| Lytocaryum (ligh-toh-KAR-yuhm)
Hawaii. Garden of Bill Austin. Photo by Geoff Stein.
Habitat and DistributionBrazil - São Paulo, on the Atlantic plateau.
Solitary, pinnate palm, closely ringed and retain leaf sheaths at the top of the stem. The trunks reach 15 cm in diameter to 5 m (16 ft.) in height, but are usually just half that in cultivation. The spherical leaf crown consists of numerous pinnate leaves to 75 cm long on hairy, 30 cm petioles. The pinnae are 12 cm long, closely and regularly arranged along the rachis, in the same plane, green on top with gray, glaucous undersides. The inflorescence is interfoliar and once branched, covered in brown hair, monoecious (flowers of both sexes). The female flowers are twice as big as the male's, both with three sepals and three petals. The fruit is globose to ellipsoidal, pink to red, with one seed. Editing by edric.
I have grown this palm in San Jose, CA for nearly 6 years and no matter how low the temperature has been, close to 24F one year, not even a spot. One plant grows up against the house, (too close). Never any damage. Two other plants grow well away from the house under 50% shade cloth and never is there even a spot on them in the winter. Any new ones I get will be placed in higher light conditions as I think they want more light then I'm giving them. I saw a nearly full grown specimine on the Island of Maui and it was in near full sun and it was beautiful. (SanJoseDaveforPalms)
Comments and Curiosities
Etymology:The genus name is Greek for "loose" and "nut". The specific ephitaph named after Brazilian botanist of the 20th century, Frederick C. Hoehne (1882-1959).
Endemic to Brazil, where a total of four species are known. Palms once classified as Microcoelum are herein included; the genus is closely related to Syagrus, from which it is differentiated only by abundant tomentum, strongly versatile anthers, and slight epicarp, mesocarp, and endocarp differences. Both species are solitary trunked,
L. weddellianum is a commonly potted plant throughout Europe which may save it from extinction, but L. hoehnei is essentially unknown in cultivation. The former demands shade and rich, friable, quickly draining soil with some acidity; the latter would likely require the same if cultivated.
This slightly larger and more robust cousin of the popular Lytocaryum weddellianum is native to montane forests in São Paulo State in Brazil. It has a slender trunk that can reach about 5 m (16 ft.) tall, topped by a crown of elegant, feathery leaves. The leaflets are distinclty wider than in L. weddellianum and the seeds have a harder shell, more like a Syagrus. It is highly threatened with extinction by destruction of its forest habitat and even in cultivation it is extremely rare, apart from a handful of plants in a few enthusiasts' collections. L. hoehnei does best in mild, humid subtropical or cool subtropical climates. (RPS.com)
"This is a lesser known palm in this genus. This is a wonderful and tough little palm for being so tropical looking. It actually can end up not so little, being able to get as tall as 15 feet in height. Jeff in Modesto has one of these and it even bloomed the Winter before last. Maybe he can post a picture. This palm did fine through the chilly Central Valley Winters. I have several of these and they seem to not only grow well in cooler weather, but they can take quite a bit of drought. I've had pots dry out completely with no harm done to this palm. I would almost call it a mini-parajubaea, as the leaflet undersides are white like a parajubaea or a ceroxylon." (Dr. Axel Kratel)
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.