Wallichia densiflora

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Wallichia (wahl-lik-EE-ah)
densiflora (den-sih-FLOR-ah)
Los Altos, California. Photo by Jim Denz.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Wallichia (wahl-lik-EE-ah)
densiflora (den-sih-FLOR-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Wallich's Dwarf Fishtail Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Wallichia densiflora is found in North India, Himalayas. Found in humid
St. Pete FL. Photo by Mike Evans.
forests in China, Yunnan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh (Gharwal Himalaya) where it grows up to elevations of 1600 m.


Hight, up to 18 feet tall (6 m). Spread, to 12 ft. Clustering and acaulescent. Flower stalk coming from among the leaves. Leaves are dark green, and arching, are bright silvery-white underneath and divided into fishtail-like leaflets. Fruit, 0.5 inch in diameter (1.2 cm) ovoid, seed round. Editing by edric.


Min. Temperature: 25°F (-4°C). Water Requirements: Abundant water. Sun Requirements: Light shade to shade. Germination: difficult and irregular.

Cold Hardiness Zone: 9b

Comments and Curiosities

This is a hapaxanthic (monocarpic is for annuals & biennials) genus.

"It is a great shade garden palm for So Cal, for those gardens with ample room. W densiflora is a suckering palm with a very short trunk (mostly subterranean) but with long leaves (up to 8' or more) and lime green, fish-tail shape leaflets along the petioles. The underside of the leaflets has a mild white tomentum. It is a reliable grower if given enough water (hard to overwater this one) and pretty cold tolerant (probably down to about 25F). It's pretty slow, so if you start out with a dinky seedling, it will be dinky for many years. This is a native of the lower Himalayan mountains." (Geoff Stein)

This wonderful rare dwarf palm from the humid forests of the Himalayas, where it grows up to an altitude of at least 1600 m (5200 ft), deserves to be much more widely grown. Its elegantly arching fronds are dark green above and bright silvery white below, and the leaflets resemble a fishtail. Although slow at the beginning, it speeds up considerably with age and develops into neat clusters to about 2 m tall. It is best grown in shade and suitable for subtropical and temperate climates. It will take prolonged cool weather and can tolerate moderate frosts without damage. W. densiflora also does perfectly as a house or conservatory plant and will look good even under less than optimum conditions. (RPS.com)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos, edric.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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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