Item #: 3363-2
Availability: In Stock
In Stock Quantity: 68

Native to Baja California (northwest Mexico), the heat loving Brahea Brandegeei is named after a renowned botanist who was long associated with the UC Berkeley Herbarium. Commonly referred to as the San Jose Hesper palm, this lanky solitary palm is known for its height of 40 to 60 feet, delicate petiole (leaf stalks) and light-green, palmate, 3 foot long leaves that often yellow toward their slightly drooping bifid tips, forming a wonderful, airy canopy with ample foliage.

This palm is vastly underappreciated compared to its close cousin, the Washingtonia robusta. While the two palms both have narrow trunks and take on a very similar appearance, the B. brandegeei is a cleaner, somewhat shorter tree. The leaf bases of the Brandegeei are not as tightly bound to the trunk as the Washingtonia and become self-cleaning on established specimens. The trunks of younger specimens can form a petticoat, but it is generally quite small and tidy. The inflorescence are also more discrete, and do not protrude beyond the leaves.

The San Jose Hesper palm is probably a better alternative to the Washington robusta and remains vastly underutilized in Southern California, especially when considering it is a cleaner, shorter and arguably more attractive specimen.

Price: $133.00
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    Clear Trunk Height:

    How we measure palms

    Conditions for Growth

    Native to Baja California, it is quite possible that no palm is better suited to grow in Riverside, CA, or for that matter, most of Southern California's inland and desert areas. This palm will endure drought, extreme desert heat and tempuratures down to 20 degrees. This hardy palm is not susceptible to any diseases. Plant the Brahea brandegeei in arid soil in a sunny spot and watch it take off for years to come.

    Growth Rate and Size

    The San Jose Hesper has a moderate growth rate of about 7-9 inches a year at the grove in Riverside and is known to shoot upwards of 40 to 70 feet, and is said to even reach 100 feet in its natural habitat. We have a fantastic 70-80 year old specimen in Riverside that must be over 70 feet, and is about 25 feet shorter than a nearby W. robusta of similar age.  

    In cooler areas along the coast the San Jose Hesper will appreciate full sun, and a specimen that is shaded for a good part of the day by a large building building may never exceed 25-35 feet. Resembling the Washingtonia Robusta, the Hesper is quite hardy and will endure the sweltering heat and punishing winds of the Southern California valleys and deserts, yet it is also tolerant of warm, humid conditions. In Riverside, the Brahea brandegeei grows at a moderate pace, eventually developing a 15-foot crown. The trunk is about 1 foot in diameter. In late spring, this palm grows short flowers stalks that do not extend beyond the leaves, yielding small fruit.


    Persistent leaf bases form a small skirt on the trunk on young trees. Cut leaf bases form a rough but attractive spiral pattern and are fibrous. Mature trees denuded of leaf bases and will self-clean. The bare trunk is somewhat corky, but appears smooth, lightly ringed and attractive. Leaf blades are thin, light green and segmented about half way, yellowing at the ends. Slender petioles just over 3 feet long, often gently hanging, lightly armed. The leaf is also about the same length. The inflorescence is shorter than the crown of leaves.

    Brahea brandegeei

    Brahea brandegeei

    Landscape Environment

    Grow Region: 9a-11

    Origin: Baja and Northwest Mexico

    Drought Tolerance: Very High

    Cold Tolerance: Moderate 25-30 F

    Salt Tolerance: Moderate

    Soil: Alkaline

    Light: Full sun


    Mature Height: 40-90 feet

    Trunk: corky, rough rings, slender, grey , solitary

    Leaf: segmented halfway, white waxy underside, about 3 feet long, 40 to 70 per crown

    Leaf Petiole: slender with spines, about 3.5 feet long

    Armature: spiny

    Color: light green


    Fruit: small, oblong spherical, brown when ripe

    Human Uses: Ornamental


    Subfamily: Coryphoideae

    Tribe: Corypheae

    Subtribe: Livistoninae