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Products > Trithrinax campestris
Trithrinax campestris - Blue Needle Palm

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Palm
Family: Arecaceae (Palmae) (Palms)
Origin: Argentina (South America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15° F
Trithrinax campestris (Blue Needle Palm) An extremely slow growing compact medium sized palm that after 40 years may have several trunks reaching up to 12 feet tall and to nearly 20 feet in its natural habitat with trunks covered by persistent spiny leaf sheaths. The 3 foot long very stiff blue-gray rounded palmate leaves, held on a rigid and spiny petioles, have light green undersides and the folded leaflets are tipped with a short sharp spine. At maturity this plant has much branched light yellow-white flowers in summer - a rarity with palms is that this genus has hermaphrodite flowers with separate whorls of male and female flowers within the flower structure. After flowering appear the 3/4 inch wide rounded yellow-brown fruit. Plant in full sun in a fairly well drained soil and irrigate only occasionally - this is a very drought tolerant palm and is also considered to be one of the most cold hardy palms that reportedly tolerates high winds and temperatures below 15°F (some claim as low as 2°F) and has thrived as in northern Europe and in the British Isles. This is a very decorative palm and tough palm for those with patience. Place well away from a pathway as the attractive rigid leaves do not look wicked but they are and they also entice one to touch. Blue Needle Palm grows naturally in arid central Uruguayan and northeastern Argentine savannas, dry river beds, ravines and canyons up to the peaks of the Sierras de Córdoba and Sierras de San Luis mountain ranges where it is found on well drained rocky soils. The name for the genus is a combination of the prefix 'tri' meaning "three", with Thrinax, a Caribbean palm genus. This name apparently came about because the German botanist Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, who coined the name when he described Trithrinax brasiliensis, thought the palmate leaves were somewhat divided three times. The specific epithet means "of the fields" in reference to some of its natural habitat. We have a few older boxed specimen plants of this very special plant in the nursery and are also growing a young crop from seed that came off a mature plant at the Ruth Bancroft Garden.  The information on this page is based on research about this plant that is conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Trithrinax campestris.