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Coconut Climate/Greatest from Equator

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bubba

Always looking for suspected climates that may support Cocos nucifera at greatest latitude from the equator. We know the Newport Beach, California Coconut at 33/37 North was the certified specimen in the northern hemisphere until it’s demise. No update on the status of the La Quinta Coconut at 33/6 has been provided. The Corona California Coconut needs to be genetically tested to confirm that it is not an interesting hybrid at 33/87.

Port Elizabeth, SA at 33/99 is said to have specimens of Cocos nucifera. Although no pictorial evidence has been presented, a review of its climate and understanding of unique warmth in the surrounding water makes it a real possibility. The coolest months (June, July and August) average 60 F without freezes with substantial heat.

Other possibilities exist in both the northern and southern hemisphere‘s. In the northern hemisphere, the Azores (Ponta Delgado) at 38/7 seems to have great potential not withstanding its lack of heat. On the positive side, because of the Gulfstream effect, the low temperatures never drop below 50°F. The lack of heat could be potentially offset by locating a micro climate near the many volcanic thermal springs that greatly enhance the soil temperature, I believe the Azores definitely presents a possibility of producing a world record breaking Cocos nucifera.

In the southern hemisphere, areas as high as 40° latitude may also present viable opportunities in New Zealand. These climates do not freeze but lack necessary heat. Once again, volcanic thermal springs could greatly enhance the possibility of a viable Cocos nucifera specimen. That stated, I do not believe that the necessary warmth supplied by a Gulfstream like effect exists. Accordingly, I rate the Azores and as the most likely possibility to extend the world record breaking Cocos nucifera growing furthest from the equator.

One other possibility that presents itself based upon climate is Beirut Lebanon at 33/9. Beirut’s climate during the winter months (December, January and February) comes very close to a 60°F average with low temperatures rarely dropping below 50°F. The lack of heat may be a difficult problem to overcome during the winter months but it certainly heats up quickly during the rest of the year. I am surprised that no attempts have been made in this region.

 

 

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RedRabbit

Malaga at 36n is excruciatingly close to being able to support them. Others on here know better than me, but I think they’ve been able to survive a few years at a time before an extended cold period does them in. With that in mind, it reasons there may be somewhere else along the Mediterranean where they could successfully grow. 

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bubba

According to the highly knowledgeable Charles Wychgel from the Algarve, who has sadly passed, Gunter Bruett attempted to grow Cocos nucifera several times unsuccessfully in his garden in a very favorable microclimate in Marbella, Spain. An IPS Director from Gemany stated that Gunter had given up.

The climate of Marbella/Malaga is certainly beneficent. However, it is nowhere near as warm as Beirut Lebanon. Of course, that is likely the difference between 36 N and 33/9!

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RedRabbit
2 hours ago, bubba said:

According to the highly knowledgeable Charles Wychgel from the Algarve, who has sadly passed, Gunter Bruett attempted to grow Cocos nucifera several times unsuccessfully in his garden in a very favorable microclimate in Marbella, Spain. An IPS Director from Gemany stated that Gunter had given up.

The climate of Marbella/Malaga is certainly beneficent. However, it is nowhere near as warm as Beirut Lebanon. Of course, that is likely the difference between 36 N and 33/9!

Thanks for sharing Gunters experience in Marbella. I believe that area is 11b so it’s a shame there’s not quiet enough winter heat. Even so, I’m wondering if they still might succeed elsewhere along the Mediterranean like Morocco for example.  
 

Aside from that, I think your idea of the Azores is very interesting. That’s somewhere I’d certainly like to visit one day.

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Palmsofengland

In terms of Wikipedia climate data, Almería seems to be the most favourable area in mainland Spain, with its dry winter period. Ierapetra in Crete looks similarly promising, although with wetter winters but warmer average lows...

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mnorell
On 12/21/2019 at 11:12 AM, bubba said:

In the northern hemisphere, the Azores (Ponta Delgado) at 38/7 seems to have great potential not withstanding its lack of heat. On the positive side, because of the Gulfstream effect, the low temperatures never drop below 50°F. The lack of heat could be potentially offset by locating a micro climate near the many volcanic thermal springs that greatly enhance the soil temperature, I believe the Azores definitely presents a possibility of producing a world record breaking Cocos nucifera.

