En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 24, 2010

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Palm trees turning orange in Miami
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Why are my palm trees turning orange?

ANSWER:

There are currently about 202 known genera of palms and 2600 species worldwide, so we don't know exactly what you have. We know of 7 native to North America, although many people who have questioned us about damage to their palms turned out to be referring to Sago Palms, which are not palms but cycads, and not native to North America. 

With the very bad winter in many parts of the United States, we have been blaming discoloration of palms on unexpected cold; perhaps they were planted out of their normal habitat or in an area that got too cold during one of the storms. It seems to us that palms should be okay, in terms of climate, in the Miami area. We looked a little further, and found out there is a palm disease called "Lethal Yellowing." Now, we understand you described the discoloration on your palms as orange, but maybe "lethal yellowing" sounds better than "lethal oranging." Anyway, this University of Florida Extension article on Lethal Yellowing of Palms describes how the palms are infected, and what is going on as far as control. 

Beyond that, we are a little at a loss, since so few of the palms grown in North America are native, and we are all about plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. We found several websites that might yield more information for you, particularly if you are able to identify the genus and species of the plants you have.

The International Palm Society

Palm and Cycad Society of Florida

Central Florida Palm and Cycad Society

Here is a list of the plants with the name "palm" in their common name that are native to North America. Perhaps you will find your palm in these, and can search the Internet on that specific name for better information.

Acoelorraphe wrightii (Everglades palm)

Coccothrinax argentata (Florida silver palm)

Rhapidophyllum hystrix (needle palm)

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)

Sabal palmetto (cabbage palmetto)

Serenoa repens (saw palmetto)

Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm)

Pictures of Acoelorraphe wrightii (Everglades palm) from Google 

Pictures of Coccothrinax argentata (Florida silver palm) from Google

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 


Rhapidophyllum hystrix

Sabal minor

Sabal palmetto

Serenoa repens

Washingtonia filifera

 

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Discouraging rabbit snacking in the garden in Pearland TX
May 07, 2010 - I planted winecups and pink evening primrose in my new landscape beds amongst other native grasses and shrubs. Rabbits have been eating these wildflowers down to the ground. I want to attract wildli...
view the full question and answer

American Beech with Brown Leaves
August 06, 2015 - I have a North American beech tree in Oregon. Its leaves started out with big brown spots on the leaves and is pretty much turning all the leaves on the tree brown. What could be causing this and wha...
view the full question and answer

Stressed live oaks from Lakeway TX
August 19, 2013 - I have some Live Oaks who appear to be stressed (Ball Moss is becoming very prevalent on some of them) during the drought in Central TX. How often and how long should I water them? Thank you very much...
view the full question and answer

Moth using Agarita as its larval food in New Braunfels, TX
March 27, 2009 - What moth uses agarita as its larval food? It is a perennial problem that can nearly defoliate the specimen and severely limit its flower production.
view the full question and answer

Western soapberry dropping leaves in San Antonio
June 03, 2013 - My Western Soapberry tree (China berry?) Suddenly started dropping full, perfectly healthy green, leaf units. Now half the tree is turning yellow. There is a second tree in the yard not far from this ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center