Bentinckia condapanna

Geoff Stein - Author & Editor

Pronunciation: ben-TINK-ee-uh cone-duh-PAW-nuh

Common Name: none

Bentinckia condapanna is one of the most recent, wonderful surprises for Californians in terms of successful growing of a palm that was assumed to be way too tropical. And amazingly, this is the better looking of the two known species of this palm, the other having long since been proved to be far too tropical in its needs to survive in a Mediterranean climate. This strikingly colorful but highly endangered palm from India has become very popular among palm enthusiasts in the tropics so it is not surprising that California palm growers have been trying this one, too. It is still a marginal palm, but one that seems to be doing well in numerous palm gardens in zone 10b, and amazingly seems to be a relatively fast palm (for a 'slow' palm), with some California specimens already starting to form early trunks. The bright orange to yellowy petioles, dense white patina on the leaf bases and crownshaft, the reddish orange new leaf spikes, closely prominently spaced rings on the green trunk and the attractively arching pinnate leaves are making this one of the most colorful and exciting palms for California.

Appearance and Biology
  • Habit: solitary with a crown of 6-8 feather leaves
  • Height: 20' estimate
  • Trunk: single; 6"-8" thick; prominently ringed; glaucous green turning to a orange-brown or gray
  • Crownshaft: 1' tall; orange-brown to a grey-brown; covered, at least partially (often lower half) with pure white powdery patina; same thickness as trunk, though often with a subtle bulge in the middle
  • Spread: 10'
  • Leaf Description: pinnate; arching; 5'-6' long; bright green; new leaf spike deep orange; leaflets closely spaced to nearly fused in younger palms; juvenile palms have irregularly split leaves with larger sections entire; even distal leaves in some larger palms have bifid ends
  • Petiole/Leaf bases: 6"-18" (depending on light availability); deeply channeled; unarmed; yellow green to orange-ish near leaf bases, fading to dull grey-brown and mostly covered at that point with white powder
  • Reproduction: monoecious
  • Inflorescence: 1' long; from below the crownshaft (often up to 1' below)- usually multiple inflorescences; horizontally oriented; sparsely branched
  • Fruit: spherical; 1/2"-3/4" in diameter; chocolatey-red when ripe; in tight clusters on the stems
Horticultural Characteristics
  • Minimum Temp: 32F
  • Drought Tolerance: poor
  • Dry Heat Tolerance: moderate
  • Wind Tolerance: low
  • Salt Tolerance: unknown
  • Growth Rate: slow
  • Soil Preference: seems adaptable
  • Light Requirement: filtered light when young to partial sun
  • Human Hazards: none
  • Disease or Horticultural Problems: none known
  • Transplants?: unknown
  • Indoor?: Unknown
  • Availability: rare but readily available at many palm specialty nurseries now

Retrieved from ""