Bismarckia nobilis

Bismarck Palm

Landscape Environment

Origin: Madagascar

Drought Tolerance: High

Cold Tolerance: Moderate to High 20F

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Soil: Widely Adaptable

Light: Full Sun

Charateristics

Mature Height: 100 ft in nature habitat, but largest specimin in Southern California are half that height

Trunk: obliquely ringed, solitary, often swollen at base

Leaf: up to 10 feet across with majestic, massive, stiff, upright leaves featuring a large adaxial hastula

Leaf Petiole: long, with a robust leaf stem extending 6-10 feet, often covered in redish scales

Armature: no

Color: silver, blue-green

Flowers: 4 foot long, unique catkinlike, cone-like scaled digitate

Fruit: brown, spherical, about 1.5 inches in diameter

Human Uses: Ornimental

Classification

Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Tribe: Borasseae

Subtribe: Hyphaeninae

Item #: 3351
Availability: In Stock
In Stock Quantity: 152

Native to the Madagascar savanna and named for the first chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck, the Bismarckia palm's bold features and upright posture convey permanence and strength worthy of its noble moniker. Its long, colossal petiole, or leaf stalks, jut upward into a massive, deeply folded, silver-bluish-green costapalmate leaf that, even on relatively young specimens, fans out 10 to 12 feet. Tolerant of drought and freezing, the Bismarckia is an impressive tree with a majestic crown.

Price: $125.00
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    Clear Trunk Height:

    How we measure palms



    Conditions for Growth

    The Bismarck palm thrives in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Young plants in containers require a deep pot to handle the root system. While cold, drought and salt tolerant, it grows best with regular watering. The silver-gray variety in our collection tolerate temperatures from 28F to 20F for established trees. It may suffer some cold damage but will recover within a season.

    Growth Rate and Size

    This palm reaches an average height of 30-40 feet in California and in its natural environment well over 70 feet. In optimal growing conditions, the leaves and petiole of a young Bismarckia expand to a mature size relatively fast at 2-3 feet a year. The trunk grows more slowly at first, filling out in diameter before expanding vertically. Established Bismarcks at the Grove increase in height at a moderate pace of 6 or 7 inches per year. They enjoy full sun and need amble space for their massive fronds and majestic crowns, which can span over 20 feet wide and 15 feet above the trunk.

    Description

    Solitary trunk over 2 foot in diameter with persistent self-cleaning leaf bases. The bare trunk grey and swollen at base. Massive leaves are stiff as a board, costapalmate, induplicate with deeply folded segments split to about 1/3, with a prominent hastula on the top side. Leaf color is a stunning silver-blue hue reminiscent of the Mexican blue. The unarmed leaf stalk, or petiole, is wide across, with sharp margins, bronze patches along the underside, and stretch over 8 feet into the canopy. The inflorescence has a catkin-like rachilla terminating in a cylindric, scaly structure called the digitate. Bismarck's leaves are quite simply a wonder of nature at over 10 feet wide, even on relatively young specimens.

    Transplanting

    This palm is notoriously difficult to transplant and may require a year or two to fully recover. I remember seeing a quote, though unfortunately not the attribution, that to "dig a Bismarckia is to nearly kill it." We take several steps and months of preparation to ensure a smooth transplant of these trees to your property. Even still, survival is not guaranteed and may be as low as 70%. Great care in installation and proper fertilizer and watering is required until the tree reestablishes itself, without which the chance of survival drops significantly.