| Trachycarpus |
Manipur, India. Photo-panglobalplants.com
Habitat and DistributionAssam, Nagaland, Naga Hills near Mount Saramati, Burma, Myanmar, Manipur, India.
"The most resent Trachycarpus discovery is surely the most interesting one yet. Re-named as Trachycarpus ukhrulensis from Trachycarpus sp. Manipur. It is possibly the same palm that Frank Kingdon Ward wrote about in his 1952 book Plant Hunter in Manipur. The palm was rediscovered along the Himalayan ranges of Burma in Manipur. Growing to the height of 50ft tall with a clean hairless trunk 12 inches in diameter. Producing 24-28 3 foot palmate leaves on 2 foot long thorny petioles. Each leaf having 68-71 segments. The underside of the leaf is a stunning powdery white and dark green above. Mature fruits ripen to orange/yellow." (trebrown.com) Editing by edric.
"This New Trachycarpus sp. (Manipur) of palm found in the Himalayan ranges of Burma boundary at the beginning in Manipur comes up with the height of 50ft tall and naked. The measurement of its starting little bit up from the mud is 2ft and the middle portion is 1ft 10" inch and ultimately the top portion taking its dead leaves measures up to 3ft. This is a cold hardy palm and grows full straight. The quantity of the leaves available on this palm is 24-28 and the linear segment of each leaf is count to 68-71. Keeping the leaves straight, its horizontal measurement from one point of the linear segment to the other point is 3-1/2ft. The length of the stem is 2-1/2ft. and its bottom breadth measuring from its growing area is 2-1/2 inches and the upper breadth from where the leaves starts growing is 1 inch moreover the stem is covered with small thrones which is unharmful. The downside portion of the leave is fully powdery white and its upside is fully green. The new form of leaf in the blooming time consists, type of white powder in maximum. (Haripada Roy)
"The climatic condition of this palm is extremely cold with frost environment in the winter season and more in the month of December in the morning time. During the time of summer the rainfall is heavy and in winter it is cold, the altitude at which it is found is 4000-6000 ft. This variety of palm grows on highly slopped areas of dry ground and too they are available in the middle of wild forests. Soils like hard stone are found in maximum, limestone and sandstone are available in minimum amount with brown mud. In the mid of February the palm starts bearing flowers which matures gradually with fruits on it. The palm that gives good quality of seeds has the seeds bunch of 4-5 and it is seen that some of the palm that starts giving seeds is from 10 ft on-wards. From the last week of November the seeds gets starts ripening. The seeds of this palm are black in color, bean shaped and are eaten by small insects due to its sweetness. Beside this, palm seeds flora of this palm, fully blooming time is from midweek of the March on-wards." (The climatic condition of this palm is extremely cold with frost environment in the winter season and more in the month of December in the morning time. During the time of summer the rainfall is heavy and in winter it is cold, the altitude at which it is found is 4000-6000 ft. This variety of palm grows on highly slopped areas of dry ground and too they are available in the middle of wild forests. Soils like hard stone are found in maximum, limestone and sandstone are available in minimum amount with brown mud. In the mid of February the palm starts bearing flowers which matures gradually with fruits on it. The palm that gives good quality of seeds has the seeds bunch of 4-5 and it is seen that some of the palm that starts giving seeds is from 10 ft on-wards. From the last week of November the seeds gets starts ripening. The seeds of this palm are black in color, bean shaped and are eaten by small insects due to its sweetness. Beside this, palm seeds flora of this palm, fully blooming time is from midweek of the March on-wards. (Haripada Roy)
Cold Hardiness Zone: 8b
Comments and Curiosities
Phenology: Flowering starts in mid February, with the first ripe fruits in the last week of November.
"This exciting new Trachycarpus species has only recently been discovered growing at high altitude on the Himalayan arch near to the border of Burma with Manipur and Nagaland, India. At least 7 distinct populations are growing in a remote area where access is almost impossible for westerners. The Trachycarpus sp. 'Manipur' is also known as Trachycarpus sp. Naga hills and Trachycarpus sp. ukrhulensis, and grows to heights of up to 15 metre (45 feet) tall with a straight, bare trunk. Its closest relations are Trachycarpus princeps, Trachycarpus takil and Trachycarpus oreophilus. As a young plant it displays an extreme creeping habit and has distinctive thick glaucous leaves on elongated petioles. The white backs to the leaves manifest themselves as the mature leaves develop. Trachycarpus sp. 'Manipur' is extremely frost hardy and is larger than Trachycarpus fortunei. It has impressive white undersides to the leaves and looks set to be one of the best palms for the future." (Herbert Riphagen)
A very exciting new discovery that comes from the most remote corner of India, the northeastern states of Nagaland and Manipur and from neighboring Burma, where it grows on grassy or rocky slopes to around 2000 m (6500 ft.) in altitude. It is likely that this is the same palm that Frank Kingdon Ward wrote about in his 1952 book Plant Hunter in Manipur: "I had hoped to get an uninterrupted view into Burma from the top, besides a close-up of the palm trees, which were almost the only trees growing on the naked sandstone. They grew isolated or in small clumps and rows, stiffly, often leaning far over the edge, and had a curiously unfinished appearance, as though they had been left over and forgotten from an earlier geological age". While the palm apparently shares some characteristics with the Chinese Trachycarpus princeps, it is certainly not identical with that species. Its leaflets are more numerous and not as white below, the petioles more sturdy and not blue, and overall it is coarser than T. princeps. Even though it has recently been described as a new species, T. ukhrulensis, its features are poorly distinguishable from those of T. oreophilus from Thailand, and the two are likely one and the same species. It is a very promising and quite cold tolerant though slow growing palm. (RPS.com)
Trachycarpus ukhrulensis grows well in coastal full sun, or in part shade. It needs medium water and well drained soil, preferring more water with heat, and less in cool weather. It likes neutral to slightly acid loamy soil, does not need fertilizer, but it is faster with it. It is slow growing, and will probably have a good ability to handle dry heat. Being more finicky than most other trachys, they have had bud rot in some cool wet conditions when small. They send down a deep root structure, so transplant into a tall pot until they are planted in the ground The longer roots make it not as easy to transplant as most trachys. They appear to be quite cold-hardy; it withstood down to 5°F in Holland. We need more information from experiences of many growers before we can come to a firm conclusion about low tolerance or any of the growing conditions. (The Palm Journal #194)
It is distinguishable from Trachycarpus princeps by its much more robust stature and coarser appearance.
