A Palm Centre Introduction: Trachycarpus princeps

Trachycarpus princeps

Trachycarpus princeps

Trachycarpus princeps, also known as the Stone Gate Palm, is a distinctive and attractive palm species native to the higher elevations of the Himalayan Mountains in China.

The palm features large, fan-shaped leaves that are silver-blue or silvery-green in colour – especially on the reverse – giving it a stunning and distinctive appearance. The foliage is deeply divided, creating a graceful and ornamental display.

In the same genus as the common Windmill Palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, the Stone Gate Palm is a lot more sought after and rarely offered for sale.

How it was discovered

How it was discovered

Martin Gibbons (founder of the Palm Centre) had seen historical references to Trachycarpus martianus growing in China, which seemed odd as that species was believed to only grow in India and Nepal. So in 1994 he travelled to the Yunnan province of China and there he discovered this relatively unknown species. Trachycarpus princeps typically grows on limestone cliffs, so collecting seeds presented some challenges. Martin was undeterred and managed to bring seeds back to Europe and became the first person to distribute them in the UK.

The most graceful Trachycarpus

The most graceful Trachycarpus

With a more refined leaf structure, this species is known to be the jewel in the crown of the Trachycarpus genus. The Latin epithet ‘princeps’ refers to “the stately bearing of this palm and the majestic way it looks down from its lofty position on the sheer cliff faces” (Martin Gibbons).

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