Perhaps graphs below from Weatherspark will help in understanding some of the problems. Palm Desert and Orlando, two of the most extreme places in the USA known to support the growth (and sometimes fruiting) or Cocos nucifera...contrasted with two cool but basically frostless marine climates that represent the extreme of "mild" in Southern California and in the North Atlantic (north of Bermuda).

Though coconuts will put up with a surprising amount of chill under the right circumstances, there is a point where they protest to the point of giving up the ghost. The cold spring season characteristic of these cold-ocean maritime climates extends the coconut's period of suffering from two or three months to six months or more. Also, keep in mind that the lipids in the plant harden into a wax-like substance at an internal temperature of about 78F. Then consider the speed of growth and the number of leaves that can be produced in a season within a year's given cumulative "heat-sink," and it becomes fairly obvious that the cooler climates are just not capable of producing a long-lasting (and decent-looking) coconut tree, whereas the cold seasons in Palm Desert and Orlando are certainly there, but they last only for a couple of months. After that, the temps are racing toward the coconut "happy zone."

In the second series of graphs, I think the "warm" zone would define the lower area of growing season, with "hot" preferred. Notice how much of that exists in the maritime climates.

 

Climate comparison PALMDESERT-ORL-SD-PONTDELG.jpg

Climate band-comparison PALMDESERT-ORL-SD-PONTDELG.jpg

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Palmsofengland

What makes me think the Azores could potentially work is the evidence of success with coconuts in Madeira, which is also very mild and lacking in the ‘happy zone’ heat range for much of the year.

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palmsOrl

If Port Elizabeth, SA averages 60F in its coldest month and does not freeze, it should be able to support coconuts. 

The best way to test coconuts in these high latitude areas would of course be to start with trunking palms and good care until establishment.  Obtaining trunking cocos in these areas, however, would in most cases be costly and difficult.

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RedRabbit
On 12/21/2019 at 5:11 PM, Palmsofengland said:

In terms of Wikipedia climate data, Almería seems to be the most favourable area in mainland Spain, with its dry winter period. Ierapetra in Crete looks similarly promising, although with wetter winters but warmer average lows...

Do you know if anyone has tried growing coconuts there? 

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GottmitAlex
3 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

If Port Elizabeth, SA averages 60F in its coldest month and does not freeze, it should be able to support coconuts. 

The best way to test coconuts in these high latitude areas would of course be to start with trunking palms and good care until establishment.  Obtaining trunking cocos in these areas, however, would in most cases be costly and difficult.

I believe it to be the other way around: Start with seedlings and protect them while they fully develop their root systems until they cannot be protected. 

We have evidence (at least in California) that transplanted (trunking) coconuts do not make it. 

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Palmsofengland
6 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Do you know if anyone has tried growing coconuts there? 

Unfortunately I don’t, but maybe a Spanish member does... I have also hoped to get down there myself to try it, but it would probably need a good deal of care at the beginning to get it established.

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Jimbean

I think the limits have already been tested.  Unless we have a geologic or cosmological impact that is not going to change any limits for probably thousands of years. 

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bubba

Michael’s vignette is compelling. Although it is likely that the extremes of Cocos nucifera are around 34° latitude, we all know the desire to test the edges.
 

Almeria,Spain located at 36.83° latitude, has a monthly median temperature for the winter months (December, January and February) of 55 F and simply not enough winter heat to support the coconut. Although it may be considered warmer than Malaga/Mirabella, I fear that the same results would occur in Almeria.

Malta at 35.85 N actually was chillier in the three (3) winter months than Almeria with median temperatures during January and February of 52 F and far less winter heat.

The Azores at between 37° and 39° N. seems to be a real possibility although fringe. The average temperature during the winter months is approximately 60 F, with most daily temperatures during these months of the 64/57 variety without extreme minimums. Unfortunately, there is a lack of heat year around. My thought was that because of the many warm springs, there may be a micro-climate that would compensate/assist for the lack of heat and allow a coconut to get by (not flourish).

Because Michael is out in that wonderful desert, it would be great to have an update on the La Quinta coconut. As I view the out of the ordinary Corona coconut and recall the La Quinta, I remember the strange appearance of the trunk. Perhaps a new hybrid?

