Featured Flora Friday: Madagascar Palm

Each Friday, we focus on one plant and explain where it grows, what makes it great, and why you should check it out. We’ll also offer up a few suggestions for nurseries and gardeners centers interested in adding it to their catalog.

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Contrary to its name, the Madagascar Palm (‘pachypodium lamerei’) isn’t really a palm, but an arid tropical succulent.  In its native southern Madagascar, the tree can grow up to fifteen feet tall, but it can also easily fit in a large container stateside. The pachypodium lamerei protects itself against hungry animals by growing 2.5-inch-long, stiff needles along the trunk and branches. It’s not cuddly, but it’s very beautiful.

Madagascar palms are drought tolerant and they love hot, dry, sunny climates. Mature plants bear large, white flowers that have a light fragrance. According to Texas A&M in 2009, the Madagascar Palm is an outstanding interior plant.

Grown from Miami to California, the Madagascar Palm remains an interesting, carefree specimen plant in warm climates or an excellent  container plant indoors. Seeds are available at many nurseries specializing in tropical plants. For a healthy, one-foot plant, check out Ohiotraders Botanicals.

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