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Mr. Smarty Plants - Which native palms survived severe cold from Las Cruces NM

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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

Mexican palm
Sabal mexicana

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