Common Name: California Christmas Palm

Sun: Full Sun

Growth Rate: Moderate

Fertilizer: Low

Water: Low

Cold Tolerance: 28-30degF ?

History: This hybrid has turned up at a couple of places in Homestead, FL (the horticulture epicenter of Florida…and possibly the entire US) likely from natural cross-pollination.  Seabreeze Nurseries has produced it in Fort Myers, Florida by manual cross pollination.  It has also likely been produced at Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens in Thailand.

Production: The seed parent is Adonidia merrillii (Christmas Palm; Manila Palm) and the pollen parent is Veitchia arecina (Sunshine Palm; Montgomery Palm; Veitchia montgomeryana).  Manual cross pollination is fairly easy and produces around a 50% viability rate.  Since Adonidia merrillii used to be in the Veitchia genus, it can be said that this is more of an interspecific cross.

Benefits: This hybrid should be able to take a few more degrees of cold than the standard Adonidia merrillii (which is restricted to sub-tropical climates such as South Florida, South Texas, and Hawaii).  It is a pretty palm with white/grey ringed trunks, some black ramenta at the top of the crown shaft, and dark green leaves.  It grows faster than the pure Adonidia merrillii and does not get as large as the pure Veitchia arecina.

Identification: Small plants are difficult to identify unless they are grown from manually-pollinated seed.  Once trunking, you will see the characteristic Veitchia trunks and front size/length of an Adonidia.