold arrives, the palms are dormant and can handle a lot more cold. Spring provides a gradual increase in sun exposure, and as the soil warms up, the sun exposure increases. This is the most optimal setup.

Another circumstance where Winter sun can be clearly seen as detrimental is when you look at the freeze damage patterns. The south and east sides of palms and tropical trees are usually the places that damage first, because the sun hits the leaves first thing in the Morning and the tissue goes instantly from freezing to thawing and the plant cells can't take it.

Axel, as far as I remember correctly your basic soil is sandy while mine is clayish. That may turn all conclusions upside down. Your soil drains fast, mine not, your soil warms up fast, mine not, this means further that, given that coldest soil temps follow by 4 weeks delay coldest air temps, when air finally warms up with silmutanuous rise of light duration (enviromental conditions for new growth intiation) roots are still in a very cold eviroment to work properly. On the other hand when winter sun warms up upper layers of clayish soil these get dried up and so the caterpillary action starts again. I have observed countless times how a clear ground, free of weeds covering, during winter helps in my place palms to get through winter better.

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Brahea Axel

It depends on the prevailing climatic conditions. In the cold-hardy section it has been recently almost unanimously accepted that DD at least when young does not tolerate well cold soil during winter (and that's the case when winter is constantly cool to cold even though without freezing temps), and this latter factor could also lead to the gradual decline of young plants. If this is also the case with B. alfredii then in such places full sun is a must. If on the other hand you fear of an occasional frost or excessive sun in summer, you'd better take extra protection measures during the suspicious period of year.

I used to think that too when I first started to grow palms, but the last 17 years of palm growing have shown me that Winter sun is the least favorable for tender tropicals. I've experienced exactly the opposite. Winter sun hitting a plant that has cold feet is probably the best recipe for disaster. The sun angle is too low to really warm up the soil during the peak Winter months, but it's warm enough and at the right angle to cause leaves to try to metabolize when the roots aren't capable of supplying nutrients.

The best setup for a tropical plant that likes full sun is to give it a setup where it can get full sun in the Summer and as much shade as possible in the Winter. The shade will help the above ground portion to stay as inactive as possible while the roots aren't capable of functioning.

This is probably the #1 reason why I succeed with palms up here that others have failed with. I have a lot of large trees that maximize Winter shade in many parts of my garden while allowing full sun during the Summer. The sun angle drops the fastest during September while it's still warm, and palms start to slow down. By the time the real cold arrives, the palms are dormant and can handle a lot more cold. Spring provides a gradual increase in sun exposure, and as the soil warms up, the sun exposure increases. This is the most optimal setup.

Another circumstance where Winter sun can be clearly seen as detrimental is when you look at the freeze damage patterns. The south and east sides of palms and tropical trees are usually the places that damage first, because the sun hits the leaves first thing in the Morning and the tissue goes instantly from freezing to thawing and the plant cells can't take it.

Axel, as far as I remember correctly your basic soil is sandy while mine is clayish. That may turn all conclusions upside down. Your soil drains fast, mine not, your soil warms up fast, mine not, this means further that, given that coldest soil temps follow by 4 weeks delay coldest air temps, when air finally warms up with silmutanuous rise of light duration (enviromental conditions for new growth intiation) roots are still in a very cold eviroment to work properly. On the other hand when winter sun warms up upper layers of clayish soil these get dried up and so the caterpillary action starts again. I have observed countless times how a clear ground, free of weeds covering, during winter helps in my place palms to get through winter better.

Fair enough, there are so many variables in any given ecosystem that it's really hard to make any predictions for one ecosystem based on another. it's true that clay soil presents a completely different set of challenges. I used to live at a place with clay soil, it was a completely different ballgame. I also have heard that it changes the whole dynamics of how a freeze works. Clay soil is supposed to be better as it has more thermal mass. So without a mulch layer, you get better warming from clay.

I spent 15 years observing my garden before really diving in on choosing what to plant. Now I know where to plant the tender and hardy stuff. Not sure there is much of a substitue other than to learn by trial and error what works and what doesn't. Maybe the best advice is plant enough diversity and see what sticks. Mother nature will select the right plants for you if you plant enough. :)

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Moose

Moose that's classic madagascariensis

i agree, time to purchase some alfredi moose

:crying: Yeah - just what I need. Another palm that grows to be a biggin ... :bummed:

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DoomsDave

Moose that's classic madagascariensis

i agree, time to purchase some alfredi moose

:crying: Yeah - just what I need. Another palm that grows to be a biggin ... :bummed:

You can always squeeze in just one more . . .

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Dorian

Just to pile on, here's a side-by-side of an alfredii (left) and a madagascariensis/"no windows" (right). The latter being almost twice as old as the former.

post-7061-0-95195000-1366652846_thumb.jp

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MattyB

Yep.

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Brahea Axel

Just to pile on, here's a side-by-side of an alfredii (left) and a madagascariensis/"no windows" (right). The latter being almost twice as old as the former.

attachicon.gifIMG_0995.JPG

interesting, I was at JD Andersen's nursery yesterday and saw his "no Windows". Dan told me that he believes that b. alfredi is being hyped up, and is no better than 'no windows' in terms of hardiness and speed. But when I see Dorian's picture I am not so sure this is true. Well, i ended up buying one of JD Andersen's shade house grown 'no windows', I'll throw it in the ground up North as a comparison. It was on sale anyway. Dan also said they're hard to distinguish as seedlings, but I've pretty much thrown out my theory on there being some sort of magically hardier, more cold tolerant strain of Beccariophoenix. I think that's not very likely to be true.

Judging on how cold it got up there last Winter, I'd say 'no windows' is a pretty tough plant. Some of his kentias got hit, but the 'no windows' was fully exposed and seemed like it looked pretty darn good, much better than the alfredii's I've seen in the ground elsewhere.

There is so much mixed information out there it's hard to make any sense of it other than just grabbing the darn plants and growing them out to see what happens. After this lengthy thread and several discussions with nurseries and proof points by looking at the actual plants, I see no difference in Winter tolerance between alfredii and 'no windows', except that 'no windows' actually looks better because it doesn't have the awful yellowing that makes the small alfrediis look like they're about to croak. It may be that alfredii is the faster of the two and may crank out more growth in cool weather, but 'no windows' seems like the palm of choice for California from what I saw first hand. The latter is going to look a lot better after a cold Winter.

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Dorian

I've seen some smaller alfredii and oddly enough, they have windows. (Although much smaller ones than the actual "windows" form.) They're clearly not, because they lose it quick and have that much looser, blue-ish crown, but there you have it.

It's easy to see how the three have overlapping characteristics that are making it super confusing for people. 'Windows" and alfredii both have windows when young. "Windows" and "no windows" both have that upright, dark green leaf. Two are more cold tolerant and two are more heat tolerant, and two are more sensitive to nutrition... sort of a round robin of characteristics between the three, and then I hear the growth rate order is different based on location as well.

They are clearly different species, but it's pretty dodgy to try IDing them off one characteristic alone. Someone needs to make a flow chart. :D

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MattyB

They do make flow charts for id-ing palms, they call them keys. Same idea. I wonder if there's a key to Beccariophoenix in any of the Palms Journals? I don't remember seeing one.

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LJG

Just to pile on, here's a side-by-side of an alfredii (left) and a madagascariensis/"no windows" (right). The latter being almost twice as old as the former.

attachicon.gifIMG_0995.JPG

Nice plants Dorian. That was the size of my Alfredii when I planted mine and it has gotten huge. Find full sun in your garden for it - if you can. Trust me on this one. Madagascariensis will do fine in more shade, but if you don't want a slow growing, stretched out plant like Mardy has had for decades, don't do full shade.

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LJG

Just to pile on, here's a side-by-side of an alfredii (left) and a madagascariensis/"no windows" (right). The latter being almost twice as old as the former.

attachicon.gifIMG_0995.JPG

interesting, I was at JD Andersen's nursery yesterday and saw his "no Windows". Dan told me that he believes that b. alfredi is being hyped up, and is no better than 'no windows' in terms of hardiness and speed.

I like Dan a lot. But I disagree on speed. It is faster than Madagascariensis - here in SoCal. However, as a few have stated in this thread (myself included), I too agree that I am not sure how much more hardy they really are. I have found Alfredii to be more problematic in winter in fact. But neither species has seen frost or freezing temps in my garden, so all bets are off when that happens.

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DoomsDave

From what I've seen alfredii is way faster than no-window, two or three times the growth rate easy. Full sun is definitely best, even for small plants in gallon pots, especially for alfredii.

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Dorian

I don't have any full sun in the garden because of the canopy, unless I want to whack some stuff down, but I'm sticking it in the strongest filtered I can find at least. I trimmed an avocado way back, and once the alfredii gets a bit larger to fill in that area, I'll take it out entirely.

I put the madagascariensis in the only full sun spot left in the yard, 'cuz I figured it was so much slower it would need the advantage in catch-up, and "full sun" right here on the coast doesn't exactly mean as much anyway. But that was literally only yesterday... I could easily switch 'em around without much disruption if it's the right thing to do.

Edited by Dorian

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richnorm

Anyone noticed a heel on alfredii? I think this might be a mad. feature but not sure. Anyway, they look quite different to me so don't really appreciate the confusion.

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sonoranfans

Anyone noticed a heel on alfredii? I think this might be a mad. feature but not sure. Anyway, they look quite different to me so don't really appreciate the confusion.

No heel on any of my 3(4'-5.5' overall). though my alfredii are as dense, as many leaflets, as Dorians madagascarensis. Dorians alfredii might be offering a look at form in the shade, elongated and more sparse in the crown.

Edited by sonoranfans

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Brahea Axel

OK, so the key would look something like this?

b. alfredii

- fast growth

- dry heat tolerant

- cool tolerant 45-55F growth

- not chill tolerant 32-45F (yellows in the cold)

- windows at seedling stage

- upright growth

- thinner, more open leaflets than other two

- marron new petiole, turning to blue-green

- hardiness: zone 9b survivability, zone 10a cosmetic attractiveness

b. 'no windows' or b. madagascariensis

- slow growth

- dry heat tolerant

- cool tolerance 45-55F range unknown, presumably ok

- chill tolerant 32-45F (looks better after Winter)

- no windows at all stages

- upright growth

- thicker dark green leaflets than alfredii

- petiole yellow in full sun like a coconut, greener in shade

- zone 9b survivability, zone 10a cosmetic attractiveness

b. 'windows" or b. fenestra

- slow growth

- not heat tolerant

- cool (45-55F) tolerance unknown

- chill tolerance (32-45F) unknown

- windows for a long time as juvenile

- more horizontal, droopy growth

- thicker dark green leaflets than alfredii

- petiole yellow in full sun like a coconut, greener in shade

- Hardiness: zone 10a survivability, zone 10b cosmetic attractiveness

please correct the above as necessary.

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MattyB

When small, I've observed a small heel on B. madagascarensis, aka no windows. It wasn't very pronounced, just sort of a side creep like Ravenea glauca or Dypsis leptocheilos will do sometimes.

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Dypsisdean

I don't have any full sun in the garden because of the canopy, unless I want to whack some stuff down, but I'm sticking it in the strongest filtered I can find at least. I trimmed an avocado way back, and once the alfredii gets a bit larger to fill in that area, I'll take it out entirely.

I put the madagascariensis in the only full sun spot left in the yard, 'cuz I figured it was so much slower it would need the advantage in catch-up, and "full sun" right here on the coast doesn't exactly mean as much anyway. But that was literally only yesterday... I could easily switch 'em around without much disruption if it's the right thing to do.

You found two nice plants - good job. I think I would just leave them as you have them. Especially since the Avo will go someday. Maybe just leave as is for the hot summer coming up, and than as winter approaches selectively thin out the Avo to get more winter sun/warmth in.

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George Sparkman

A true father / son moment.

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Dorian

Anyone noticed a heel on alfredii? I think this might be a mad. feature but not sure. Anyway, they look quite different to me so don't really appreciate the confusion.

No heel on any of my 3(4'-5.5' overall). though my alfredii are as dense, as many leaflets, as Dorians madagascarensis. Dorians alfredii might be offering a look at form in the shade, elongated and more sparse in the crown.

That's entirely possible, but if so, that's another amazing data point. That alfredii has been sitting in full inland sun all day for 3+ months before I bought it. No acclimating and there isn't a mark on it. So if it was grown in shade, the things are super hardy to burn.

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Dorian

A true father / son moment.

Most of the time he just tells me I'm gunna kill everything.

