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Different forms of Needle palm


teddytn

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I remember seeing pictures of needle palms with a vertical solitary trunk and no lower fronds a long time ago. People were calling it a Bull needle. I’ve always been familiar with the “normal” clumping form which seems to grow wider with offsets as fast as it grows tall. I have one that’s been slow to grow period and only has a few small pups, but I don’t think is a “bull”. One normal clumping form and a small new clumping form. What’s everyone’s experience with the 2 different types? Let’s see them!!!

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I have one that I'm not sure what it is . It looks like a bushy one with off sets but I wonder what it would look like if I pruned down  the offsets . I've been thinking about doing that too . I bet a lot of the bulls are done like that or they are  really  old . 

I've heard of some people digging up the offsets and planting them elsewhere . That would create a " bull " in time .

Edited by Will Simpson
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27 minutes ago, Will Simpson said:

I have one that I'm not sure what it is . It looks like a bushy one with off sets but I wonder what it would look like if I pruned down  the offsets . I've been thinking about doing that too . I bet a lot of the bulls are done like that or they are  really  old . 

I've heard of some people digging up the offsets and planting them elsewhere . That would create a " bull " in time .

Yeah that makes sense, they hold fronds forever, it seems like my biggest one has straps leaves still on it from the day I planted it like 8 years ago.

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23 hours ago, teddytn said:

I remember seeing pictures of needle palms with a vertical solitary trunk and no lower fronds a long time ago. People were calling it a Bull needle. I’ve always been familiar with the “normal” clumping form which seems to grow wider with offsets as fast as it grows tall. I have one that’s been slow to grow period and only has a few small pups, but I don’t think is a “bull”. One normal clumping form and a small new clumping form. What’s everyone’s experience with the 2 different types? Let’s see them!!!

I messaged you

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My bull is about 7' tall . I've got to blow the leaves off of the trunk so it is more visible . I might take a picture of it after I blow off the trunk in the next couple days , then I can really see how fat the trunk is .

 

 

IMG_0049.thumb.JPG.985c4d11fb20c72d6a2c505deb497bbc.JPG

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4 hours ago, Will Simpson said:

My bull is about 7' tall . I've got to blow the leaves off of the trunk so it is more visible . I might take a picture of it after I blow off the trunk in the next couple days , then I can really see how fat the trunk is .

 

 

IMG_0049.thumb.JPG.985c4d11fb20c72d6a2c505deb497bbc.JPG

Just a few main trunks or just one? 

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Here’s the three I have. That’s the biggest one. Probably has 8 main trunks all 12” high, and 15 small offsets ringing the perimeter. B72E5251-5A88-435A-9A12-AA05EABA8685.thumb.jpeg.407d1d8cf760e6e221e25a71ec94f4d2.jpeg375FA690-7BB7-4F38-8E0C-EBF4C7BBA7A7.thumb.jpeg.de7b7e0dd073723e6ba47e3851834d22.jpeg82886492-CFAD-4FE7-BAAC-C5AFC96AFA85.thumb.jpeg.e36c1268b956c6eb38843ccd2de23fa0.jpegThat’s the smallest one looks normal main trunk 3 offsets.EF9EB975-938A-4BCA-9ECD-BB170FE66667.thumb.jpeg.8c08f5ddd121d6ecd6aed27ddb4f5e12.jpegThe middle size one I have below has only been in the ground 6 years and the biggest one 7 years. The one below only has 2 main trunks and one offset each. Instead of multiplying it seems to just add growth vertical. May be a contender for a bull72A18BB1-1B50-46E4-ACF9-14A251BFCF32.thumb.jpeg.19c8161082efc5361a56d1d8856e79c0.jpeg

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Teddy, the needle in your top photo looks nice and dark and glossy. Do you know the reason? Grown in the shade?

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11 hours ago, Manalto said:

Teddy, the needle in your top photo looks nice and dark and glossy. Do you know the reason? Grown in the shade?

It gets partially shaded by the porch above in the mornings, but gets full afternoon sun. That pic was the north side of the plant may have something to do with it.

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14 hours ago, teddytn said:

Just a few main trunks or just one? 

It's just one main trunk , and it really isn't a bull yet . It might look interesting if I prune off the offsets and then that one main trunk would be more visible .

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Nice topic!

My oldest needle is bushy with lots of offsets, but my other one is single trunked. When it flowered a few years ago, it looked to be a female. There was a topic a couple of years ago about single trunked needles, which used the term "bull" only for the males.

 

needle02.thumb.JPG.b906eb17f9aaa0dddf5592eb964912fb.JPG

 

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13 minutes ago, ky_palm064 said:

Nice topic!

My oldest needle is bushy with lots of offsets, but my other one is single trunked. When it flowered a few years ago, it looked to be a female. There was a topic a couple of years ago about single trunked needles, which used the term "bull" only for the males.

 

needle02.thumb.JPG.b906eb17f9aaa0dddf5592eb964912fb.JPG

 

Sometimes the simplest answer lol. I never even thought that might be the reason, that would be be cool to get to the bottom of. Nice reply!!!

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looks like this thread is back on track but about as clear as mud now. :lol: 

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https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/44138-single-trunked-rhapidophyllum-hystrix-pictures/

Found the old thread, sorry for all the old heads that have to see repeated topics over and over. In the link above it didn’t seem like anyone got to the bottom of this either. People we’re reporting male and female single trunked specimens.....

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12 minutes ago, Jimhardy said:

looks like this thread is back on track but about as clear as mud now. :lol: 

Haha the blind leading the blind here

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On 4/30/2021 at 12:57 PM, teddytn said:

I remember seeing pictures of needle palms with a vertical solitary trunk and no lower fronds a long time ago. People were calling it a Bull needle. I’ve always been familiar with the “normal” clumping form which seems to grow wider with offsets as fast as it grows tall. I have one that’s been slow to grow period and only has a few small pups, but I don’t think is a “bull”. One normal clumping form and a small new clumping form. What’s everyone’s experience with the 2 different types? Let’s see them!!!

( Edit : I just noticed that teddytn found this article before me . )

 

This was on this discussion board back in 2014 :

 

 

 

Edited by Will Simpson
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It's been a while but I've seen before/after pictures of a trimmed up Needle palm that make it look like it was trunking. Looked really good as well.

 

So in that case, it wasn't a different variation but just trimmed to look that way.

I've done the same with a European fan palm that I have in the ground.

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1 hour ago, sashaeffer said:

It's been a while but I've seen before/after pictures of a trimmed up Needle palm that make it look like it was trunking. Looked really good as well.

 

So in that case, it wasn't a different variation but just trimmed to look that way.

I've done the same with a European fan palm that I have in the ground.

Yeah no I get that, if I trimmed the older leaves it would give that look for sure, but still trying to understand why some produce plentiful offsets and some are solitary. I read something a long time ago about plants in general, that if the environment where the plant is has ideal conditions it will put a lot of energy into reproduction, if the conditions are less than ideal the plant will put all its energy into trying to live indefinitely and not reproduce. Not sure if there is any correlation here.

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This is the one I have that is more solitary 2 main trucks 1 pup per trunk. Just noticed it pushing flowers. Side note everything in the garden is pushing a ton of growth very early in the season. 201DE403-2E66-45AA-B125-BFF4BAE823A9.thumb.jpeg.c75246fd38c5b293fc97dc787e0772d6.jpegThe bigger clumping one has been flowering and producing unviable seed for 4 years I believe. I’ll take pics when it flowers. The inflorescence on the big one always seems underwhelming compared to the pic above. So are we talking male plant, female plant?

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  • 9 months later...
On 5/1/2021 at 2:53 PM, Will Simpson said:

My bull is about 7' tall . I've got to blow the leaves off of the trunk so it is more visible . I might take a picture of it after I blow off the trunk in the next couple days , then I can really see how fat the trunk is .

 

 

IMG_0049.thumb.JPG.985c4d11fb20c72d6a2c505deb497bbc.JPG

Will, Yours looks mostly female to me. About 18 leaflets per leaf. How many offshoots at the base?

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I have seen a picture or two of the so-called "bull". I'd call it that, too. ;)

I have three phenotypes at home -

1. Mostly Male: Large leader trunk with one or two offsets. Approx. 12 leaflets per leaf. 6-ft tall.

2. Mostly Female: Less dominant leader trunk with 6 to 8 offsets. Approx. 18 leaflets per leaf. 5-ft tall.

3. A short, crawling specimen with multiple heads all the same size. Purchased from Plant Delights over 20 years ago. Approx. 3-ft tall.

I use the term "mostly" as the larger palms will produce alternate flowers about every 5 years or so.

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18 minutes ago, SeanK said:

I have seen a picture or two of the so-called "bull". I'd call it that, too. ;)

I have three phenotypes at home -

1. Mostly Male: Large leader trunk with one or two offsets. Approx. 12 leaflets per leaf. 6-ft tall.

2. Mostly Female: Less dominant leader trunk with 6 to 8 offsets. Approx. 18 leaflets per leaf. 5-ft tall.

3. A short, crawling specimen with multiple heads all the same size. Purchased from Plant Delights over 20 years ago. Approx. 3-ft tall.

I use the term "mostly" as the larger palms will produce alternate flowers about every 5 years or so.

That’s cool you have 3 different types, can we get a peek please? 2 different types for me, the 3rd needle I’ve got is too young to tell which way it’ll go yet. 

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  • 1 year later...

@Leelanau PalmsHere’s my biggest needle palm when it was planted in July 2014IMG_0113.thumb.jpeg.c5966f850f268cc5a75af5ed41241240.jpegHere it is today. My 3 year old son for scale. The bottom of the deck from ground level where the needle palm is, is 8 feet, tips of the fronds 9 feet now. Has to be 12 feet wide IMG_8682.thumb.jpeg.de8c16691c0a801214aa535be0587c99.jpegHere’s the other side under the deck. I was going to take some pics of the trunks, it just looks like a mess, there has to be 30 trunks or more now, it’s so thick it’s impossible to count. IMG_8684.thumb.jpeg.8017ff4da326c1564c7889eeaa3ebdec.jpegHere’s my 2nd biggest when it was planted in April 2015IMG_0224.thumb.jpeg.c64b674b195e8fca2773750adaa4bef0.jpegHere it is todayIMG_8683.thumb.jpeg.c29346bf4165e0c48bef9dbf7478b990.jpegBacksideIMG_8685.thumb.jpeg.b705aef98fa38a7e61ef74e0a796c876.jpegEasy to count the trunks on this one. There’s two main trunks that had 2 pups each until this past spring, now one has 3 and the other has 4. All kinds of variability from individual to individual. The first one pictured lost its main trunk the first winter, this second one has never lost any. The third one I have in the ground is still too small. It did lose its main trunk the first winter also. I have a feeling this leads to more prolific pupping. 

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On 5/3/2021 at 4:04 PM, ky_palm064 said:

Nice topic!

My oldest needle is bushy with lots of offsets, but my other one is single trunked. When it flowered a few years ago, it looked to be a female. There was a topic a couple of years ago about single trunked needles, which used the term "bull" only for the males.

 

needle02.thumb.JPG.b906eb17f9aaa0dddf5592eb964912fb.JPG

 

Could you please share more pictures of your needles? Do you protect them in the winter?

Zone 6b maritime climate

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52 minutes ago, Leelanau Palms said:

Could you please share more pictures of your needles? Do you protect them in the winter?

I’ll snap some more when I can. I’ve never protected any needle palms I’ve planted. That biggest one next to the deck spear pulled and lost the main trunk its first winter. The other one I took pictures of did not spear pull, but the third smallest one that I planted 2 years ago did spear pull and lose its main trunk the first winter. This seems common and others have shared the same experience. Seems like in a colder climate some protection the first couple winters would do them good until they really get established and start gaining some size. After that they don’t need any protection, and when they get big it would be too hard to do so anyway

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On 5/1/2021 at 2:53 PM, Will Simpson said:

My bull is about 7' tall . I've got to blow the leaves off of the trunk so it is more visible . I might take a picture of it after I blow off the trunk in the next couple days , then I can really see how fat the trunk is .

 

 

IMG_0049.thumb.JPG.985c4d11fb20c72d6a2c505deb497bbc.JPG

That looks nice.  That is really quite the bushy palm.

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On 12/14/2023 at 4:48 AM, Leelanau Palms said:

Could you please share more pictures of your needles? Do you protect them in the winter?

Here’s an inside look at the biggest one, it’s really a tangled mess in there.IMG_8720.thumb.jpeg.c9572dc64bcab9b773e4ff6df2744c85.jpeg

IMG_8721.thumb.jpeg.6457909ad33f6cd7953a48dd1bc2cfbd.jpegHere’s the second biggestIMG_8722.thumb.jpeg.a55dad5d380ff6dfa6f1b1b45f599aca.jpegAnd then here’s the smallest one. this is planted under a pine tree, in a shady area of my yard. I don’t water this one. It had a main trunk in the middle that had palmate leaves when I planted it, these are the pups that are rock solid now after 2 winters. IMG_8723.thumb.jpeg.3597d4b17241319c3d8b318792eaecb1.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Leelanau Palms said:

Thanks for the pics. Have you ever collected any of the seed?

This was the first year that seeds developed fully. Yes collected them and have them in a community pot now. 

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On 12/16/2023 at 10:08 AM, teddytn said:

Here’s an inside look at the biggest one, it’s really a tangled mess in there.IMG_8720.thumb.jpeg.c9572dc64bcab9b773e4ff6df2744c85.jpeg

IMG_8721.thumb.jpeg.6457909ad33f6cd7953a48dd1bc2cfbd.jpegHere’s the second biggestIMG_8722.thumb.jpeg.a55dad5d380ff6dfa6f1b1b45f599aca.jpegAnd then here’s the smallest one. this is planted under a pine tree, in a shady area of my yard. I don’t water this one. It had a main trunk in the middle that had palmate leaves when I planted it, these are the pups that are rock solid now after 2 winters. IMG_8723.thumb.jpeg.3597d4b17241319c3d8b318792eaecb1.jpeg

They look happy in the mulch there.

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I bought a large clump of needle palms several years ago from Gary Holler at Gary's nursery which he said was a special type from Florida seeps (sink holes) with wider leaves and longer leaf petioles which has proven to be just as cold hardy as the usual type.  I cover the clump every year though to be sure they make it in my zone 6b Pennsylvania winters and they are really fantastic.  The leaves are really shiny too.  They have a more exotic look than the needle palms I normally see.  The bull type needles are ones about to produce seed on a regular basis every year.  No one knows why some needle palms produce few offsets but those types usually produce more seed than the clumping type.  There are both types in natural populations but the clumping type is way more common.

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Hello there…for us in zone 7, Needles are the best of all cold hardy palms. Your 2014 in-ground story follows mine exactly. Mine started out much like yours in 2014 and is now about 6’ tall with multiple trunks, some 12” tall and 10” in diameter…this is the sunny one:

IMG_0145.thumb.jpeg.1e17c2d175cc57ef823f9c026ce933de.jpeg

IMG_0167.thumb.jpeg.c56ac8c0687d042c65da64cd5b0293b3.jpeg

This is the shady one, I think in-ground since 2016 or so?

IMG_0160.thumb.jpeg.3480af5b0f6d4687ffc51cb177ff3af3.jpeg

Of course it grows at a much slower rate but being so well protected by the bank behind it and the holly tree above it, stays looking really nice.

Your Needles look great and they really are carefree!


 

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