834 Nannorrhops ritchieanaCommon Names: Mazari Palm Family: Arecacea (palm Family)
Perhaps one of the toughest and hardiest palms is Nannorrhops ritchieana, the Mazari palm. Although this palm does not form a traditional trunk, it looks just as striking in any landscape. Mazari palm grows in a shrub or mounding form 10-20 ft (3.1-6.1m) tall and spreading even more than that. The semi-palmate leaves, similar to those of cabbage palm, are about 4 ft (1.2 m) wide, 4 ft (1.2 m) long and have unarmed petioles, 1-3 ft (0.3-0.6 m) long. Mazari palm does not have a crownshaft and its stem remains below ground. Mazari palm has branches above ground and slowly develops a bushy shrublike appearance. Each stem or branch is monocarpic which means that it flowers only once, then dies back and produces an offshoot. The white flowers are held out and above the foliage in 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) long branching clusters. The fruits, which are edible, are 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in diameter and are brown to orange in color, with a single seed.
Mazari palm is native to the deserts of central Asia from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Peninsula.
CultureMazari palm tolerates poor, dry, infertile soils. Although growth is normally very slow, proper care and fertilization can speed it up significantly. Mazari palm is susceptible to lethal yellowing and Ganoderma fungus. Light: Full sun. Moisture: Mazari palm is very drought tolerant - but you should water when dry to speed up the growth rate. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Mazari palm is adapted to desert conditions of extreme hot and cold, and is one of the most cold hardy palm known. Propagation: Mazari palm is propagated by seeds which geminate slowly and sporadically over a long period of time. It also is possible to divide the clumps.
Mazari palm makes a conspicuous accent palm with its striking powdery blue-green leaves and rangy, spreading form. It does best in cool dry climates and even tolerates heavy frosts quite well but it also grow well in tropical or semi-tropical locations. In its native habitat, the young leaves and fruits are eaten. Other parts of the palm are used for thatching, fiber for weaving and rope, and for fuel.
This is a palm for dedicated gardeners who live where it's too cold to grow palms! Other cold hardy species, like the needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) and dwarf blue palm (Sabal minor 'Louisiana'), are probably better choices for zone-cheating palm enthusiast but true palm fanatics will probably want to grow one of these too. In its native habitat, Mazari palm is often covered with snow for much of the winter. Mazari palm's striking blue-green color makes it a wonderful eye catcher in any landscape.
Jeff Bielski 10/19/00; updated 4/20/04