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Trachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei
Trachycarpus fortunei

Thank you to Eric La Fountaine of the gardens here at UBC for both today's photographs and text!

This Asian palm has a long history of cultivation in China and Japan as a source of fiber. Tolerant of cool summers and considered the hardiest of palms, it has become a popular landscape plant in maritime areas of British Columbia. Gardeners have successfully grown the tree as far north as the Alaska panhandle and Scotland.

A December sunset made the golden stems stand out in contrast to the lovely green fruit in this view. This plant was previously featured on BPotD in bloom (May 05, 2005) and as an abstract (December 18, 2006).

A group of Trachycarpus fortunei have survived outdoors in the ground in Plovdiv, Bulgaria since 1973. They are reported to have withstood temperatures as low as -27C (see: The Polar Palms of Bulgaria).


Oops! Wrong link for the 12/18/06 entry - but I found it, anyway! http://bauble.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/2006/12/trachycarpus_fortunei.php#001850

Thanks, Deb, fixed.

No wonder it has weed potential. I have 20 or so seedlings weeded from a friends garden ( from bird dropped seed) (Canberra, Australia Zone 9B?) Still, I'm not going to consign them to the bonfire, just marvellous plants.

Any classical language scholars who can let us know the etymology of Trachycarpus?

Trachea- rough
Carpus- wrist

Curiouser and curiouser...

Trachycarpus from Greek trachys, rough and karpos, fruit. Doesn't seem that rough to me though?

I love the picture on The Polar Palms of Bulgaria site of the palms almost completely buried in snow. Twice in my life I've seen snow dusting the various palm species in my neighborhood here in coastal San Diego County, but that always melted by the end of the day and did no damage. To see palms in 10-15 feet of snow, and know they survived, is just amazing.

These fruit/seed will ripen to a dark purple to dark brown in late winter, early spring on the female of the Trachycarpus forunei. No special seed preperation is required and these germinate rather easily at room temperature in a slightly moist peat based mix.

Cheers, Barrie (LPN)

"From Greek trachys, rough, and karpos, a fruit--the fruits of some species are roughly felted with hairs"


The photographs are wonderful. I have a Tracycarpus which has been in a pot in the back garden for some 5-6 years and is growing well except this year the leaves look very yellow. Is the problem from wind exposure or water?

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