Bismarckia nobilis: Bismarck palm

Family: Arecaceae
Common name: Bismarck palm

There are a wide variety of palm trees, many of them looking very similar to one another; but the Bismarck palm is distinguished by its large silver-colored leaves. Bismarck palms can grow to a height of 50 meters with a large crown of about 7 meters.

It’s not the plant for a tiny balcony garden or a corner of your garden. They are large, majestic and quite a sight; taking up a sizeable area of your garden. Bismarck palms are good center-pieces for your garden, but make sure you give them enough space around. They are slow-growing trees in the initial stages, until they form a trunk, after which they grow reasonably fast.

Their trunks are gray in color, about 30-45 cms in diameter, with small indentations where the old leaves fell out. Leaves are fan-shaped, about 3 meters wide; with 40-50 leaflets having a single origami-like fold at the center. They grow on strong, wide stalks that are light green with a dusting of white waxy material towards the base.

Dead leaves will fall off by themselves, or can be cut very close to the trunk, if you want the palm to look beautiful. Bismarck palms produce either male or female flowers, not both on the same palm. The female flowers after pollination produce small rounded brown fruits containing a single seed.

Bismarck palms like warm weather; and cannot handle extreme cold conditions. They like full sunlight, and grow well in tropical weather.

Young palms should be watered regularly, and placed in a well-drained soil. But once the plant are mature enough, they are quite drought-resistant and can go long periods without any water. They are susceptible to attack from beetles, root rot, mineral deficiencies and fungal infections.

Propagation is from seeds, though they take 6-12 months to germinate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *