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The Elusive White Serenoa Repens


AlexnAtlanta

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There have long been rumored to be a few patches of Serenoa Repens (saw palmetto) near the Martin and Palm Beach County borders that have fronds that are almost glistening white.  The two most common forms of Serenoa Repens are the green form and a bluish silver form.  While on a brief vacation in Florida this past weekend, I spent some time exploring some of the sandhills just west of the Intercoastal waterway and without too much effort stumbled on a couple of patches of what must be the elusive "snow serenoa".  The day was dark and drizzlly, but even under those conditions these palms glistened white.  Here are some photos:

IMG_4560.jpg

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Alex Woollcott

Atlanta Georgia

Zone 8a

Hot humid summers, cool wet winters

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More photos of white serenoa repens:

IMG_4551.jpg

IMG_4557.jpg

  • Upvote 2

Alex Woollcott

Atlanta Georgia

Zone 8a

Hot humid summers, cool wet winters

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Nice!  Jonathan Dickinson State Park?

One of the benefits of buying conservation lands near the coast has been preservation of habitat for the silver palmettos.  Anyone who doubts their beauty should see the prominently-placed garden population at Montgomery Botanical Center.  I think theirs are from the Hobe Sound area.

Very nice ones are present along the coast into Brevard County.  My youngster in the back yard is doing well, so it's time to think about trimming some other shrubs to increase its visibility.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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I love this palm. It can really set off a palm garden as an understory palm. I wish these were easier to find for sale. Probably pretty slow from seed but worth the time and effort. All of the native S. repens around here are the green form which do look nice in large patches that are trunking - probably couple hundred years old. DO these silver form ever form above ground trunks?

Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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Fantastic Alex, those serenoa are just stunning!  I have 2 of the blue/silver and they are clearly not that color.  thanks for the pics!

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

 

Tom Blank

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Lovely specimens. RPS has seeds, so it says, and the picture they post looks a lot like the ones you posted. Also, Ortanique offers seeds of "Silver Saw Palmetto."

So, palm experts, could these seeds be of this white Serenoa repens something else? I'd sure like to try growing it here.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Meg,

My guess is that any you buy from any of the seed dealers will not be this exact color.

Living over here on the east coast of Florida I see alot of these along with the regular green ones. They come in varying shades of white ,silver, gray,blue, from my experience, and unless they are completly isolated, one color form might get pollen from another color form durning flowering.

One might not even get that exact color if one got seeds from the one posted,as there might be some other color variations near it!

One last thought, I think the color is also dependant on whether they receive , full sun ,partial sun,or more shade!

Scott

Titusville, FL

1/2 mile from the Indian River

USDA Zone COLD

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Scott. thanks for the info. Makes sense to me.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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(Gbarce @ Jan. 23 2008,09:20)

QUOTE
which begs the question--- did you get seeds????

:D My first thought also Gene.

Very nice Alex.

Matt

Matt in Temecula, CA

Hot and dry in the summer, cold with light frost in the winter. Halfway between the desert and ocean

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Folks,

As for seeds, I saw NONE.  These palms were not in the Jonathan Dickinson State Park but they weren't far from there.  They were right off Federal Highway (on the west side) right near the intersection of the road that crosses Federal Highway over to Jupiter Island.  I was surpsied to see no seeds on any of these white serenoa but there were many spent seed stalks from prior years.  I also found several that were in full bloom, with very fragrant flowers, by the way.  I'm not sure where I read it, but somewhere I recall reading that Serenoa are not always "true to color" from seed, although I've begun to doubt that after encountering several hundred plants in the immediate vicinity of one another that share this striking coloration.  I suppose that a white serenoa could be pollinated by a green serenoa if the pollen is carried by a bee or blown from another patch some distance away.  I'm glad y'all enjoyed the photos.  This "weed" is becoming quite a collectors item among palm lovers.

Alex Woollcott

Atlanta Georgia

Zone 8a

Hot humid summers, cool wet winters

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Alex,

The seeds are usually ripe around here in late fall early winter, October,November!