 

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mnorell

Okay Bubba, I drove over there and without further ado, here it is as of two hours ago...

And just for added effect I included the beautiful Caryota mitis and a huge blooming Plumeria tree...oh, and of course loomng above it a Syagrus romanzoffiana showing a sadly common appearance for that species in the Coachella Valley after a summer. Anyone want to venture an opinion on which of the two cocoid palms is better suited for the area?

I should also mention that the appearance of the Cocos is remarkably good (and also the number of blooms on the Plumeria) considering that it has been anomalously and consistently cold in the low desert and many 30s in the mornings and flirting with the freezing point on a few occasions; and highs in the 50s and very low 60s for some time now (over a month), including unusual amounts of rain. Even though this Cocos is in La Quinta Cove, an air-drained area that typically is several degrees warmer than the open valley to the east and north, and which is home to several Delonix (one I noticed with a massive trunk), this morning I happened to observe the temperature at dawn in this neighborhood and it was somewhere around 35-36 degrees F at dawn. High today was relatively warm for this recent cold pattern, about 65. So it just goes to show that coconuts are remarkably resilient to good stretches of cold as long as it gets a good warm spring to thaw it out.

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bubba

Thank you Michael! Status of the La Quinta Coconut is hereby officially confirmed at 33/6. I believe this Coconut is now the leader in the clubhouse. 

It appears to be in good condition. Can you estimate height and age? Any possibility of fruiting in the near future? Your vignette on the heat aspect overcoming the cooler absolute lows makes the Newport Beach Coconut even more remarkable. Thank you again!
 

 

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GottmitAlex

It makes sense.

But what about the Corona, CA coco?

How does that fit in the vignette?

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mnorell

I'm estimating about 10-12 feet of grey wood on that Cocos. It's pretty impressive from that perspective. If it was there in 2007 (first Google Street View available), it was below the wall or was not there at that time. But I suspect it was there, since by January of 2012 (last Google Street View image) there was at least six feet of grey wood as the crown was already well above the wall. I think there is some history of this coconut in Daniel Lopez's original posts. If I remember correctly, the owner planted it as a sprouted coconut along with its Plumeria neighbor.

As far as the Corona coconut, I haven't seen it in person, but it certainly looks pretty good from the Google images that have been posted on Palmtalk, so obviously it is possible to get one going in an intermediate climate.

Perhaps the below graphs (particularly the second set, showing the average number of "warm" and "hot" hours and months during the year) can help shed some light on the basic needs:

 

Climate comparison PALMDESERT-ORL-CORONA-SD.jpg

Climate band-comparison PALMDESERT-ORL-CORONA-SD.jpg

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bubba

This is my only question:65497758-BE37-4AC0-AB0D-DCDBD4CF7E62.thumb.jpeg.e5d7ebd0cb986902440471b57b8e79ac.jpeg

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mnorell

Nope. The La Quinta definitely (and my own opinion from pictures, also the Corona specimen) is Cocos nucifera...pretenders to the throne need not apply! :)  (Also remember that we've seen fruit on the Palm Desert coconut that was cut down shortly after it was photographed, so there's no question that the species grows and fruits in the Coachella Valley.)

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bubba

Based upon the steady low temperatures in Corona (numerous days below freezing as posted in the Corona Coconut thread) and to some extent in the Coachella Valley, I have to say this is unexpected and intriguing. It certainly forces a complete change in my understanding of the temperature requirements for Cocos nucifera.

Cocos nucifera should become almost common place in numerous locations in Ca. and particularly throughout the desert. I am surprised at the lack of specimens planted and flourishing instead of the steady La Quinta "Queen" diet! I love the Ca. desert and landscapers should be encouraged to expand the planting of coconuts!

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bubba

The Corona and La Quinta Coconuts are real. Once again, this sets my understanding of temperature requirements of Cocos nucifera on it"s ear. Particularly, Corona, which appears to experience large periods of freezing temperatures. I suspect that the numerous micro-climates based upon geography are responsible. I hope that palm enthusiasts in Ca. explore this opportunity. Although professional landscapers may not be willing to take risks, perhaps when they begin to see successful Coconuts, their clients will encourage them to do so.

I remember hearing that certain orange groves in Oroville, Ca. ripened earlier than those in So. Cal. It would be interesting to locate some of those particular micro-climates in those areas and try to establish a clear high latitude champion. At the same time, I think the La Quinta Coconut should cause the drastic propagation of Cocos nucifera throughout the Ca. desert.

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bubba

I was viewing some of the coconut palms in the Orlando area Post that are in the fringe /more North. It is interesting to note that they have some of the same hanging chads near the top of the coconut, not unlike the Corona coconut. It may be a process that helps protect coconuts in marginal areas.

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Cluster

There are a few coconuts in Porto Santo, some older than La Quinta (At least they look taller), also at 33 degrees, totally unprotected (no walls etc). When I go to Porto Santo I will definitely check them out.

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GottmitAlex
On 1/21/2020 at 12:48 PM, bubba said:

I was viewing some of the coconut palms in the Orlando area Post that are in the fringe /more North. It is interesting to note that they have some of the same hanging chads near the top of the coconut, not unlike the Corona coconut. It may be a process that helps protect coconuts in marginal areas.

By chads, do you mean the fiber? 

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bubba

Yes. Specifically, the same fuzzy stuff hanging on the Corona coconut. Interesting that it occurred in zone pushing areas.

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mnorell

Bubba, that fluff is just old leafbases and the attached "coconut cloth" that don't shed due to the lack of rain and atmospheric humidity. Drove by the La Quinta coconut last weekend and it is not looking quite so great heading out of winter.  There was a very sustained chill with consistently lower-than average temps from about Thanksgiving until early February, and as soon as the 80-plus-degree weather returned the last half of February, the oldest leaves have turned brown and so the lower section of the crown is looking quite ratty. A pruning/cleanup of the dead stuff (and those old dry leafbases) would probably yield an okay-looking palm...and even though it's not the equal of those growing in more tropical areas, it's pretty amazing that it could have survived that very unpleasant two-month winter and even look "okay." It still looks better than the heat-damaged queen palms around it, and I'm sure it will look great by summer.

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NOT A TA

For those who may not have ever seen the burlap like "cloth or material" close up that's being discussed here's a couple pics.

20200203_171308_zpszg9cscjc.jpg

20200203_171321_zpsdsovet60.jpg

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mnorell

And that coco-fabric is really cool stuff. Anyone who doesn't spend time around coconuts, you should familiarize yourself with it the next time you are in a coconut-growing zone. It is a stretchy, strong and breathable fabric that lasts a good amount of time. I always save the pieces as I remove old leafbases and use it to wrap orchids on trees until they get established. There are many things you could do with it, including making biodegradable grow-bags. I keep a pile of them at my potting bench in case I need them. I'm always surprised that nobody ever seems to talk about this stuff as I think it's one of the most interesting and useful parts of one of nature's most useful trees.

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bubba

Great stuff. I am still on my ear about the LaQuinta and Corona coconuts. Even if they look beat up a bit at the end of Winter, their survival opens a new palm story.

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GottmitAlex

I see. Yup. I get a lot of that basketweave/burlap fiber. I don't discard it. In fact, I use it as mulch. Bear in mind, I only take it once its  two fronds have been discarded from the coco. Yes, the fiber envelopes two frond bases. 

 

20200313_201752.jpg

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coconuts_dont_growhere_but
On 12/30/2019 at 5:29 AM, bubba said:

This is my only question:65497758-BE37-4AC0-AB0D-DCDBD4CF7E62.thumb.jpeg.e5d7ebd0cb986902440471b57b8e79ac.jpeg

Whats the question

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coconuts_dont_growhere_but
On 12/30/2019 at 7:28 AM, mnorell said:

Nope. The La Quinta definitely (and my own opinion from pictures, also the Corona specimen) is Cocos nucifera...pretenders to the throne need not apply! :)  (Also remember that we've seen fruit on the Palm Desert coconut that was cut down shortly after it was photographed, so there's no question that the species grows and fruits in the Coachella Valley.)

I hevent seen the pictures. where can you find them?

