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Products > Beaucarnea 'John Bleck'
Beaucarnea 'John Bleck' - John Bleck's Pony Tail
Image of Beaucarnea 'John Bleck'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Nolinoidae (Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pale Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 10-16 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Beaucarnea 'John Bleck' (John Bleck's Pony Tail) - A slow growing small succulent tree to 8 to 15 feet with a large swollen base that has a tortoise shell pattern and only a few narrow branches holding at their tips rosettes of 2 to 3 foot long narrow pale green leaves and topped with a 2 to 3 foot tall branching inflorescence holding pale yellow flowers in summer.

Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained-soil and water deeply and infrequently. Has proven hardy to short duration freezes down into the low 20s°F. We originally received this plant as the Guerrero Pony Tail, Beaucarnea hiriartiae, a fairly recently described endemic described in 1992 by Luis Gerardo Hernández Sandoval that comes from a small area around Cañon del Zopilote in Guerrero, Mexico where it grows on steep hot rocky hillsides and with the specific epithet honoring Patricia Hiriart Valencia (1947-1991), a Mexican botanist and professor who studied of the flora of the dry regions of central Mexico. Beaucarnea hiriartiae is mostly closely related to Beaucarnea purpusii and it became clear upon examination of the parent plant and its leaves and flowers, that this was not the correct identification for the plant we had and we now believe it likely Beaucarnea guatemalensis or a closely related species or a hybrid - see our listing of Beaucarnea guatemalensis for more information on this species. Our plants grown from seed from a single female plant in the garden of master plantsman John Bleck. Bleck had this plant in his garden since well before Beaucarnea hiriartiae was ever described having received it as an unidentified species in the early 1980s from Wally and Hamaji Higgins, who had Palisades Nursery in Pacifica Palisades. It is unclear whether this plant had some hermaphroditic flowers or if it crossed with some other nearby species of Beaucarnea.

The genus Beaucarnea is now a listed genus protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and they cannot be shipped across international borders without special permits. The name of the genus honors Jean-Baptiste Beaucarne, a 19th century Belgian plant collector and horticulturist who first collected a flowering specimen of Beaucarnea recurvata. This genus was long put in the extensive Agave family, the Agavaceae, then moved with Sansevieria, Dracaena, Dasylirion, and Nolina into the Ruscus family, the Ruscaceae. Current treatment places them all in the subfamily Nolinoideae within the very large Asparagus family, the Asparagaceae. The genus was also previously combined with Nolina but the current treatment has elevated Beaucarnea back to the genus level and included within it the genus Calibanus. 

This information about Beaucarnea 'John Bleck' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.