Scott

Titusville, FL

1/2 mile from the Indian River

USDA Zone COLD

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(PalmatierMeg @ Jan. 23 2008,11:31)

QUOTE
Lovely specimens. RPS has seeds, so it says, and the picture they post looks a lot like the ones you posted. Also, Ortanique offers seeds of "Silver Saw Palmetto."

So, palm experts, could these seeds be of this white Serenoa repens something else? I'd sure like to try growing it here.

I have two palmate seedlings of the "silver saw palmetto", they sure arent the green variety.  But, those palms alex posted are apparently just another genetic strain entirely.

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

 

Tom Blank

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If these were all in one place, it is probably a clone group - all from a single seed.  You would only be able to tell this by digging down each stem to find if it connects to the next one.  Also, the seeds are often picked as soon as they are ripe by people selling them to health food companies.

They are very slow growers but live for hundreds of years.  Most people aren't willing to pay the price for a nice size specimen and don't want to wait for a small one to grow.  They are indeed nice in any color variation.

Palmmermaid

Kitty Philips

West Palm Beach, FL

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I agree with Scott;  I'd be surprised if any of the dealers really got the ultimate

almost white Serenoa.  Their population is a minute portion of all the blue/silver around.

merrill, North Central Florida

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AlexnAtyalnta is our own little Columbo (minus the trench coat and cigar).  Great work finding the white Serenoa.    Those pics arew stunning.

Must have white serenoa repens.........

Kent in Kansas.

Gowing palm trees in the middle of the country - Kansas.

It's hot in the summer (usually) and cold in the winter (always).

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wow.nice photos, looks great!

I have been germinating some "silver" saw palmettos recieved from the cfpacs summer 07 seedbank.

I love all the diffrent varities, makes it so much more interesting.

Luke

Tallahassee, FL - USDA zone 8b/9a

63" rain annually

January avg 65/40 - July avg 92/73

North Florida Palm Society - http://palmsociety.blogspot.com/

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It's gratifying to see such widespread interest in a palm that are considered weeds by some.  I have had excellent experience with the hardiness of serenoa repens in Atlanta.  Supposedly, the non-green strains are less hardy to cold, but I have not found that to be the case at all in Atlanta.  I'm very careful NOT to plant mine in our native heavy clay.  Plants with marginal hardiness here in Atlanta seem to show more hardiness if their "feet are dry" during the winter.  Instead, I plant serenoa in mounds of sharp river sand.  Here are a photo of one of my blue serenoa in Atlanta:

IMG_4513.jpg

Compare that to one of my silver Chamaerops Humils Cerifera, which I also grow in almost pure sand with no protection from cold here in Atlanta.

IMG_4370.jpg

P.S. You can see some of my winter protected palms in the background, like my wonderful Bismarkia

  • Upvote 1

Alex Woollcott

Atlanta Georgia

Zone 8a

Hot humid summers, cool wet winters

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I have been wanting to buy white or silver S. repens for awhile now. I tried contacting the Palm Shop to buy a large quantity of these at a discount but I never received reply's to my e-mails.

I am really suprised that these uniquely colored palms are not more popular here in the Florida Panhandle. The green ones are weeds here, so if you had some that were very different in coloration, it would really stand out here.

I sure wish the local palm guys would start carrying these cold hardy palms.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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(Alicehunter2000 @ Jan. 23 2008,18:22)

QUOTE
I sure wish the local palm guys would start carrying these cold hardy palms.

Some nurseies around here carry them.But you might be knocked over by the price of a small 3 gallon!

They are unbeleiveably SLOW!

Scott

Titusville, FL

1/2 mile from the Indian River

USDA Zone COLD

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There was a large planting of those along one of the big east-west boolies in Tampa, which I saw on my trip there.  Some were really white.

