January 16, 2015

Talipot Palm flowering progress

Talipot Palm at Pinecrest Gardens
1 month after flower stem initiation
photo courtesy of Craig Morell

One month after we saw the flower stem of our magnificent Talipot Palm emerge from the crown, the inflorescence has grown to an impressive 12 feet tall, and is growing quickly each week. Just visible in this photograph is the emergence of the first sets of small white flowers. It is likely that within a month most of the flowers will be open, and the real show will begin. Once the flowering stem completes its flower production of thousands of flowers, we will wait for seeds to develop. There is potential for the palm to "set" hundreds and possibly thousands of seeds, each the size of a golf ball.
Seeing a Talipot Palm through the flowering cycle is both exciting and saddening, since this venerable tree has been such a big part of our landscape for over 50 years. The southern part of Florida is the only place in the United States where Talipot Palms can be grown outdoors, and there have only been a small number of Talipot Palms which have flowered in the last century, perhaps as few as 10 incidents. 
One of the other questions that would weigh on the mind of any public garden horticulturist is what to do with several thousand Talipot Palm seeds ????  This may become quite problematic, since South Florida is the only  small area in the USA where the palm can grow, hence there are rather few gardeners in the country who have the land space to grow this enormous palm. I will continue to document the progress of this remarkable event, month by month, until the grand palm has perished, having spent its last energy on seed production.      
Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens