| Nannorrhops (nahn-NOHR-rohps) |
California, Photo by Perry Glenn.
Habitat and DistributionNannorrhops ritchieana is the sole species in the genus Nannorrhops, and is
Clustering palm, occasionally single-trunked, growing to 6 metres tall. The leaves are fan-shaped, costapalmate, with 20-30 leaflets, each leaflet 30-120 cm long, usually glaucous-green, though very pale forms, as well as silver forms exist. The stems and leaf petioles are not spiny. Leaves are generally stiff and maintain an open fan shape, but floppy-leaf forms with markedly drooping leaflets exist as well. Individual stems are both monocarpic, and Hapaxanthic flowering once and then dying, but new stems are produced at the base (or higher- this is one of the few true, aerial branching, palm species) keeping the plant alive. The inflorescences are produced on a 2-3 m tall stem at the top of the trunk, forming an open panicle. Editing by edric.
Perhaps one of the toughest and hardiest palms is Nannorrhops ritchieana, the Mazari palm. Although this palm does not form a traditional trunk, it looks just as striking in any landscape. Mazari palm grows in a shrub or mounding form 10-20 ft (3.1-6.1m) tall and spreading even more than that. The semi-palmate leaves, similar to those of cabbage palm, are about 4 ft (1.2 m) wide, 4 ft (1.2 m) long and have unarmed petioles, 1-3 ft (0.3-0.6 m) long. Mazari palm does not have a crownshaft and its stem remains below ground. Mazari palm has branches above ground and slowly develops a bushy shrublike appearance. Each stem or branch is monocarpic which means that it flowers only once, then dies back and produces an offshoot. The white flowers are held out and above the foliage in 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) long branching clusters. The fruits, which are edible, are 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in diameter and are brown to orange in color, with a single seed. (floridata.com)
Nannorrhops ritchieana is highly drought tolerant, and also very tolerant of winter frost, hardy down to about -15°C, possibly -20°C, but needs dry conditions and good drainage. Good growth occurs in southern California. It cannot survive wet cold, and has not been successful in humid, high rainfall climates such as Britain. However, it does very well in warm, humid, high rainfall climates such as southern Florida. Seedlings are particularly touchy and rot easily if over watered in cooler conditions. Once mature, cool and cold are much better tolerated. Cold is not nearly as much a problem if it is extremely dry as well. Cold Hardiness Zone: 7a
Mazari palm tolerates poor, dry, infertile soils. Although growth is normally very slow, proper care and fertilization can speed it up significantly. Mazari palm is susceptible to lethal yellowing and Ganoderma fungus. Light: Full sun. Moisture: Mazari palm is very drought tolerant - but you should water when dry to speed up the growth rate. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Mazari palm is adapted to desert conditions of extreme hot and cold, and is one of the most cold hardy palm known. Propagation: Mazari palm is propagated by seeds which geminate slowly and sporadically over a long period of time. It also is possible to divide the clumps. (floridata.com)
Comments and Curiosities
Etymology: The specific epithet Honors the late 18th century to early 19th century British naturalist and African explorer, Joseph Ritchie.
This is a monotypic genus.
"This is a weird palm, and a possible candidate for the worlds hardiest palm. It will grow fine if you have a hot summer, and there are even specimens of this palm surviving Spokane Washington, which is comparable with the midwest. In areas such as Seattle, it will survive, but grow slowly with putting out one frond every two years, unless you find a way to make the summers hotter, which is actually happening in the area the past two years. Maybe it will be a permanent trend?" (Kyle Wicomb)
"This is on paper one of the most versatile palms in terms of variety of climates in which it will survive. It is a native of the middle east, where it somehow makes it on almost no water, blazing heat and snowy cold, intense winds and shrapnel abuse. This is a very attractive palm when tended to, having silvery blue leaves (some forms have sea green leaves to almost 'ordinary' green coloration). It is a suckering as well as a branching palm, and monocarpic (so after flower, that particular stalk dies... but the palm survives). I have seen this palm withstand 125F heat without a problem, and snow. It grows great in tropical Florida, and here in the So Cal deserts. However, despite its potential claim as one of the hardiest of all the palms, it has its limitations, one which is it likes to die for no known reason. First of all, I have found that as a seedling It is a bit touchy and can be difficult to keep from rotting before it's fully established. It is a difficult plant to transplant young, too, and often tailspins once the roots are disturbed. Secondly, it can survive extreme cold as an older plant IF it stays relatively dry... snows in the middle east and subfreezing temperatures while humidity is near zero are no problems for it... but very cold temps far above zero farenhiet in humid climates tend to do it in. Rhapidophyllum has nothing to fear from this species in its claim as the hardiest of all palms!" (Geoff Stein)
"Note: it is quite hardy in terms of fire... seems to even stimulate rapid and healthy growth to have itself defoliate by flames." (Geoff Stein)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.
Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.