Trithrinax campestris

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Trithrinax (tree-TREE-naks) campestris (kahm-PEHS-trihs)
Tc1346.jpg
Argentina. Photo by M. Gibbons & T. Spanner/Palmtalk.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Trithrinax (tree-TREE-naks)
Species: campestris (kahm-PEHS-trihs)
Synonyms
None set.
Native Continent
America
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Morphology
Habit: Solitary & clustering
Leaf type: Palmate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
Thatch Palm, Blue Needle Palm, Caranday Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Trithrinax campestris is found in Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest,
Argentina. Photo by Ammon.
and Uruguay. Present in savannas, but extends also to the summits of mountain ranges of Sierras de Córdoba and Sierras de San Luis. It is a very rustic palm that grows in arid, well drained, rocky soils.

Description

A medium sized palm (up to 6 m tall) and 20–25 cm wide stems, usually covered by remains of earlier foliage that act as a thick protective coat. Caranday leaves are about 1 m long, palmate, rounded, with a very rigid and spiny petiole. The leaflet segments are rigid, dark green to a more blue hue, with light green undersides, leaflet tips are armed. These are possibly the toughest leaves among arecaceae. As habitat altitude increases the foliage becomes more grayish, this is typical of mountain carandays. Flowers compose highly branched inflorescences located at the base of the lower living leaves. These contain up to 100 white hermaphrodite flowers 10 to 12 mm wide. This palm flowers in autumn. Fruits ripen towards the end of the next summer. They consist of subspherical yellow brownish drupes, 1 to 2 cm wide, with a thin fleshy mesocarp and a fibrous endocarp. Caranday is monoecious. Its distinctive features are its compact shape, short green to grayish foliage, and trunk fully hidden by dry dead branches (coat) remaining from several previous seasons. Editing by edric.

Culture

Trithrinax campestris prefers well drained, sandy or rocky soils (although it is ignorant to extended persistent flooding). It is very resistant to drought, and -9°C/-15°C temperatures when not in growing season; else leaves are promptly discarded. It is one of the most cold-hardy palms in the world, this is because it also grows in the mountains of Sierras de Córdoba and Sierras de San Luis, it is known that specimens growing at those elevations tolerate special cold conditions. It has thrived as north as the British Isles. Seeds germinate quickly but later growth is mostly slow. This palms are naturally found in groups, formations of several individuals or composing largue caranday forests where they present strong dominance. Its main environmental threat is deforestation or natural fire, caranday thick dry stem coats are highly flammable. Prefers a drier climate, with moderately cold winters. Cold Hardiness Zone: 9a

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Comments and Curiosities

Uses: Leaves are rich in strong fiber, very resistant to tension. They are used to manufacture crafts as hats, shoes and fans. Whole leaves are cut and used as rudimentary brushes. Fruits are not eaten, however, an alcoholic beverage is prepared locally through their fermentation. Caranday palms are also appreciated and grown worldwide as an easy to keep, cold weather and drought resistant, ornamental small palm. It is besides a good honey-producing plant.


External Links

References

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.

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