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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 upright shrub very attractive intensely spiny grey stout trunk, narrowed at its base, that is usually unbranched and typically 4 to 6 feet tall in cultivation, but up to 20 feet in its native habitat and is topped with a 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, that 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 xerophytic 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 provide moisture to 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 Monsieur Lamere, the French customs official at Fort Dauphin, who first collected the type plant of the species and 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 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. Another unique thing about is that 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.  The information provided on this page is based on the research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations of our nursery crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Pachypodium lamerei.
 
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