En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Mexican palm
Sabal mexicana

More Trees Questions

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for privacy screen in Richmond, VA
February 27, 2013 - Hello, I read through the previous posts on privacy screen plantings in the Mid Atlantic region. There was a lot of great information, but I has a specific question that was not answered. I would li...
view the full question and answer

Information about Lemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)
December 16, 2007 - Lately, I've been seeing references to a tree/shrub called a "lemon cypress tree". It looks like a standard Italian cypress, but the foilage is yellow. I cannot find any reference to this plant e...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy screen in Northern California
October 19, 2012 - Hello, My neighbor just logged their property and we need a very quick growing evergreen shrub/tree (for privacy of ugly cabin) that grows to at least 10' -15' tall. We live in northern Cal. about ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center