(I kid, I kid.)

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Zeeth

BeccAlfrediiPicture3.jpg

This is B. sp. windows, as was the first picture

4289909718_a07b8961d7z.jpg

I'm pretty sure I'm the one who took this picture, and when I originally posted it there was some confusion as to which species it was, so I sent a few emails around and was able to find the original grower and he told me that it (and the other specimen in the park mislabeled as S. pseudococos) are both B. madagascariensis. I posted some pictures of mature specimens that Mijoro emailed me a while back in this thread

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/19736-beccariophoenix/?hl=mijoro#entry378428

This has been a weird palm for me. I sprouted somewhere upwards of 50 a few years back (2009 i believe), and some are still at the monofid stage whereas some are 5 feet tall, all under the same conditions. I don't know what's causing this discrepancy in growth speed but it's probably just natural variation. As per the cold hardiness, it's true that they can handle somewhat low temperatures, however they are damaged pretty badly by frost. It seems to me that some canopy is the answer to this.

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sonoranfans

Anyone noticed a heel on alfredii? I think this might be a mad. feature but not sure. Anyway, they look quite different to me so don't really appreciate the confusion.

No heel on any of my 3(4'-5.5' overall). though my alfredii are as dense, as many leaflets, as Dorians madagascarensis. Dorians alfredii might be offering a look at form in the shade, elongated and more sparse in the crown.

Mine were also sitting in medium shade before I bought them. these do not burn in florida at all. I put mine in fulls sun, part sun and mainly shade. the most sparse one in the crown, and also

That's entirely possible, but if so, that's another amazing data point. That alfredii has been sitting in full inland sun all day for 3+ months before I bought it. No acclimating and there isn't a mark on it. So if it was grown in shade, the things are super hardy to burn.

these are superhardy to burn. Mine were in shade before planting, the one in full sun didn't show even a hint in all day full florida sun. And it is more dense of crown than those grown in part shade.

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Brahea Axel

BeccAlfrediiPicture3.jpg

This is B. sp. windows, as was the first picture

4289909718_a07b8961d7z.jpg

I'm pretty sure I'm the one who took this picture, and when I originally posted it there was some confusion as to which species it was, so I sent a few emails around and was able to find the original grower and he told me that it (and the other specimen in the park mislabeled as S. pseudococos) are both B. madagascariensis. I posted some pictures of mature specimens that Mijoro emailed me a while back in this thread

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/19736-beccariophoenix/?hl=mijoro#entry378428

This has been a weird palm for me. I sprouted somewhere upwards of 50 a few years back (2009 i believe), and some are still at the monofid stage whereas some are 5 feet tall, all under the same conditions. I don't know what's causing this discrepancy in growth speed but it's probably just natural variation. As per the cold hardiness, it's true that they can handle somewhat low temperatures, however they are damaged pretty badly by frost. It seems to me that some canopy is the answer to this.

Which one was weird for you? 'no windows' or alfredii?

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Zeeth

BeccAlfrediiPicture3.jpg

This is B. sp. windows, as was the first picture

4289909718_a07b8961d7z.jpg

I'm pretty sure I'm the one who took this picture, and when I originally posted it there was some confusion as to which species it was, so I sent a few emails around and was able to find the original grower and he told me that it (and the other specimen in the park mislabeled as S. pseudococos) are both B. madagascariensis. I posted some pictures of mature specimens that Mijoro emailed me a while back in this thread

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/19736-beccariophoenix/?hl=mijoro#entry378428

This has been a weird palm for me. I sprouted somewhere upwards of 50 a few years back (2009 i believe), and some are still at the monofid stage whereas some are 5 feet tall, all under the same conditions. I don't know what's causing this discrepancy in growth speed but it's probably just natural variation. As per the cold hardiness, it's true that they can handle somewhat low temperatures, however they are damaged pretty badly by frost. It seems to me that some canopy is the answer to this.

Which one was weird for you? 'no windows' or alfredii?

alfredii. I haven't grown any of the no windows variety

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Brahea Axel

I have two very distinct forms of alfredii: one is darker with glaucous petioles and a pronounced maroon/purple petiole color. It's from an older seed batch. The second form is green to blue green with no glaucous waxy deposits, looks identical in color to the 'no windows' I am growing.

