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ALLAGOPTERA arenaria

Image of Allagoptera arenaria

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

ALLAGOPTERA arenaria

Plant Common Name

Seashore Palm

General Description

One of the most salt and drought tolerant palms, Allagoptera arenaria, or seashore palm, is a beautiful tropical palm from the coastal regions of Brazil. Based on fossil records, it is also regarded as the most ancient of palms, a predecessor to all others. It maintains a relatively small size, so it is suitable for dune stabilization, landscapes and containers.

Long pinnate (feather-like) leaves emerge directly from an underground stem and at many angles giving it a fluffy, mounded look. Occasionally, the stems emerge slightly above ground and may split resulting in two "heads." The fronds have split-tip leaflets which are clustered together and have a feathery, fluffy appearance. They are dark green above and silver beneath. No spines or thorns are present. Seashore palms bear male and female flowers on the same plant. They are small, yellow-green and grouped tightly together on spikes which rise from a woody, paddle-shaped spathe (sheath covering) held among the leaves. The fruits are edible, tasty, round and orange.

Seashore palm is not common in subtropical landscapes in the United States but deserved more attention. It grows best in full sun and sandy, poor soil with very good drainage. It is drought tolerant once established, but best growth occurs with regular applications of water. It is marginally cold tolerant and will withstand a few degrees below freezing for several hours. Seashore palm is very slow-growing and susceptible to lethal yellows. Still, mature specimens are stunning and shimmer in the sun. Allagoptera arenaria is great for hedge barriers, Oceanside plantings and coastal gardens and tropical landscapes.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H2, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Cushion/Mound-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Silver

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes