Trachycarpus H. Wendl.

From the Greek trachys – rough, carpos – fruit.

Solitary or clustering spineless palms. Trunks with coarse interlaced fibres over the whole surface or just below the crown. Crownshaft absent. Leaves fan-shaped, deeply divided. Leaflets stiff, spreading, the tips slightly cut, downfolded. Leaf stalk margins smooth or with extremely fine teeth. Flowers usually unisexual, the sexes generally on different plants, occasionally unisexual or bisexual on the same plant. Panicles densely flowered, arising among the leaves. Fruit round or ovoid to kidneyshaped, dull, with a hard shell-like covering, 1 seeded.

A small genus with one species, T. fortunei, being widely grown in temperate regions, but all species have excellent horticultural merit and are deserving of wider recognition. Although not generally suitable for indoor decoration, these palms make excellent subjects for a large container and are ideal for verandahs and patios. Four recently described species offer tremendous prospects for cultivation in temperate regions and seed has also become available. One of these, T. nanus Gibbons & Spanner, is a dwarf species from about 2000 m altitude in SW China. Most plants are trunkless and have a crown of 5-20 light green to silvery-blue leaves. It is well suited to general garden culture and containers. Other recently described species, also from high altitudes, include: T. princeps Gibbons, Spanner & S-Y Chen from China, T. oreophilus Gibbons & Spanner from Thailand, and T. latisectus Gibbons & Spanner from northern India.

Fresh seed takes 3-6 months to germinate but seedlings are slow growing.

Slender palms with some or all of the trunk covered with coarse interlaced fibres and a crown of spreading, deeply divided, stiff fan-shaped leaves.

About 9 species from northern India, Burma, Nepal, northern Thailand and China.

Kimnack (1980), Gibbons & Spanner (1993a, b, 1994a, b, 1997, 1998).

Key to be used as a guide only.

Source: Jones, D; Spencer, R. (2005). Arecaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Arecales
family       Arecaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa