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Bigfish

Rhapidophyllum hystrix From Three Different States

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Bigfish

I went exploring last month, with the majority of my trip focusing on Rhapidophyllum hystrix.  I still haven't found them in Bibb County, Alabama, but there is a small population in Chambers County, Alabama, which is above the Fall Line and squarely in the Piedmont.  The only population that really differed noticeably from any of the others was a small population in Twiggs County, GA.  That population tends to not have much, if any, above-ground trunk, and also send pups out a ways further than normal from the mother stem. 

 

I'll start with the one picture I have from Twiggs County, Georgia (I know...why didn't I take more???)

 

 

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Bigfish

Bibb and Macon County, GA

 

 

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Bigfish

More from Macon County, GA

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Bigfish

A few from Dougherty County, GA.

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Bigfish

Autauga County, AL.  This was a very hilly area near the Alabama River, and didn't look like Coastal Plain (but it is, technically)!

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Bigfish

More from Autauga County, AL

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Bigfish

Here's a male with leaves reaching over six and a half feet tall, and almost no trunk!  Still Autauga County, AL.

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Bigfish

A few from Marion County, FL.  Some pics of this area have been posted before, from Juniper Springs Recreational Area, so I'll just include a couple of pics from there.

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Bigfish

Torreya State Park, FL.  Can't get enough of this place!

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Yunder Wækraus

I love these photos! What an amazingly beautiful plant.

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Bigfish

Torreya SP still...including the little sleepy Copperhead I came upon!

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Bigfish

Found a few in Levy County, FL too.

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Brad Mondel

It's wonderful to see these hidden gems, thank you for exploring our native palms and documenting them in their natural habitat. Incredible! 

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Bigfish

A few more from Levy County.  Most were very low-growing and young.

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Bigfish

More from Gadsden County, FL.

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Bigfish

A couple more from Gadsden County, FL

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Bigfish

Florida Caverns State Park

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Bigfish

Last ones...from Florida Caverns SP.

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Bigfish

Oops...one more from FL Caverns SP, LOL.

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Edited by Frank - Knoxville
forgot picture!
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Yunder Wækraus

I just want to say thank you once more for these pix. THIS is the kind of thing I most want to see on this forum. Nothing bests habitat photos. How far south can this palm be found in Florida (commonly) growing wild?

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Bigfish
8 minutes ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

I just want to say thank you once more for these pix. THIS is the kind of thing I most want to see on this forum. Nothing bests habitat photos. How far south can this palm be found in Florida (commonly) growing wild?

I don't know how common it is there, but Rhapidophyllum can be found in Highlands, Hardee, and Manatee County in FL.  I can tell you that the distribution map in Georgia is woefully incomplete, and Rhapidophyllum can be found in many more counties in Alabama as well.  One of these days, I'd like to see the farthest westerly populations in MS as well.  There's also a population in Amite County, MS, which borders Louisiana.  I'd be willing to bet that Rhapidophyllum can be found in LA also.

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Zeeth

Cool! They fit so well into that type of landscape.

 I wonder what parts of Manatee county these are found in. I've never seen them, but I mostly stay near the coast. There are pockets inland that I swear are zone 9a, so I could see these doing well there. 

 

It would be neat if you found the population that grows in the coldest native habitat. I wonder if they would have any more hardiness than the standard needle. 

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Bigfish
4 minutes ago, Zeeth said:

Cool! They fit so well into that type of landscape.

 I wonder what parts of Manatee county these are found in. I've never seen them, but I mostly stay near the coast. There are pockets inland that I swear are zone 9a, so I could see these doing well there. 

 

It would be neat if you found the population that grows in the coldest native habitat. I wonder if they would have any more hardiness than the standard needle. 

I believe that Rhapidophyllum from Chambers County and Bibb County, AL should be more cold hardy than populations in Florida.  It just makes sense!

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redbeard917

Torreya is a special place. They grow thick there (many plants close together). Such a beautiful palm. I'm sure you enjoyed your exploration. Thanks for sharing with us.

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PalmatierMeg

Thanks for the beautiful habitat photos. My readings had led me to believe that as a "relict" palm that rarely set seeds it was one step from extinction. You've shown there are many more out there going unnoticed by most people. That is probably a good thing for the palms. Habitat destruction is their worst enemy. I hope every state where they grow takes measures to conserve and protect them.

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Darold Petty

Thank you so much for these photos.  Habitat photos are the best !

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Palmaceae

Great photos, always have been found of needle palms.

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Jimbean
5 hours ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

I just want to say thank you once more for these pix. THIS is the kind of thing I most want to see on this forum. Nothing bests habitat photos. How far south can this palm be found in Florida (commonly) growing wild?

I have seen them as far south as Orange and Seminole counties. 

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Bigfish
10 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Thanks for the beautiful habitat photos. My readings had led me to believe that as a "relict" palm that rarely set seeds it was one step from extinction. You've shown there are many more out there going unnoticed by most people. That is probably a good thing for the palms. Habitat destruction is their worst enemy. I hope every state where they grow takes measures to conserve and protect them.

Some populations can have a hundred or more palms in it and you won't find the first seed.  Then there are others with maybe a few dozen palms with a good balance of male and female palms that produce copious amounts of seeds.  

Habitat destruction is definitely their worst enemy!  Logging and development continue to destroy populations every year.  It is widespread in the Southeast USA, but by no means is it common.  In some counties, there are just a few small populations.  I was in one area last month that was being logged while I was in there!  Needless to say, I left, lol.  Another population in Georgia by a major highway was almost completely wiped out because they widened the road.  Rhapidophyllum was taken off the endangered species list over 30 years ago, but I predict that it will be back on it sometime in the next 30 years.

Glad you all enjoyed the pictures!  I enjoy getting out into the woods and seeing them.  Hopefully I can get some Chambers County, AL pictures up soon, and maybe soon I will be able to locate those elusive Bibb County, AL palms.

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Yunder Wækraus

 

34 minutes ago, Frank - Knoxville said:

Some populations can have a hundred or more palms in it and you won't find the first seed.  Then there are others with maybe a few dozen palms with a good balance of male and female palms that produce copious amounts of seeds.  

Habitat destruction is definitely their worst enemy!  Logging and development continue to destroy populations every year.  It is widespread in the Southeast USA, but by no means is it common.  In some counties, there are just a few small populations.  I was in one area last month that was being logged while I was in there!  Needless to say, I left, lol.  Another population in Georgia by a major highway was almost completely wiped out because they widened the road.  Rhapidophyllum was taken off the endangered species list over 30 years ago, but I predict that it will be back on it sometime in the next 30 years.

Glad you all enjoyed the pictures!  I enjoy getting out into the woods and seeing them.  Hopefully I can get some Chambers County, AL pictures up soon, and maybe soon I will be able to locate those elusive Bibb County, AL palms.

Were they ever found in Barbo(u)r County, Alabama?

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DoomsDave

A seriously American palm, and the Hardiest Palm on Earth!

Hope you gather seed and make it available.

We need those hardy palms, in palm poor places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana . . .

Among many others, including Norway, Sweden, England . . ..

RUSSIA!

 

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Bigfish
8 hours ago, Yunder Wækraus said:

 

Were they ever found in Barbo(u)r County, Alabama?

Yes, there are records for Barbour County. 

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Ed in Houston

Great documentation of this palms natural habitat.

 

Does anyone have an idea why these don't occur naturally in Louisiana an East Texas?

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 Ed in Houston

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Alicehunter2000

On the seed question ..... in trying to obrain S. reopens  (silver) seed for a couple of people here on PT .... I have noticed this year that there are no fruiting plants....none!  .... in years past I have noticed copious amounts of seed .... maybe the reason for no seed is its the wrong year.... maybe they don't produce seed annually? 

Anyone else ever observed this?

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Brad Mondel

Some plants produce fruit in alternate years. I'm not sure if this occurs in the palm kingdom though. 

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John Case
4 hours ago, Ed in Houston said:

Great documentation of this palms natural habitat.

 

Does anyone have an idea why these don't occur naturally in Louisiana an East Texas?

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 Ed in Houston

Clearly, state regulations prevent it.....

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PalmatierMeg
3 hours ago, Alicehunter2000 said:

On the seed question ..... in trying to obrain S. reopens  (silver) seed for a couple of people here on PT .... I have noticed this year that there are no fruiting plants....none!  .... in years past I have noticed copious amounts of seed .... maybe the reason for no seed is its the wrong year.... maybe they don't produce seed annually? 

Anyone else ever observed this?

Not with Serenoa but after the bitter winters of 2010 I noticed that surviving Adonidias did not fruit for 2 years. You had back-to-back bad winters. Perhaps all the Serenoas (silver ones anyway - I've noticed they aren't as robust as the green) took time off to recover and conserve resources. Down here saw palmettos fruit yearly.

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