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Beccariophoenix alfredii in Flower, (in spathe really)

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Palmarum

- March 13th, 2020 - It is today, the second Friday of the Spring 'Ganza at Searle Brothers Nursery, and the activity level is slow as usual for the day. With the free time, I was browsing around the landscape checking out the palms to see if they were doing anything photo worthy. I was looking over the huge Beccariophoenix alfredii, as I always do when something caught my attention, hence the 6 ft. (2m) ladder positioned next to the trunk. After verifying the find via the ladder, I decided to take photos from the outside-in...

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- A couple of overall shots from different positions, with cloud shade and (B) with direct sun. This view allowed the nearby Coccothrinax macroglossa to offer assistance as a scale object. The palm has reached and surpassed the height of the shadehouse nearby, 15 ft. (4.5m).

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- He has put on a widened base with a good 4 ft. (1.2m) of clear trunk. The newer nodal scars on the trunk are forming further and further apart, the taller the palm has become. The petioles and leaf bases still have that cool and original color unique to the species. Those fibrous auricle-like extensions on either side of the leaf bases are smooth and pliant like kraft paper. 

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- Before taking any of the photos, I was standing in this exact spot ready to move on to the next palm when I looked up and saw this... [boom] A newly emerging inflorescence spathe, jutting out from the trunk among the inner petioles. One could not see it unless you were standing in this very spot. This shot represents how it looked as I saw it. (B) Same position, zoomed in a bit.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Had to get closer. I don't remember getting the ladder, it sort of 'appeared' in front of me. Climbing up to almost the last rung, I leaned in and there it was. I was fast-to-face with an emerging spathe. It is very dense and resembles the tip of a spear made of solid wood. After getting my photos, I thought "I bet Jeff doesn't know yet."

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- I climbed down and went in search of Jeff. He was off in another part of the nursery pulling plants. When I caught up to him, he was on the phone and I had to wait a minute. When I got his attention he said:

"Yeah, what's up?" - Me: "I have a photo to show you." I leaned in to show him a shot of the spathe on the back of my camera, but he couldn't make it out.

"Oh is it something flowering... something new that hasn't before?" - "Yes." - "Well, you got to give me a hint, like tell me the genus."

"If I do that, you'll get it rather fast!" - "Well, just say it anyway!"

"Beccariophoenix!" - When I said that, his eyes lit up like he had just found a bowl of unattended candy. We jumped on the golf cart, left the other plants behind and went straight to the palm.

He was as surprised as I was and went straight up the ladder. I got a photo of him as he turned to show his reaction. (B) As he was looking over the spathe, we wondered if it was the only one or if there were others.

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- He came back down as I went back up the ladder to take another look. I started poking and prodding, moving leaf bases around, pushing the fiber out of the way when I found a second inflorescence spathe, just to the left of the first one. This one was smaller and seemed to be emerging at an angle. I would guess that it was at the same point of height along the trunk as the first one was positioned. Now we were hooked and had to keep looking...

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The searching through the leaf bases continued. Jeff went back up to take a look at the second spathe pictured above. (B) He then moved the ladder to the opposite side and started digging. It didn't take long, but he found not one, but two more spathes.

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- We swapped positions once again. Back up the ladder, I noticed the third spathe immediately, followed by a fourth further inside on the left.

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- The fourth spathe was positioned near the back of the palm a short distance from the first one. They all seemed to be at the same point of height along the trunk. Now we play the waiting game to see how they emerge further.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

What a strange Friday the 13th...

The shock and surprise made us think about how old the palm was, when it was planted etc. so Jeff went into his office and dug out his 'little black book'. It held all the details on when the palms in the nursery landscape were planted. He found the following info on the Beccariophoenix alfredii...

- The specimen was originally labeled as Beccariophoenix sp. 'Valley Form' (a precursor name to B. sp. 'High Plateau' which later became B. alfredii).

- It was obtained from Dr. Pete Balasky and planted in May 2006, as a 2 ft. (0.6m) tall, three-gallon sized plant. (almost 14 years old)

- In March of 2010, about 10 years ago, the palm was measured at 8 to 9 ft. (2.4-2.7m) in height.

Fun facts. We shall see what the palm will do next.

Ryan

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GottmitAlex

Wunderschön!

This is palm-historic. Do you know how old this magnificent Beccariophoenix alfredii is?

I ask because this would be the first B.alfredii outside of habitat to seed.

20 years old from seed? 

 

 

Edited by GottmitAlex
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AZJakeB

What would you guess the width of that palm to be?  Would it compare to say, a Phoenix canariensis?

Edited by AZJakeB

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Tyrone

Well I would say it’s something like 18 years from seed to flower in Florida. Great to see the first one flower. Now we all gotta do a catch up to get all of ours flowering.

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ruskinPalms

Fantastic! Hope it makes viable seeds!

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kinzyjr

Who says Friday the 13th is unlucky?  Big news for palm growers!

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Chris Chance

Such a cool thing to see! I had a feeling it wouldn't be long we would see one in cultivation start flowering. Looks like Jeff is very excited! It appears to me once the trunk gets started it thins a bit as it grows vertical.  Has a nice coconut look to it for sure.

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

Absolutely stunning palm and exciting news !!! This palm has become historic =)

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sonoranfans

Great job on the pics! thanks! SO to clarify its obviously not 14 tears old, its 14 tears in the ground?  I dont know if I would that slow, LOL!  Its a monster of palm.  Thanks for the great news!

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Reeverse

I think it so cool that Jeff Searle has the first one to flower!!! The palm God 

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Palmarum
18 hours ago, GottmitAlex said:

... This is palm-historic. Do you know how old this magnificent Beccariophoenix alfredii is? ...

 

3 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

Great job on the pics! thanks! SO to clarify its obviously not 14 tears old, its 14 tears in the ground?  I dont know if I would that slow, LOL!  Its a monster of palm.  Thanks for the great news!

The palm has been in the ground for almost 14 years. It was planted as a small 3 gallon-sized plant that itself was probably 2 to 2.5 years old from a seedling, so entirely, the palm would be about 16 to 17 years old. Not bad for a palm that size, even if the growth rate was not always consistent.

 

18 hours ago, AZJakeB said:

What would you guess the width of that palm to be?  Would it compare to say, a Phoenix canariensis?

The trunk diameter may be fat at the base, more so with the root boss that has formed, but I doubt it will ever get near the same diameter as a P. canariensis.

Ryan

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John hovancsek

There are a couple at florabunda that have had them on for over a year and they still have not opened yet. Let's hope that your summer heat will push that baby out

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GottmitAlex
9 minutes ago, John hovancsek said:

There are a couple at florabunda that have had them on for over a year and they still have not opened yet. Let's hope that your summer heat will push that baby out

Do you know how old those alfies are?

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Jeff985
2 hours ago, Reeverse said:

I think it so cool that Jeff Searle has the first one to flower!!! The palm God 

Cool, but not at all surprising. 

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John hovancsek

They look like they could have came from the same batch of seed. Not sure how old 

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enigma99

Wow. Absolutely beautiful and glad to see the first one to seed! We need more photos once the flowers open

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Steve in Florida
3 hours ago, GottmitAlex said:

Do you know how old those alfies are?

Jeff told me the oldest ones were nearly 20 years from seed when we spoke a year ago.

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palmfriend

Wow - this is great news!!

Great find, Ryan and congrats to Jeff!

Thank you for letting us know and please provide an update when they open up.

Your data about how tall it was at what time is very helpful.

best regards from Okinawa - 

Lars

 

 

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Moose

Hmmmm - if it produces viable seeds :rolleyes:

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Reeverse

Any update on how this palm is doing?

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Jeff Searle

Thanks for asking, but it has been painfully slow as it emerges. In another words, not much change.

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GottmitAlex
14 hours ago, Jeff Searle said:

Thanks for asking, but it has been painfully slow as it emerges. In another words, not much change.

Thanks Jeff for the update.

7 months in and status quo.

Keep us apprised!

 

 

 

 

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Gtlevine

Love that palm.

gary

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Reeverse

Thanks Jeff! We are all waiting to see what happens 

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