Thrinax morissii

(page 2)

The inflorescences arch out beyond the leaves and carry insignificant, small white flowers and, eventually, very small, white fruits, only a few millimetres in diameter. Thrinax is hermaphroditic (the flowers have both male and female organs) and accordingly. a single tree can produce viable fruits. As a genus, Thrinax is closely related to Zombia, a clustering palm which is easily distinguished by its spiny leafsheath fibres, and Coccothrinax, both native to the Caribbean. It is often confused with Coccothrinax but can be easily identified by its split petiole bases, white fruits (purple to black in Coccothrinax) and smooth seeds (grooved in Coccothrinax).

In cultivation, Thrinax morrisii is by no means common and will probably never become a commercial subject. It is easily propagated by seed which germinates after a few weeks but seedlings are very small initially and grow rather slowly. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful and exceedingly robust plant, well worth growing as an ornamental in warm temperate to tropical climates and a particularly good choice for seaside plantings. It is successful in any area with sufficiently warm summers and mild winters and will resist brief frosts down to -5ūC undamaged, making it hardier than any other species in the genus and most of its close relatives.

It can grow in a wide range of soil types as long as they are well drained, tolerating even very poor and saline or highly alkaline soils, arid stands lip well to coastal conditions with high winds, salt spray and drought. When planting. choose a place in full sun with buoyant air movement for best results. All you need do now is wait. For those not blessed with a suitable climate, it will also, like many plants from coastal areas, make a very good house plant for a brightly lit spot, tolerant of dry air, temperature fluctuations and a considerable amount of neglect, and is hardly ever bothered by pests.

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