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Naturalizing Roystonea in Tamaulipas


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Since before the year 2000 there has been a creek near an old homestead at Concepcion Tamaulipas, north of Aldama on the coastal roads towards Soto la Marina at the 23rd parallel where royals (presumably Roystonea regia) have been naturalizing. The area is rockier than most parts of coastal Tamaulipas and the presence of Quercus oleoides suggests the soil here is slightly acidic. Originally the old homestead had a long avenue leading up to it which was lined by royals on both sides of the entry, about half being dead in the early to mid 1990s, presumably from the 1989 freeze, when temperatures in the area dropped to near 20F on Dec 24. The only visible marker to indicate the location of the old homestead is a large eucalyptus tree which used to be in the yard. 

This is a picture from 2001, when there were just a couple of palms that appeared to be wild. An occasional Acrocomia mexicana could be found in the area.




Over the years the royals started becoming more abundant around the creek, where a few Acrocomia mexicana also started showing up. My last time to pass by the place before this January was in 2009 and by then the royals were thriving and reproducing, but nothing like to the extent that is seen today. 



Aside from just spreading around the creek by 2024 they had also started popping up in open fields






Seeding is not a problem.

If you look closely at Google Earth you can see how far they have spread. Concepcion is the approximate location of the original house and the “X” is the spot where the naturalizing royals were first noticed. The dashed line indicates how far up and down the creek they appear to have spread given the presence of pinnate palms observable in Google Earth (though some could be Acrocomia). The creek flows left to right as it heads towards the Gulf of Mexico. 


Presumably the royals will keep naturalizing down the creek. How far they will eventually go is unknown, the area is fairly wet and the creek eventually merges with others and comes out at Barra Del Tordo, near the northern limit of the truly tropical zone of coastal Tamaulipas. Their progress westward does not appear to have moved very far.









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Beautiful. Well researched. Possible dumb question, are the shorter ones Acrocomia mexicana?

Woodville, FL

zone 8b

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25 minutes ago, redbeard917 said:

Beautiful. Well researched. Possible dumb question, are the shorter ones Acrocomia mexicana?


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Wow beautiful! How is the safety situation in Tamaulipas. I have never been to eastern Mexico but I want to go if it is safe. Do a Moto trip over to the Gulf of Mexico

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Looks like a great place to get seeds , or seedlings. Harry

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18 hours ago, Palmfarmer said:

Wow beautiful! How is the safety situation in Tamaulipas. I have never been to eastern Mexico but I want to go if it is safe. Do a Moto trip over to the Gulf of Mexico

I mean I haven’t had any problems, when we used to go a lot back in the early 2000s it was more secure and a lot easier to get a car permit. Today I prefer renting a car so it has Mexican plates and just pick the cheapest thing they’ve got. Can’t help you with advice on motorcycles, they aren’t common in this part of Mexico and there may be a reason for that.

The coastal road is not as well traveled as the road from the border to Cd Victoria or the Monterrey-Tampico road. In fact to get down to Tampico we took the road almost to Victoria then got on the Monterrey-Tampico road to get down to Tampico, even though it adds a few miles it takes about as much time and has more traffic and is wider and kept up better.

The most interesting tropical vegetation is found near the coast from Tampico up to the Barra del Tordo area but that road is even less well traveled. But it is the best place to see things such as Aechmea bracteata, Brassavola nodosa and Tillandsias such as ionantha and fasciculata in the trees. If you follow it up to Barra there are lots of Acrocomia near the coast and a disjunct population of Sabal mauritiiformis that went unnoticed for years until the area was cleared for a seaside housing development. There is also a Zamia, presumably loddigesii, that grows in the sandy coastal soil.

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