Trachycarpus ukhrulensis had the interim names T. sp. ‘Manipur’ and T. sp. ‘Naga Hills’ before it was officially described. Its common name is Saramati palm. It is from the extreme eastern part of northern India, in Ukhrul District (hence the botanical name), in the Naga Hills area of Manipur State (hence the two interim names). This is right next to the border of Burma (Myanmar). Growing straight, 30 to 50 feet tall, it is topped with an eight-foot wide crown. Its 12-inch diameter trunk can be clean and bare on the older parts, or it can have a turtle-back pattern. This interesting pattern is made from extremely dense persistent leaf bases that are mostly clear of fibers. They are very broad, short and asymmetrically triangular. Further up the trunk they are covered with coarse fibers that are much like those of T. martianus; the fibers form a weave, not a shaggy look. In cultivation, it can lean as a young plant creating a curve at the base of the trunk when it gets older. The 4-foot leaves have a thick texture, and a darker green color on their top surface than any other trachy, with very white, powdery undersides. This has been especially noted with seedlings labeled T. sp. ‘Manipur’, but all have varying amounts of glaucous The species has 16-inch petioles in habitat, but in cultivation they have grown to 30 inches long. They have harmless spines, and are 0.6 to 1 inch wide in the middle and 2 to 2.5 inches wide by the trunk. It holds 6 to 12 leaves when in exposed windy locations in habitat, but up to 28 in protected areas, with 64 to 70 segments. It tends to start flowering after it is 10 feet tall. The ripe fruit is yellow, but then becomes blackish-brown when older with a reniform (kidney-shaped) seed. The seedlings have two ridges on the first leaves. Seed has been exported since 2004 (as “Trachycarpus sp. Manipur” or “T. sp. Naga Hills”). In 2006, Michael Lorek and K. C. Pradhan validly published it as a new species. Already there is dispute over whether it should be considered as an accepted species. Spanner thinks it should be considered synonymous with T. oreophilus However, Kew has it listed as a valid and accepted species on its web-site. Kembrey thinks it should be accepted since he has field grown both species side by side and found them to look distinctly different Stührk has it listing as a species in his DNA study, which showed that T. ukhrulensis is as closely related to T. takil as it is to T. oreophilus. Lorrek found T. ukhrulensis most closely related to T. takil, and listed the differences that make T. ukhrulensis distinguished as a separate species: the number of leaf segments, color of the fruit flesh (pulp color phases), and the longer ligules. These same distinctions differentiate it from T. oreophilus. Additionally, on a large number of trees T. ukhrulensis has the persistent leaf-bases with no fibers making that unusual T. ukhrulensis has the persistent leaf-bases with no fibers making that unusual "turtle-back pattern”. Also, according to Mike Papay, the inflorescence hangs down more on T. ukhrulensis, than on T. oreophilus. T. ukhrulensis has whiter undersides than any other trachy besides T. princeps, but Lorek does not consider it a determining factor. The whitish underside is a variable trait and can be found, more or less, in all species of the genus. Trachycarpus takil, also in India, is the next reniform-seed trachy to the west of T. ukhrulensis, and to its east is T. oreophilus in Thailand, with Myanmar in between. Because Myanmar’s borders are virtually inaccesable it is unconfirmed, but Spanner suspects that T. oreophilus may grow across that country reaching over to T. ukhrulensis on the Indian side, making it more likely to be two climatic variations of one species Lorek explained that between Thailand and the area of Myanmar near Manipur, there is a great plain — a huge, hot tropical barrier where trachys would not grow. He has given plenty of distinctions to qualify T. ukhrulensis as an accepted species. However, in a future date, if stands of the missing link between T. ukhrulensis and T. oreophilus are found, and if they show transitional characteristics, then lumping could be justified. It would be unfortunate since Lorek has expressed that if that happens then the same logic could lump both into T. takil, and that would prove disastrous for the conservation of endangered T. takil Trachycarpus ukhrulensis occurs at 4000 to 6000 feet elevation. Growing on limestone or sand-stone steep rocky hills, it has very poor soil quality with low levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. The soil layer is thin, slightly acidic (6 to 6.5 pH) sandy clay with many small hard rocks. Being in open grassland areas of temperate evergreen forests (Fig. 88), the plants are in full sun with temperatures up to 100°F. They receive rain during their six to eight warm, or hot, months of the year. The remaining cool, to cold, months are rather dry, with a few occasional cold rains passing through. Their habitat normally goes down to 30°F, sometimes less. (The Palm Journal #194)
- 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.