Leaf scars or basesPersistent leaf bases attached to the trunk or leaf scars that remain on the trunk.
StandardA plant with a free standing erect stem and terminal foliage.
This palm has a solitary greyish trunk that is closely ringed and capped with a rounded crown of bluish-green fan-like fronds with stiff spiny stalks. It has small yellow bell-shaped flowers that appear in a long pendulous cluster during summer.
Brahea armata S. Wats. is naturally found from Baja California to north-western Mexico growing in subtropical regions on arid rocky hillsides or cliffs and in desert canyons, from sea level to an altitude of 1,000 m (3,280 ft) or more. It prefers a poor well drained but moist sandy-rocky calcareous base soil that is tending alkaline with a pH range from 6.5 to 8.0 but is adaptable. It grows in an open to expose hot sunny to semi-shaded position and is drought, saline soil and frost tolerant.
The Blue Hesper Palm is a stately palm that is grown foliage colour. It is grown in parks and large gardens as a specimen or used in avenue plantings and can be used as a windbreak. It is also grown in arid gardens tolerating hot dry conditions or used around a large water feature for a tropical effect. When young it can be grown in pots or tubs as an indoor or glasshouse specimen in cooler regions. It is slow growing and establishes in 4 to 8 years requiring poorer soils with low rainfall as rich soil tends to slow growth. It has a low water requirement once established (Scale: 1-drop from 3) but prefers a position with reliable soil moisture during summer.
UK hardiness zone H4
Climate zones H1, 10, 12-24
USDA Zone 9-11
Brahea (bra-HEE-ah) armata (arm-AH-tuh)
Genus: - Brahea – named after Tycho Brahe who was a 16th century Danish astronomer,
Species: Latin - armata - meaning (armed) referring to the petioles having spines
Baja California, North-western Mexico
This family consists predominantly of tropical monocotyledons that form climbing and tree like habits with divided pinnate leaves and axillary inflorescence that produce ample indehiscent fruit.
These plants are mainly distributed in tropical and warm temperate areas of the world from Central and South America to the Malay Peninsula and Africa in environments with poor drainage or permanent water such as mangrove swamps and low land rainforest. A small number of species are found in temperate regions.
Palms are long lived and form solitary or multiple trunks that are rarely branched and can form a clump of, rarely with underground stems. They have a single apical bud and if it is killed by frost or mechanical damage the stem dies.
The leaves (fronds) of adult plants appear in regular numbers per stem at the apex with their tubular leaf bases clasping around the stem. These forms a pseudo-stem (crown-shaft) as in Arecoid palms or the dead leaf bases form a parchment-like weaved mat and may split below the petiole. The distinctive petiole is armed or unarmed with spines or teeth and leaf scars or leaf bases may be persistent on the trunk. They vary in size from 150 mm (6 in) to 25 m (82 ft) in length.
The leaf blade is plicate from bud and is normally simple and adult fronds are palmately, pinnate and occasionally bipinnate with pinnate ribs. Caryota spp. is palmately lobed simple with ribs and appears compound with the petiole acting as the rachis (Costapalmate). All have ligula terminating the petiole and have leaflets that fold upwards then down wards to the petiole or rachis and have one to several parallel nerved veins joined by transverse veinlets.
The inflorescence is simple or branched into a huge panicle and normally arises from the leaf bases and forms with a protective overlapping woody bracts that remains until the flowers developed.
The numerous small flowers occur individually or 2 - 3 together in a cluster and are monoecious or dioecious with the perianth segments in 2 whorls. The female flowers are generally 3 merious with 3 somewhat imbricate sepals and petals and have 3 stamens.. Male flowers sometimes have 4 petals and sepals. The flowers of pollinated by wind, ants, bees, beetles and flies.
There are three or more stamens and sometimes are adnate to the perianth or have the filaments joined into a tube or disk.
The gynoecium normally three-carpelled and may be fused or unfused. The ovary is superior with 3 carpels that have a single ovule and in many species only one ovule per flower that matures into one seed. The styles are rarely elongated and normally the arrangement is a three lobed fleshy stigma that is sessile on the ovary.
The fruit normally contains a single seed and it is a drupe or berry with a woody or fibrous surface that is smooth, prickly or hairy mesocarp is fleshy or dry and rarely produced 2 - 10 seeds.
The indehiscent seeds are commonly brightly coloured and have endosperm that is oily or fatty and a hard coated.
The palms have many uses from making spears to the fruit and leaf bases being eaten. There are of great horticulture importance and are used in many gardens.
This plant tolerates between USDA zones 9a to 11a and grows to 15 m (50 ft)
Fahrenheit 20º to 45º F
These temperatures represent the lowest average.
Celsius -6.6º to 7.2º C
This plant was last revised on the 17/03/2019
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CompoundThe leaf that is divided into separate units (leaflets).
PalmateA compound leaf with five or seven leaflets one terminal with individual midribs.
RosetteA cluster radiating from a common source.
EntireA leaf margin with no irregularities (smooth).
The stiff waxy palmate fronds have tapering segments that reach half way into the leaf blades (Costapalmate) and up to 2 m (6 ft) long. The long petiole is armed with downward facing spines and the frond arches with age. Spent fronds form a skirt that may extend to the base of the trunk.
CyathiformA cup like shape.
PanicleBranched with large loose clusters.
The small bisexual cyathiform flowers are cream to yellow with 3 petals and sepals that are slightly joined towards the base.They are arranged in an arching panicle the is up to 4 m (12 ft) long and is enclosed in a rounded woody bract that persists on the plant once flowering has commenced in early summer.
DrupeA succulent fruit composed of an outer fleshy layer "
The Blue Hesper Palm is a stately palm that is grown foliage colour. It is grown in parks and large gardens as a specimen or used in avenue plantings and can be used as a windbreak. It is also grown in arid gardens tolerating hot dry conditions or used around a large water feature for a tropical effect. When young it can be grown in pots or tubs as an indoor or glasshouse specimen in cooler regions. It is slow growing and establishes in 4 to 8 years requiring poorer soils with low rainfall as rich soil tends to slow growth. It has a low water requirement once established (Scale: 1-drop from 3) but prefers a position with reliable moisture during summer.
Sow fresh seed during spring and maintain a temperature of 19º to 27º C (66º to 81º F). The seeds may take up to 3 months to germinate.
Palm seed should be sown as soon as possible after collection as the viability period is short, ripe mature fruit is essential. Do not allow the seed to dry out and if placed in a container of water any seed that floats should be discarded. After selecting seeds dust with a fungicide, as they are prone to fungal attack.
A soil mix composed of half peat moss and half perlite is a reliable media and then placed the containers over bottom heat of 28º C (80º F) and don't allow it dry out. It may take up to 1 or 2 years for germination of some species this may be accelerated by scarification or soaking the seeds in gibberellic at 1000 ppm for two days.
Propagation by Seed (General)
In order for a seed to germinate it must fulfil three conditions.
1. The embryo must be alive (a viable seed).
2. The seed must have no dormancy-inducing physiological, physical or chemical barrier to germination; also the seed must be nondormant.
3. The seed must have the appropriate environmental requirements, water, temperature and oxygen.
The interaction between these requirements and dormancy is complex and may lead to different environmental requirements that avoid the dormancy of a seed.
Sowing Seeds in Containers
There are two general methods for germinating seeds.
Seeds in a flat or germinating bed, through which seedlings are pricked-out then, transplanted into another flat with wider spacing or directly to an individual pot.
2. Sowing seeds by placing them in to flats with the appropriate spacing or into individual pots.
This method is normally carried out with medium to large seeds such as woody plants and plants that are difficult to transplant.
Seedling production normally occurs in a greenhouse / glasshouse, cold frames and on hot beds.
Method of Seed Sowing
Fine seed is sown in pots or flats that are no deeper than 70 to 80 mm. using a sterilised well-drained media (soil). Fill the container to 20 mm from the top and sprinkle sieved peat to 3 mm depth.
Press the media down level and firm with a piece of timber and then thoroughly moisten.
Mix the fine seed with washed sand and then sow thinly on the surface. These may be lightly covered with sand.
Larger seeds may be covered with media or a hole is dibbled and the seed is placed in the media.
For watering you may either mist the containers from above or place the container in tepid water and allow the water to raise through the pot to the surface of the media, then drain away and do not fill to the top of the container.
Place a piece of glass over the pot and store in a protected warm environment (glasshouse).
Seeds germinate best in darkness so shade the containers if in direct sunlight.
After the seedlings have sprouted remove the glass and ease the seedlings into direct light.
When the seedlings are large enough prick them out and transplant into larger containers then place them in a shade house to harden off.
Many seeds have different methods of seed preparation for germination such as nicking or cutting the seed coat to allow water penetration, also placing seeds in hot water and allowing it to cool off.
This is particularly important as it is softening the seed coat.
Average Lowest Temperature : -1º C 30º F
USDA : 9, 10, 11
This USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) hardiness zone chart can be used to indicate a plant’s ability to withstand average minimum temperatures. However, other factors such as soil type, pH, and moisture, drainage, humidity and exposure to sun and wind will also have a direct effect on your plant’s survival. Use this chart only as a guide, always keep the other factors in mind when deciding where, when and what to plant.
A plant's individual USDA zone can be found in the Plant Overview.
Region of origin
Baja California, North-western Mexico
Warm to Sub-tropical
This overlaping zone has ample rain with high summer temeperatures and high humidity. Winters are mild. Pockets of sub-tropical climates exist within coastal warm temperate zones.
Frosts and droughts rarely occur along the coast.
Tropical and warm temperate native and exotic plants grow well.
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