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Rhapidophyllum hystrix

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
rap-i-doe-FYL-lum HIS-trix
Description

Needle Palm is a dwarf temperate palm that grows up to 5' and is shrubby and dense. This shrubby, nearly trunkless palm will survive sub-zero weather for short periods, and is therefore hardy in the Southeast. Sharp spines usually preclude moving it once established and are dangerous for people and animals. The native habitat is swampy parts of the southeastern USA, but is endangered. Leaves most strongly resemble those of Trachycarpus. This plant is used as a specimen and pot plant. This plant is drought tolerant once established. It tolerates wet soil and full sun but prefers part shade. This plant is slow-growing. It is the most cold hardy palm and spreads by suckers. This plant is seldom damaged by deer and is moderately salt tolerant.

Form:  Spreading clump; trunkless shrub

Quick ID Hints:

  • Stiff, multisegmented leaves resembling oriental fan
  • Each leaf segment has 2 midveins, is toothed at apex
  • Sharp, long 'needle' remains after leaf abscises
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#salt tolerant#cpp#deer resistant#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#salt tolerant#cpp#deer resistant#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhapidophyllum
    Species:
    hystrix
    Family:
    Arecaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South East U.S.A
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are orbicular red berries.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    6 to 12 in. compact inflorescence (interfoliar panicle) with tiny yellow to purplish brown flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are simple, palmately lobed, nearly completely incised, and crowded. Lobe-segments (20-40) are linear with 2 mid-ribs, entire, toothed at apex, waxy above, silvery glaucous beneath, semi-rigid, and induplicate. Petioles can grow up to 3' long.
  • Bark:
    Bark Description:
    Trunks are erect or reclining, short, covered with persistent leaf sheaths and bases, have dark fibers and sharp, erect spines which become bare.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt