Trachycarpus latisectus

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Figure 1. T. latisectus

Contents

Synonyms:

T. sikkimensis

Common Names:

Windamere Palm

General:

Only recently described, Trachycarpus latisectus, the Windamere Palm, was previously known as T. 'sikkimensis' and many thousands of seeds have been distributed under that name, which was used as a working title but is now invalid and should not be used. 'Latisectus' refers to the broad leaflets, indeed one of the distinguishing characteristics of this palm, which are around 5cm (2in) wide, very glossy, and of which there are around 70 in total, forming a very large and leathery leaf. It has a bare trunk and its seeds resemble those of T. martianus. Remaining in the wild in just one tiny, heavily altered location in the Sikkim Himalayas in north-east India, which is immediately threatened by destruction, it has only recently been introduced into cultivation, but is about to make a huge impression in the palm world.


Figure 2. T. latisectus

It has large, robust, nearly circular, fan-shaped leaves like a Livistona. It sheds them naturally, leaving a smooth, slender trunk. It grows fast and easily and withstands snow and heavy frosts, coming, as it does, from high altitudes up to 2400m, but it is equally suitable for sub-tropical climates. It is so big and bold, so distinctive, so cold-hardy, and so beautiful, it should, by rights, leave T. fortunei standing, in the popularity stakes. Also, it is probably the only species in the genus which, owing to its wide altitude range from 1200 to 2400 m (3950 to 7900 ft), will adapt well to hotter regions.

Cultivation:

Seedling growth is slightly slower than the Chusan palm but speeds up as the young plants get bigger. As with the preceeding species, spider mites seem irresistably attracted to it and steps should be taken to prevent them getting a hold on the young plants. As yet, there are no even middle-sized plants outside its native land, so cultivation experiences out of India are necessarily limited to plants only a few years old. As with other Trachycarpus, T. latisectus requires a rich, loamy but well drained soil. Young plants are best grown under some shade.

Figure 3. T. latisectus
Figure 4. T. latisectus
Figure 5. T. latisectus crown.
Figure 6. T. latisectus leaf profile.


Contributed by:

Martin Gibbons and Tobias W. Spanner,
rarepalmseeds.com
(Text and Figure 1,2,3,4,5&6)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk