| Veitchia (veet-KEE-ah) |
New Caledonia, photo by Ben
Habitat and DistributionVeitchia arecina is found in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu.
A very attractive, tall, solitary, pinnate palm with a slender grey trunk to 30 m high. It has a slender white crownshaft with black, gray and green speckling. Its long arching leaves have long green slightly drooping leaflets with serrated tips.
Montgomery Palm is one of the tall, slender, single-trunked, pinnate-leaved palms that can be challenging to differentiate. Like other species of Veitchia, its leaflet tips are not squared off broadly (as in the locally cultivated Ptychosperma species), and they do not taper to a sharp point as in Carpentaria, Howea, Archontophoenix, and others. In veitchias, the leaflet tips taper almost to a point but look like they were torn off just basal to the tip (premorse leaf Tip). Veitchia crownshafts are usually blue-waxy and often have dark - or less often light- colored scales toward the tops.
Stems: Solitary, slender, gray stems to 25 m tall and up to 28 cm in diameter, bulging at the base, with close rings of leaf scars. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, to 3 m long, with an arching rachis holding regularly arranged, drooping leaflets in a single plane. The crown shaft is 60-140 cm long, somewhat swollen at the base, pale green in color, covered with fine, silvery hairs and gray to brown/black scales at the apex. Leaflets are green above and below, lanceolate, with thick marginal ribs and prominent midribs. Leaflet tips are jaggedly toothed (somewhat praemorse). Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence is stiffly arching, to 1 m long and branched to three or four orders. Greenish to white male and female flowers are borne on the same inflorescence. The ovoid, red fruits are 2.5-5 cm long. (idtools.org) Editing by edric.
Field: Erect, solitary palms with close leaf scar rings on the slender gray stem; pale green crown shaft with blackish scales at the apex; leaves held mainly horizontally or higher; leaflets drooping and growing in a single plane.
Lab: Lines of tiny white scales covering the underside of the leaflets; obvious dark brown ramenta along the base of the midrib; marginal veins and midrib prominent.
It prefers a sunny, well drained position. It is very fast growing. Can tolerate mild frosts. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a
Comments and Curiosities
Etymology: The genus name commemorates British nurserymen James and John Veitch. Arecina - Latin, means “resembling an Areca”.
Common name Montgomery Palm, honors Col. R. H. Montgomery, friend of David Fairchild.
This Veitchia is widely cultivated and might hybridize with other species in landscape plantings. Similarities of palms in this genus make determination of species difficult. (idtools.org)
"My own personal experience with this particular species is failure in zone 9b.. just withers away over the years and then gets some nasty fungus and dies... but many southern Californians have good success with this palm in zone 10a... it's a nice looking ringed trunk palm with upright, premorse leaflets... Never looks great in So Cal, but some look OK. Best still in tropical areas, such as its native Vanuatu island where it grows up to 80' tall. I saw one in Miami that had to be nearly that tall... so obviously does well there." (Geoff Stein)
A very attractive and popular species from Vanuatu (New Hebrides) in the Southwest Pacific where it grows in moist forests. It is a very tall palm, with the slender trunk reaching 30 m (100 ft.) tall. It has a spreading crown on top of a slender crownshaft. The leaves are slightly arching and have spreading or slightly drooping leaflets. Veitchia arecina is a robust and extremely fast growing palm and adapts well to most garden situations in the tropics and warm subtropics. (RPS.com)
Landscape uses: This is the most-used Veitchia in South Florida. It is fast-growing, modest-sized, and useful to complement buildings or to place in clusters. Montgomery Palm is slightly susceptible to Lethal Yellowing, though FAI seems to downplay this concern. Germination in 2-3 months with bottom heat.
Rare in its natural habitat due to harvesting for its edible heart.
- 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.