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Satrabe Bismarckia nobilis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Medemia nobilis
Phonetic Spelling
biz-mark-ee-ah noh-BILL-ihs
Description

The Bismarck Palm is a flowering tropical palm tree native to Madagascar  where it grows in open grassland. The genus is named for the first chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck and the epithet, nobilis, is Latin for "noble". The Bismarck Palm is the only species for this genus. The plant grows as a solitary trunk, gray to tan in color, 12 to 16 inches in diameter at maturity and slightly bulging at the base. In their natural habitat they can reach 82 feet in height but usually get no taller than 40 feet in cultivation. The rounded leaves are up to 9 feet wide and divided to a third its length into 20 or more stiff, once-folded segments.

Plant in the full sun in well-drained soil though this palm seems to perform in clay soils.  Its silver blue leaves really pop in the landscape when planted near other dark green-leaved plants. The Bismarck palm can adapt to either acidic or alkaline soil. When planting the Bismarck palm do not cover any part of the trunk, as this will lead to problems with microorganisms that live naturally in soil. Bismarck Palms tolerate some drought and, because of their massive crowns, they need plenty of room in a landscape area.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Bismarck palms will suffer from cold damage, but they quickly recover. The green variety is damaged at 32 °F, but the silver-gray variety will tolerate 27 °F.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#silver leaves#palm#silver#tall#tropical feel
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#silver leaves#palm#silver#tall#tropical feel
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bismarckia
    Species:
    nobilis
    Family:
    Arecaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern and Western Madagascar
    Distribution:
    Indonesia and Australia, Florida, a few areas of Southern California, southern and southeastern Texas, and southern Arizona.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    In female plants, flowers mature to a dark brown, ovoid, obtuse bi- or tri-lobed drupe with a single seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Separate male and female trees. Small brown flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Waxy coating gives a gray-silver appearance on large palmate fan-shaped leaves that fall off naturally as they age. A green leaf variety exists (which is less hardy to cold).
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Smooth grey-brown very straight trunk marked with spiral twists and ringed indentations from old leaf bases
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat