Notes by Joerg Schumann on some lesser known palms
in the first of what will hopefully be a series of such articles.
by Joerg Schumann, Rohrsdorf, Germany firstname.lastname@example.org
Chamaerops No.38, Spring Edition 2000
Socratea exorrhiza, a beautiful, stilt-rooted
palm from South America
Palm Archives is a new feature of CHAMAEROPS.
Starting in this issue, some palms and other exotics will be presented
which are relatively unknown or unusual in cultivation. There is
little information about these plants in palm literature, and we
think they are worth a closer look. In the new CHAMAEROPS Palm Archives,
cold hardy palms are included as well as tropical palms and plants
from temperate zones.
Palm Archive No. 1 - Salacca zalacca
Never before have I seen a faster germinating and
growing palm! Some years ago I bought tropical fruits in the supermarket.
Among them were some mysterious fruits; they were a little bit smaller
than an apple with snakelike skin. They were offered as "Maracujas."
I know what a Maracuja looks like; this wasnt it. I was curious
about what would happen if I planted them, as in a German palm book
I saw a photo of these same fruits. According to the book, they
should be Salacca edulis, but I wasnt sure. Inside the fruits
were brownish seeds, about 2-3 cm, irregulary formed. After only
three days the first seeds germinated, and four weeks later the
first sprout appeared. After 6-8 weeks the first two-divided leaf
was complete; now it was clear that this was Salacca zalacca, formerly
known as Salacca edulis.
Salacca zalacca is widely grown in Southeast Asia,
especially for its fruits. Salacca zalacca doesn't develop a stem,
but the leaves can reach about 6m. Nearly all parts of the plants
are very spiny, except the leaf surfaces. The sprouts look like
a Calamus, and in truth both species are related. The leaves show
a waxy, glossy surface and are light to dark green and silvery beneath.
Even with the second leaf the plant can reach 30-40 cm, and the
first mature leaves come soon. The flowers and the fruits develop
directly over the ground. Salacca grows mostly in wet areas, so
they prefer regular watering and higher humidity. Semi-shade to
shade is best for growing these palms; protect them from full sun.
Salacca also grows indoors, when given enough humidity.
Salacca zalacca belongs to Calamoidae, so there is
a relation to Calamus, Raphia, Metroxylon, Plectocomia, Mauritia
and others. Have a look at the seeds, and you will note this. Another
characteristic feature are the spines, which we know from the Rattan
palms like Calamus, Plectocomia and Daemonorrhops. In my opinion
this palm is worth trying for indoor cultivation, as they are fast
growing and adaptable to these conditions. For further information
send me an e-mail at email@example.com
Palm Archive No. 2 - Socratea exorrhiza
This palm is well known as the stilt root palm,
but there are many palms developing stilt roots, like Wettinia,
Iriartea, Dictyocaryum, and many more. Socratea, however, develops
the most impressive stilt roots; sometimes they are so high that
you can walk through them! But these stilt roots are only one characteristic
feature of the genus, which includes 5 different species. The name
"Socratea" was taken from the Greek philosopher Socrates.
Socratea exorrhiza is the most widespread species;
its habitat is from Nicaragua to nearly all parts of South America.
This species grows up to 1000 m, but mostly on the lowlands. If
anyone has seen this plant at maturity, you may understand my enthusiasm.
There are the dark brown, spiny roots, and, much more impressive,
the fantastic crown. The leaflets are arranged in different planes
and also divided in segments, so the leaves look plumose.
Socratea exorrhiza is a single stemmed species and
grows up to 20m, but mostly up to 12m. The ripe fruits are yellowish,
round to ovoid, and about 3x2cm. They grow best in semi-shade to
bright conditions, but protect them from full sun. Also, these plants
enjoy plenty of water and higher humidity. I know some guys who
have been growing this palm for many years in an east-facing window,
so these species seem very adaptable for indoor cultivation as well.
Growing palms of this species is easy when the seeds
are fresh. For many years Ive had high-quality seeds from
Toby Spanner, with very good germination rates. At first there is
a well root growing, and after this, a red-brown sprout up to 10
cm develops. The first two-divided leaves develop soon after. Any
questions about this really beautiful palm? Please contact me via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
17-09-21 - 07:12GMT
|| What's New?
|| New palm book
| Date: 24-05-2004
of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
|| New: Issue 48
| Date: 24-05-2004
has been published in the Members Area.
|| Archive complete!
| Date: 03-12-2002
| All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive:
More than 350 articles are on-line!
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| Date: 28-08-2002
| Chamaerops mags 13,
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|| Book List
| Date: 28-05-2001
a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
|| New Book
| Date: 25-01-2001
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...