The plant of the month for April is Syagrus.

The Syagrus genus occurs naturally in South America and can be found from the north of Venezuela and Colombia all the way down to the south of Argentina and Brazil. It comprises 32 varieties of palms with featherlike leaves.

Some have one trunk, some several and there are even trunkless varieties. The name Syagrus comes from the Latin for ‘palm’.

Syagrus Romanzoffianum – Queen Palm (Cocos plumosa – Arecastrum romanzoffianum)

Palms are known as the ‘queens’ of the plant world and Syagrus romanzoffianum is the queen of them all.

This Queen Palm can be found in the forests of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and northern Argentina. It has a straight, grey trunk 20 – 40cm wide rising to a height of 15 metres, and it has been known to reach 20 metres. It has pinnate leaves and produces cream flowers followed by clusters of fruit, 20 – 25mm long, which are initially green then turn orange as they ripen. These contain prodigious amounts of seed.

The tree is hermaphroditic and only one tree is needed to produce seed. It gets the name ‘romanzoffianum’ from Nicholas Romanzoff, a Russian prince who financed the plant hunting expedition which led to its discovery.

Syagrus romanzoffianum can stand hot sun and will also grow in shade. If very well fertilised, its trunk will widen and its leaves also become broader and greener.

It grows well between high buildings in a position where it gets much light. In general it prefers a slightly acid soil, but it will eventually acclimatise in other soils. In an alkaline environment, due to lack of manganese, its leaves may seem looser and may even look wavey.

The Queen Palm is the palm most commonly planted in Florida. For the past 20 years it has been imported into Turkey where it was first reared from seed at the Palm Centre.

At the Centre in 2009 we planted seeds from a 15-year-old 6 – 7 metres in height Syagrus romanzoffianum.

Despite the fact that the Queen Palm has tropical origins it can withstand cold better than you might think.

At the Palm Centre it has been exposed to cold down to -6 degrees C and, apart from a slight yellowing on the edges of leaves, it was not damaged in any other way.

In landscaping it can be used as a single, architectural plant which gives an instant tropical flavour, or it can be used in groups, and works when planted around or between high buildings, in parks and gardens, on broad streets, by the side of a swimming pool or as edging along paths.

Large Queen Palms give welcome shade and always add an exotic note wherever they are planted. From an architect’s point of view they are ideal for delineating any open space and, as previously stated, they work especially well when planted between large buildings.

The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz

For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.

It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.

Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.

Just ring or email (English is spoken):

E-mail: : palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr

Tel : +90 252 262 28 92

Fax : +90 252 262 51 61

Website : http://www.palmiyemerkezi.com

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