Arenga micrantha

Synonymy: Unknown Distribution: Eastern Himalayan foothills in Sikkim in India
Common names: Unknown Conservation status: Rare

This exciting and only recently re-discovered palm will be of great interest to collectors and growers of cold hardy species. Some of us have experimented with Arenga engleri outside, planted permanently in the ground, in the UK. My two plants, one at the Palm Centre and one in my London garden, are doing well, and have proven their tolerance down to at least -5c without damage. Arenga micrantha should be considerably hardier than this and is undoubtedly the most cold-hardy of the Arenga species coming, as it does, from up to 2500 metres in the Eastern Himalayan foothills in Sikkim in India, where the photograph was taken (forgive the quality: it was taken in pouring rain, in atrocious conditions!) Growing to about 10-15 feet tall only, it has broad, feather shaped leaves with silver-white backs. The seedlings are extremely strong, fast growing and leathery already displaying the white backs. Available for the first time EVER supplies are limited. They require to be grown on for a couple of years before planting out. Then choose a shady, moist and damp, protected location. I am confident they will do well, and I'm delighted to be able to add another species to the small but increasing list of hardy palms. 

Photo courtesy and copyright 2001, Martin Gibbons, The Palm Center.

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