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

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Alex, thank you for the great photographs and starting this thread. I've said many time that Serenoa is one of the most neglected palms for palm enthueasist, and particularly in California. If you think it's slow in Florida, then try it in N. Calif. It's very slow, but well worth the effort. Mine grow about 3 fronds per head a year in N. Calif.

Over the years I've pruchased some from Florida, and I grew them in large pots on my sunny deck. They make perfect potted palms and will do well for many years in the same pot. Most of mine came from the Palm Society sales at Fairchild, and there were many to pick from, so I only got the most silver/blue that I could find.

Unfortunately they tend to lose much of the silver color when grown in N. Calif. and mine were growing in the full blasting sun on my decks. I think it must be the coolness of our nights. They actually do better for me grown in containers. All of mine are in the ground now, and they don't thrive in my adobe clay. A few of the crowns have rotted away, and I've found they do best if kept on the dry side in the summer. Idealy they prefer a sandy soil with good drainage.

They are the perfect palm for S. Calif. with warmer nights and dessert kinds of soil. I've seen some beauties down there. The green form from S. Georgia can be very attractive too, and I have one of those.

For those of you in Florida who want instant gratification, there are a few nurserys in central Florida that grow them, but their very pricey.

All of the ones I've seen in S. Georgia are green, but RPS was advertising a silver one from a population in S. Georgia a couple of years ago that was supposed to be very silver and extreamly cold hardy. They are all cold hardy to below 14F (-10C), but like Rhapidophyllum, also found in S. Ga., they require heat in the summer to grow.

Dick

Richard Douglas

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Serenoa may be flexible about winter water.  Plants that grow on beach dunes are likely to have it very dry in the winter (no rain), while those in flatwoods of northern Florida (such as Osceola National Forest) have soggy conditions because, while rainfall is low, transpiration by the pines and other vegetation is even lower.

Fla. climate center: 100-119 days>85 F
USDA 1990 hardiness zone 9B
Current USDA hardiness zone 10a
4 km inland from Indian River; 27º N (equivalent to Brisbane)

Central Orlando's urban heat island may be warmer than us

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Dave,

There's a nursery in town that has 7gal for $35 and 10-15gal for $75.  I bought several last year and was happy with the quality and the color.   You should try and check them out if you're passing through.

Also picked up some silver euro fan palms from them that were very nice.

http://www.tropictraditions.com/

Also, these palms will speed up with full sun, fert and regular irrigation.

Jason

Gainesville, Florida

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Here is a big clump here at Leu Gardens of the silvery-white type. It was planted in 1986. The records don't indicate where it came from or where it was collected, only that it was donated by the former Director. This was originally growing in full sun in front of our now large Bismarckia. We moved it with a big tree spade and it survived. It is now growing under a large Toog Tree (Bischofia javanica). This tree has very dark green foliage. It has been limbed up so the Serenoa gets shifting light, sometimes full sun. It really stands out in this location.

I have seen wild silver blue forms in far eastern Orange county, about 20-25 miles east of Orlando in the pinewoods near Christmas.

img_0587.jpg

img_0586.jpg

Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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Wow!

Jason, I wish we had nurserys like that in Calf. In the first place it would be hard to find palms like that out here and in the second, you could multiply 3 or 4 for the prices out here.

I saw a wholesale advertisement from a nursery somewhere in Fla., and I think it was central or northern, where they had tons of large boxed Serenoa for sale. and many were silver. They also had a lot of other cold hardy palms, but I don't know what the prices were. I know they are available if one scouts hard enough. Unfortunately, we can't ship palms from Florida or Arizona (legally)  into Calif. because of goverment restrictions.

Dick

Richard Douglas

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Eric, those serenoa at Lieu are incredible.  They really do look as though they're covered with snow.  I've visited Lieu Gardens once (last year) and somehow I must have missed the spot where these silver saws are, but I'll try to locate them when I visit next time.  I also visited a wonderful Garden Center near Lieu that some people had recommended.  I'm drawing a blank on the name right now, but it was very impressive, well laid out, etc.

Alex Woollcott

Atlanta Georgia

Zone 8a

Hot humid summers, cool wet winters

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Scott thanks for the info. I will keep it in mind if I head over that way.

Jason, the web site only shows green S. repens.

The silver Chams look sweet.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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(Alicehunter2000 @ Jan. 25 2008,03:36)

QUOTE
Scott thanks for the info. I will keep it in mind if I head over that way.

Jason, the web site only shows green S. repens.

The silver Chams look sweet.

They usually have the silver as well.  Just give them a call.

Jason

Gainesville, Florida

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Alex, those Serenoa are near the big Bismarckia. In that 1st photo, the big B is on the other side of that tree.

Was the nursery Palmer's? They are a few blocks from the Gardens. Its a small place but nice.

Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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Alex,

Thanks for sharing the photo.  I really like the second photo you posted.  Very nice.  Below is a picture of the typical "blue" variety.  I like yours better.  I remember U.A. Young in Tampa had a nice clump.

Phil

serenoa_repens_002_(silver).GIF

  • Upvote 1

Jungle Music Palms and Cycads, established 1977 and located in Encinitas, CA, 20 miles north of San Diego on the Coast.  Phone:  619 2914605 Link to Phil's Email phil.bergman@junglemusic.net Website: www.junglemusic.net Link to Jungle Music Palms and Cycads

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Eric,

Those are really incredible saw palmettos.  I bought a 1 gallon blue variety from Lukas years ago and it's now a nice big clump, but does not have that heavy white "chaulk".  Have you guys tried reproducing them from seed?  I'd love to see some at the spring sale :;):

Central Florida, 28.42N 81.18W, Elev. 14m

Zone 9b

Summers 33/22C, Winters 22/10C Record Low -7C

Rain 6cm - 17cm/month with wet summers 122cm annually

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very beautiful thread with lots of stunning visuals..and the visual man is very happy... :cool:

thanks & love,

Kris  :)

love conquers all..

43278.gif

.

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Does anyone in Florida know what became of Dent Smith's estate, and if it's still intac. is it ever open to be seen? I remember he had a Serenoa growing just outside the entrance to his property, and it was the most silver/white one I've ever seen. It was dazzling.

Dick

Richard Douglas

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This has been a fun thread for me, one of my first on this Board.  Eric, I'm sorry but I am drawing a blank on the name of the nursery that I went to in Orlando near Lieu but it was not small.  I got the recommendations from people on the Hardy Palm and Subtropical Board.  

Phil, your photo is wonderful.  Those Serenoa in the pic you posted are obviously of the elite silver class.  My latest Jungle Music deliver is basking in the warmth of my sunroom waiting to be planted when our Atlanta soil warm up in a couple of months!

Alex Woollcott

Atlanta Georgia

Zone 8a

Hot humid summers, cool wet winters

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Dent Smiths' estate is intact, and the family keeps it going.  Some of the palms there are really reaching for the sky; this sometimes makes it more difficult to identify them in the moderately dense plantings.    There was an IPS chapter meeting there a couple of years ago.

merrill, North Central Florida

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Thanks, Merrill.  It's nice to know the place is still being maintained. When I was a young neophyte, I visited the Smith garden several times. In fact some of the Sabals I have came from seeds in his garden. I suppose the Smith garden is one of the oldest private palm gardens in the USA, as he and Hall Moore were the founders of The Palm Society. I was always awed by Mr. Smith's knowledge of palms and particularly the cold hardy ones. I based most of my palm plantings on his reports in Principes.

Dick

Richard Douglas

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I don't remember it setting much seed. I will watch it for some.

Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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  • 8 years later...
On 1/23/2008, 8:52:21, AlexnAtlanta said:

More photos of white serenoa repens:

 

IMG_4551.jpg

 

 

IMG_4557.jpg

Bump :-) (This is the color of the clump I photographed in the Maritime Hammock Sanctuary on Barrier Island in Brevard County)

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