"Paul, The Palm Doctor!"
South Florida's ONLY Certified Tropical Plants' Dietitian┬«
Florida Department of Agriculture License # LC118181   Renewal & Re-Certification Every June.

CELL: (954) 249-5287     E-MAIL: flapalmdoctor@bellsouth.net


May, 2002 Palm of the Month:

Brahea armata
Blue Hesper Palm

brah_ar1. One of the prominent palms of the California desert region is Brahea armata: the Blue Hesper Palm!   Your Palm Doctor, living in sticky South Florida, cannot do anything but dream about owning one, as they dislike this area's heat, rain, and humidity.  I will wistfully long for one, but know that I best just plan on enjoying the Brahea species of my frequent trips West!

The Blue Hesper prospers in Southern California & Arizona, where even though its rate of growth is quite slow, it is justly acclaimed for its show-stopping canopy of ice-blue leaves and long inflorescence pannicles.  As I mentioned above, in moist subtropical or tropical regions (like mine!), this palm grows poorly and it is unfortunately short-lived.  My best hope would be to grow it in a refrigerated, humidity-controlled greenhouse, I would venture!   In Los Angeles, magnificent specimens can be seen in full splendour at Huntington Botanical Garden.

brahea_armata2.jpg (64698 bytes)Some Characteristics of Brahea armata (Blue Hesper Palms):

Its salt tolerance is Moderate
Drought tolerance is High (as you would suspect of a arid region native palm)
Soil Requirements:  Alkaline soil is to Brahea's liking!
Light Requirement is HIGH!
Nutritional Requirements:  Very LOW
Human Hazards:  It is rather spiny...Ouch!
Pest Problems: Palmetto weevils
Disease Problems: Phytophthora root & bud rots (moisture exacerbates these two!)

Habit: Solitary palm with a canopy of nearly 60 leaves
Foliage Colour: "Icy" Blue-green & very waxy.  Size: About 6 to 8 ft. wide, and segmented 3 to 4 ft. long!!
Crownshaft: None
Fruit size & colour: one inch long yellow fruit with brown stripes
Flower Colour: Yellow
Gender: Bisexual flowers on 15' long inflorescences, extending far beyong the palm's leaves.  Very striking, indeed!

Brahea armataThis is a wonderful and tantalizingly beautiful palm, that is Baja California's "gift" to the palm-lovers' world.  It rightly deserves May, 2002's Palm of the Month!


Paul,"The Palm Doctor!