I am new to these, so we'll have to see how these various plants evolve. I have a total of four in the ground in various locations to test them out.

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Hammer

OK, so the key would look something like this?

b. alfredii

- fast growth

- dry heat tolerant

- cool tolerant 45-55F growth

- not chill tolerant 32-45F (yellows in the cold)

- windows at seedling stage

- upright growth

- thinner, more open leaflets than other two

- marron new petiole, turning to blue-green

- hardiness: zone 9b survivability, zone 10a cosmetic attractiveness

b. 'no windows' or b. madagascariensis

- slow growth

- dry heat tolerant

- cool tolerance 45-55F range unknown, presumably ok

- chill tolerant 32-45F (looks better after Winter)

- no windows at all stages

- upright growth

- thicker dark green leaflets than alfredii

- petiole yellow in full sun like a coconut, greener in shade

- zone 9b survivability, zone 10a cosmetic attractiveness

b. 'windows" or b. fenestra

- slow growth

- not heat tolerant

- cool (45-55F) tolerance unknown

- chill tolerance (32-45F) unknown

- windows for a long time as juvenile

- more horizontal, droopy growth

- thicker dark green leaflets than alfredii

- petiole yellow in full sun like a coconut, greener in shade

- Hardiness: zone 10a survivability, zone 10b cosmetic attractiveness

please correct the above as necessary.

The petioles on B. Alfredii can be yellow. I have two, that are yellow

As Matty mentioned, the B.mad. "no windows" have a bit of a heel to them when very young.

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Brahea Axel

Since there was so much discussion on whether b. alfredii was an under-canopy palm or not, well, here is an interesting resource that confirms that the habitat was actually originally forest.

http://www.wildmadagascar.org/overview/ecosystems.html#hes

To be more specific:

Grasslands of the Hauts Plateaux ("bosaka")
The central of highlands of Madagascar once had significant forest cover but generations of clearing for Zebu cattle and agriculture have left most of the countryside a sea of grass. Lacking roots to anchor the soil, hillsides slide away (locally known as "lavaka") leaving deep red scars across the landscape and eroding massive amounts of topsoil into rivers and streams. In some areas the French planted Eucalyptus and pine plantations to help stem erosion and provide wood for timber.
Examples: Central plateau outside Antananarivo
Palm savanna
In western Madagascar slash-and-burn clearing has left a landscape of grasses and scattered palm trees.
Examples: Region around Isalo
Based on reading this, I am tempted to conclude that b. alfredii will do quite well as an understory palm.

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sonoranfans

My three alfredii have different sun exposures and one is under love oak canopy but still gets some direct sun(>3hrs in morning). These three are all from the purchase in summer 2011 as 3 gallon size palms. None have shown any sun burning even as young plants. today, the one in full sun(6+hrs) is about 6' overall with 11 fronds, the one in moderate sun (4+ hrs) has 9 fronds and the one in part sun(<3 hrs) is the shortest at 4 1/2' overall has 7 fronds. , They all look well, but the one in full sun(6+ hrs direct sun) looks happiest. Based on the spears of each palm, the differences in size will likely expand this year again. sure it looks like a fine palm in limited sunlight, but I find it odd that it grows better in more sun IF it is a natural understory palm.

Edited by sonoranfans

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krishnaraoji88

This may be a dumb question but isnt Sabal palmetto like this? Naturally emergent but grows much better in full sun. Maybe B. alfredii was like that too, grew slowly until canopy opened up from a tree falling or something. Just curious.

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Brahea Axel

This may be a dumb question but isnt Sabal palmetto like this? Naturally emergent but grows much better in full sun. Maybe B. alfredii was like that too, grew slowly until canopy opened up from a tree falling or something. Just curious.

I was going to mention other examples of under canopy palms that are all slower in shade. I don't think speed defines if its under canopy or not. If it dies in full shade then it's not under canopy. For example brahea edulis is supposed to be shade intolerant.

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sonoranfans

This may be a dumb question but isnt Sabal palmetto like this? Naturally emergent but grows much better in full sun. Maybe B. alfredii was like that too, grew slowly until canopy opened up from a tree falling or something. Just curious.

