Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Sunday - June 12, 2011

From: Las Cruces, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Which native palms survived severe cold from Las Cruces NM
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you tell me which of the north American native palms survived the severe cold last year that hit El Paso and Las Cruces?

ANSWER:

We are sorry, there are no such statistics available to us. That would require knocking on doors, asking if they ever had certain palms, and did they freeze? The fact that palms are frequently damaged or killed by freezing weather is an outstanding argument for our contention that plants should be native to the area in which they are being grown. Both El Paso and Las Cruces are in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b; we will try to find out the hardiness zones of these palms, and also something about their growing conditions.

There are 8 palms or palmettos (both in Areaceae or Palm family) native to North America:

Coccothrinax argentata (Florida silver palm) - endemic to Florida, 4 counties in southern tip, Zones 9b to 11, likes warm, humid climate.

Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle palm) - native to Southeast, native habitat wet, grows natively from South Carolina to Alabama, Zones 8 to 10

Roystonea elata (Florida royal palm) - endemic to South Florida, 4 counties in southern tip, native to cypress swamps, Zones 10 to 11

Sabal mexicana (Mexican palm) - endemic to Texas, along Rio Grande River, Zones 8 to 11

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) - likes damp, shaded places, native to Texas, Oklahoma and several southeastern states, especially cold hardy, has been know to grow as far north as Zone 7

Sabal palmetto (Cabbage palmetto) - Florida and southeast, not known to occur naturally over 75 miles from coast.

Serenoa repens (Saw palmetto) - Texas to southeast states, hardy Zones 8 to 10

Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm) - Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida, moist, alkaline soils, Zones 8b to 11

It would appear, if you can satisfy their moist soil needs, that Sabal mexicana (Mexican palm), Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)Serenoa repens (Saw palmetto) and Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm) could all withstand cold temperatures in Las Cruces and El Paso.

 

From the Image Gallery


Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Saw palmetto
Serenoa repens

California fan palm
Washingtonia filifera

Texas palm
Sabal mexicana

More Trees Questions

Plants for north side from Dale TX
February 10, 2012 - What native trees and bushes can I plant on the north side of house? Can I use corn meal( I NEED FIGHT A GRASS) in flowerbed and then plant native wildlife seeds(FLOWERS)?
view the full question and answer

Native Texas tree for anniversary in Austin
May 20, 2009 - My husband and I would like to plant a tree in our yard commemorating our 5 year anniversary (wood anniversary). What native Texas tree can we plant in June? I love Red buds and any pretty blooming ...
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screening Plant for New York Narrow Site
April 20, 2013 - I need privacy screening on the side of my house in Mount Kisco, New York located 40 miles north of New York City. The area gets plenty of sun but is somewhat narrow. What evergreen bushes or trees ...
view the full question and answer

Does Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) have agressive roots?
November 30, 2014 - Hello, Do you know if the Huisache tree has an aggressive root system? I have a few in proximity to my septic draining field and I need to know if I should cut them down to prevent clogging of t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.