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Products > Pachypodium lamerei
Pachypodium lamerei - Madagascar Palm

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Apocynaceae (Dogbanes & Milkweeds)
Origin: Madagascar
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 4-8 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
Pachypodium lamerei (Madagascar Palm) A semideciduous slow growing succulent stemmed upright shrub very attractive intensely spiny grey stout trunk, narrowed at its base, is usually unbranched and typically 4 to 6 feet tall in cultivation, but up to 20 feet in its native habitat and is topped at the head of leaves. The spines (transformed stipules) are typically 1 to 2 inches long and arranged in groups of three with the upper one shorter than the others and the narrow leaves, dark glossy green above and paler below, are usually 8 to 12 inches long. At maturity large and fragrant 2 to 3 inch wide flowers appear spring and summer with white twisted petals that are yellow at their base. Plant in full sun a well-drained soil and water regularly when in leaf from spring through summer. Hardy to frost down to around 28° F. In subtropical to mild temperate climates it will lose its leaves to go dormant in winter months but in cooler climates can be used as an indoor plant, though it rarely flower when grown indoors. Though not typically branching in its native habitat, it can branch as a result of injury or frost. Pachypodium lamerei comes from the dry xeriphytic forests forests of southern and south western Madagascar where it is found growing on limestone and sandstone soils at elevations up to 4,000 feet in areas where fog from the Indian Ocean condenses on the leaves and spines to help irrigate the plants. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'pachus' meaning "thick" and 'podion' meaning "foot" so meaning "thick-footed" in reference to the shape of its swollen stems. The specific epithet honors Monsier Lamere, the French customs official at Fort Dauphin, who first collected the type species. It was described in 1899 by Emmanuel Drake del Castillo in the Bulletin du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle. It is most often marketed as the Madagascar Palm, despite the fact that it is not even closely related to palms. This species is designated as a CITES appendix II protected plant due to threats from habitat destruction due to over grazing and the illegal collection of plants for the horticultural trade. This plant is truly unique - of the 23 there species in the genus 5 are found in southern Africa and the others in Madagascar, indicating that the genus originated at a time before the island of Madagascar separated from Africa, estimated at around 165 million years ago. Also this plant utilizes two methods of photosynthesis. The leaves utilize the typical C3 photosynthesis process while the stems, when the plants are leafless, has the ability to utilize the unique water conserving Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) process that many other succulents utilize. It was given the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 2002.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Pachypodium lamerei.