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Phoenix Dactylifera growing in London?


UK_Palms
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I stumbled across this Phoenix palm recently and noticed it seemed a bit different. For one it was suckering profusely, although I initially thought it was just several small CIDP's planted closely together. However, going back in time on Google street view, I can confirm that it is in fact just the one Phoenix palm, which is clearly suckering.

The first pictures are from 2015, back when it was quite a bit smaller. Even then it appears to be exhibiting a clumping nature, with quite a few suckers being put out. The owner of the house also appears to be Middle Eastern, which may pay homage to the possibility of it being Dactylifera, as opposed to say Theophrasti or Reclinata. 

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Here it is more recently, showing it really suckering profusely now. It is also noticeably a LOT slower growing than traditional CIDP's are in the London area, which would be more than double that size by now, during the 5-6 years between the first two photos and the last two. The fronds also seem a bit 'off' for CIDP as well, with a bluey/silver hint of colour to them, although it could just be the lighting? 

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What are your thoughts? Dactylifera? Theophrasti? Hybrid? I suppose it will become more evident in the coming years as it continues to grow bigger. Since I have the location, I can obviously monitor it moving forward. I suspect the jury will be out on it for some time, until it grows bigger. My first thought was CIDP x Dacty hybrid, but I doubt it would sucker to that extent if it was a CIDP hybrid? It's straight up suckering like a Dacty, but I suppose it could still be a hybrid. Very hard to tell at this stage. I suspect other people have spent more time around smaller Dacty specimens than me though, so they may be able to tell, and confirm whether it is or not...? Cheers :greenthumb:

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Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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2 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

What are your thoughts? Dactylifera? Theophrasti? Hybrid?

If the leaflets are very stiff and very sharp at the top, they are likely theophrasti.  Otherwise, you probably won't have anything else to go on until it flowers.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

If the leaflets are very stiff and very sharp at the top, they are likely theophrasti.  Otherwise, you probably won't have anything else to go on until it flowers.

I have only seen it on street view and not in person, so I cannot confirm anything regarding the leaf tips. It's located in north central London, which is quite far away from me, since I am about 15 miles outside of the southwest London suburbs. Hopefully someone else can get out there to inspect it, or we will just have to wait and see how it grows on street view in the coming years. It would be nice to confirm the presence of a Dactylifera planted out and established though. If Filifera is established and thriving in London, Dacty's probably should do too, in theory. 

There is already evidence of Theophrasti being grown in London and doing well, so it wouldn't surprise me if it is actually a Theophrasti. There is a particularly good specimen on the outskirts of west London, out near Heathrow airport. Grown from seed by Peter Jenkins, it has been in the ground for at least a decade now. So I can confirm that Theophrasti definitely grows in London and does relatively well. It is probably under-planted here, given the obvious potential for it. However there is no confirmation of an established Dacty here as of yet. Unless the palm in question is of course a Dacty, which it may well be potentially. I am hopeful that it is a Dacty, since we already have confirmation of established Theo's doing well in London...

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Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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@UK__Palms The leaflets of the palm in the  photos have the look of a theophrasti - they look stiff and sharp.  Usually, Phoenix theophrasti is a dense clumper though, so if the owner hasn't had to remove suckers, you might have sylvestris or dactylifera there - or some kind of odd-ball hybrid.  Dactylifera usually clumps if it is grown from seed unless it is one of the oddball seeds (1/50 or even 1/100) that come true to type from seed.  I grew an entire box of Phoenix dactylifera 'Medjool' pits and got 1 solitary palm out of it.  That palm is on the left side of my driveway at this point.

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Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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@kinzyjr Thanks for the advice. I think it more than likely is a Theophrasti, but I suppose it is impossible to tell for sure yet until checked in person, or until it gets bigger. It should become pretty obvious once the central growing point starts trunking properly. It's got to be a Theo, or failing that a Dacty. My preference is obviously a Dacty, but you're probably right about it being a Theo. Not to mention there's another Theophrasti growing out near Heathrow. It would be interesting if it turned out to be a Sylvestris or a Reclinata. 

I have also sprouted a number of Costco 'Medjool' dates this year too. I wonder if I will get a solitary specimen like you? I have about 40 Medjool seedlings coming along, so it will be survival of the fittest and strongest at 51N. The same with the CIDP seeds that I collected 35-40 miles south of me at Southsea. They're still outside now with a frost cloth over them and it is only 36F out. I won't leave them out all winter though. Same with the washingtonia seedlings. I have brought them indoors on 3-4 of the coldest nights already. 

What would you say this Phoenix is near Regents Park in London? CIDP x Dacty? Pure Dacty? A weird CIDP? A Rupicola? It doesn't appear to be clumping. That spot has a good microclimate and rarely see's colder than 30F most winters. I remember someone saying it was a Rupicola before, but there has been no confirmation or anything. The jury's definitely out on this one.

 

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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23 minutes ago, UK_Palms said:

@kinzyjr Thanks for the advice. I think it more than likely is a Theophrasti, but I suppose it is impossible to tell for sure yet until checked in person, or until it gets bigger. It should become pretty obvious once the central growing point starts trunking properly. It's got to be a Theo, or failing that a Dacty. My preference is obviously a Dacty, but you're probably right about it being a Theo. Not to mention there's another Theophrasti growing out near Heathrow. It would be interesting if it turned out to be a Sylvestris or a Reclinata. 

I have also sprouted a number of Costco 'Medjool' dates this year too. I wonder if I will get a solitary specimen like you? I have about 40 Medjool seedlings coming along, so it will be survival of the fittest and strongest at 51N. The same with the CIDP seeds that I collected 35-40 miles south of me at Southsea. They're still outside now with a frost cloth over them and it is only 36F out. I won't leave them out all winter though. Same with the washingtonia seedlings. I have brought them indoors on 3-4 of the coldest nights already. 

What would you say this Phoenix is near Regents Park in London? CIDP x Dacty? Pure Dacty? A weird CIDP? A Rupicola? It doesn't appear to be clumping. That spot has a good microclimate and rarely see's colder than 30F most winters. I remember someone saying it was a Rupicola before, but there has been no confirmation or anything. The jury's definitely out on this one.

For the previous palm, just have someone grab a handful of leaflets.  If they need rushed to the hospital to stop the bleeding and stitch the puncture wounds shut, it's theophrasti. ;)

The palm in the video makes me scratch my head.  If I had to take a shot in the dark, I'd go with dactylifera x rupicola.  The trunk looks more dactylifera, while the floppy leaflets are more like rupicola.  With a lot of Phoenix, when they cross it's pretty hard to tell the exact lineage without a DNA test.  Here where I live, we have acaulis, canariensis, dactylifera, loureiroi, reclinata, roebelenii, rupicola, and sylvestris in public plantings.  There may even be some paludosa and pusilla around.  Throw in a few theophrasti in private gardens as well.  Any seed you grab could have a long and difficult hybrid lineage since the parents might also have been hybridized.  You can never be sure what will pop up.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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Phoenix palms are perhaps the most prolific hybridizers of all palms.   But also palms have some morphological plasticity, they adapt to different climates.  I emember reading about a mature big sabal indoors in europe that was mis identified for decades due to its morphological changes duye to being indoors in a greenhouse in central europe.  Growing a dactylifera in london is a pretty extreme change in heat vs the natural habitat.  The leaves do look a bit weepy for the dactylifera and not nearly as long as they should be.  Dactylifera in the arizona desert grows a 20' long leaf.  Dactyliferas in florida seem to have leaves not quite as long as arizona -a few feet less- and the crowns have fewer leaves(2/3) here.  What would a stunted dactylifera look like?

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Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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