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bubba

My question, which was answered clearly by Michael’s photographs of the La Quinta coconut, was whether a Beccariophoenix alfreddi may be in fact masquerading as the coconut. They appear quite similar. The bottom line is that the La Quinta coconut and the Corona coconut are viable Cocos nucifera. As I have stated before, I would never have believed that Cocos nucifera could tolerate these lengthy cold morning temperatures experienced in the desert during the winter months.

Michael mentions the Daniel Lopez thread, which brought to light two coconuts in the desert. Outlandishly, one was cut down shortly after its discovery. That stated, I do not recall, as Michael stated, evidence of any coconut palm in California fruiting (coconuting). I am more than happy to be proven wrong but in numerous places where coconuts are grown on the edge (such as Madera), few are seen to fruit. This is even true in Bermuda, which is at 32° latitude but in the middle of the Gulfstream.

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mnorell

Bubba, I do think also that there must be differences depending on the type of coconut planted, as Alex has indicated in his more coastal-influenced San Diego-area garden. Last June I did a casual test and put three coconuts (California greenhouse grown, purchased from Lowe's) in the garden in Rancho Mirage in good positions but without any other special care, and after they went through their foliage burnoff  they put on several good leaves and didn't flinch at 120 degrees-plus. But the chill from late November to early February proved far too much for them and they shrank away and died miserable deaths. I think they were probably Green Malay types. I have also noticed that all the successful coconuts seem to be surrounded by concrete with relatively small open-soil areas around their bases. I have a hunch that the dryness of the surrounding soil under pavement helps them go into suspended animation without rotting out the extended root-zone.

The real head-scratcher is the Corona coconut, as it is much cooler there than it is in the Coachella Valley. I do think that Corona palm is in an air-drained area and doesn't suffer the freezes that have been imagined. There are so many microclimates in the California topography that one can't make too many generalizations about cold-exposure in the absence of a dedicated weather-station. But still it is quite a mystery that it could have such good appearance. We do know that the La Quinta palm was a sprout brought back from Hawai'i, so it may be one of the so-called "Hawaiian Tall" genotypes. A few weeks ago I put in a Panama Tall sprouted nut and it is, true to its normally ebullient habit, pushing a spear, even though nighttime temps have been getting down to about 50F (with a quick warmup at dawn).  Days have been significantly warmer than "over the hill" in the inland valleys, e.g., Corona, which in turn is a bit warmer in daytime than the coastal zone. 

I think all of this is worth continued experimentation, though in the end I wouldn't recommend that anyone use coconuts as the foundation for a landscape in California. They are a fun experiment (or with store-bought plants planted as a beautiful "annual") but some Beccariophoenix backing them up would be a wise investment. That's what I did in Natchez when I planted a Bismarckia and backed it up with a Sabal causiarum. When the Bismarck tanked several years after planting, the Sabal was still going strong (and still is today, despite 2010's onslaught and the 13F it experienced in 2018). 

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mnorell

I was just doing a Google armchair cruise through Hermosillo, looking for various plant material...I have often read that Roystonea has been planted there, and I know their climate, being well inland in Sonora, has very high summer temps, and relatively chilly winters. In fact, very similar to ours here in the Coachella Valley, average temp in Hermosillo is just about three degrees higher than Rancho Mirage in January (maybe five-six degrees higher there, but with similar lows), and highs are a little lower in mid/late summer due to higher humidity and monsoonal cloud-cover. But regular temps well above 100F. To my surprise, not only did I see beautiful street-trees of Plumeria obtusa, Spathodea campanulata, Delonix regia, all in bloom, but also loads of Roystonea, in fact it is planted all over the place there, to the point of being very common. That in itself isn't so amazing since we know there are beautiful examples of royals growing throughout the Coachella Valley. What surprised me was when I turned a corner and found a huge, very nice-looking Cocos! See here: Cocos nucifera in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

And then I found two more very quickly thereafter:

Hermosillo Cocos 2 and Hermosillo Cocos 3.

Anyone who is interested, it would be great to see more examples posted that you may find around Hermosillo as well as other areas of Sonora and Baja California to find good examples of Cocos growing in a climate not very far off from what we have in favored areas of the extreme southwest such as the Coachella Valley.  And here is a climate comparison between Hermosillo and Rancho Mirage (same as Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta):

 

Rancho_Mirage_Hermosillo_climate_compare.JPG

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