You could say the same of brahea armata, but I dont think its an emergent canopy palm. The best, widest crown, sabal palmettos I have seen were in half day or less sun. Im not sure they grow better in full sun, they tend to be more compact of crown in full sun. Of course the water at each site is probably more important than sun in florida.

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Brahea Axel

This may be a dumb question but isnt Sabal palmetto like this? Naturally emergent but grows much better in full sun. Maybe B. alfredii was like that too, grew slowly until canopy opened up from a tree falling or something. Just curious.

You could say the same of brahea armata, but I dont think its an emergent canopy palm. The best, widest crown, sabal palmettos I have seen were in half day or less sun. Im not sure they grow better in full sun, they tend to be more compact of crown in full sun. Of course the water at each site is probably more important than sun in florida.

You can't say the same thing about brahea armata, where did you get that idea? Many of the braheas don't tolerate shade. They need full sun in order to grow. It's not that they are slow in shade, they die in full shade. B. armata can grow in part shade because in its native habitat it can grow in narrow canyons as well as the broader fully exposed arroyos. However, part shade does slow them down. Full forest canopy shade kills them, very different from sabals.

Here's a picture of brahea armata in its native habitat: Arroya Catavina in Baja. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/texbuckner/3877471242/ for more details. When you see that, you will understand that a forest canopy is not the right thing for brahea armata.

3877471242_8d66beb7b4_o.jpg

Catavina Boulder Field in Baja California Norte:

armata02.jpg

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JasonD

Not to switch topics, but those photos go a long way to explaining Brahea armata's drought-tolerance and indifference to fertilizer.

Brahea edulis thrives in shade, at least here in San Francisco, flowering and fruiting prodigiously, but of course also thrives in sun even in hot valleys. I assume that its companions in habitat like Pinus radiata var. binata and Quercus tomentella used to cast a lot of shade before the goats killed most of them off.

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sonoranfans

This may be a dumb question but isnt Sabal palmetto like this? Naturally emergent but grows much better in full sun. Maybe B. alfredii was like that too, grew slowly until canopy opened up from a tree falling or something. Just curious.

You could say the same of brahea armata, but I dont think its an emergent canopy palm. The best, widest crown, sabal palmettos I have seen were in half day or less sun. Im not sure they grow better in full sun, they tend to be more compact of crown in full sun. Of course the water at each site is probably more important than sun in florida.

You can't say the same thing about brahea armata, where did you get that idea? Many of the braheas don't tolerate shade. They need full sun in order to grow. It's not that they are slow in shade, they die in full shade. B. armata can grow in part shade because in its native habitat it can grow in narrow canyons as well as the broader fully exposed arroyos. However, part shade does slow them down. Full forest canopy shade kills them, very different from sabals.

Here's a picture of brahea armata in its native habitat: Arroya Catavina in Baja. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/texbuckner/3877471242/ for more details. When you see that, you will understand that a forest canopy is not the right thing for brahea armata.

3877471242_8d66beb7b4_o.jpg

Catavina Boulder Field in Baja California Norte:

armata02.jpg

Sure I can say it. I grew 7 brahea armatas, some to 13' overall in my AZ house, 2 were in part shade(ash, Chinese elm, paolo verde) probably only 3 hrs sun max a day. they grew fine, slower, a little more green and less dense of crown. they just didn't grow as fast and isn't look as impressive. In santa cruz I don't know... Its marginal for brahea armata in terms of warmth so perhaps there are confounding factors. santa cruz also had wet winters with the cool, and that leads to root rot. the most wet spots will be in shade. I have observed that sabal palmettos in part shade(1/2 day) do better than those in all day sun, those with some shade grew bigger more robust palms. the pattern of brahea armata fits my experience so far with alfredii, bigger more robust palms in 6+hrs of sun. that doesn't mean that it proves anything, but it disputes the anecdotal evidence comparing alfredii to sabal palmetto. Edited by sonoranfans

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krishnaraoji88

Do you mean part shade in Arizona or Florida for the Sabals? I've gotten the best and most robust Sabal growth in full to mostly full sun with very slow growth but long petioles in shaded areas. Again just my experience.

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DoomsDave

From what I've seen alfredii is way faster than no-window, two or three times the growth rate easy. Full sun is definitely best, even for small plants in gallon pots, especially for alfredii.

Which isn't to say they also won't grow under canopy, though.

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