The bright red fruit of Adonidia merrillii

For me, stuck in the cold damp of a British winter, the idea of a Christmas palm gives me a bit of a wish I was there feeling.  There is hardy Fan plam (Trachycarpus fortunei) and slightly less hardy Canary date palm (Phoenix canariensis) in gardens around me but nothing as exotic as the Christmas palm (Adonidia merrillii) that might decorate your garden in southern Florida or on Caribbean islands.

Native to the Philippines and possibly Sabah (although another similar species Adonidia dransfieldii was described from Sabah in 2015 so earlier reports may now apply to that species).  It’s a medium sized palm growing to about 7m and has been used widely in cultivation due to it’s tolerance of a broad range of soils and some tolerance to salt however it is intolerant of cold being sensitive to even light frosts.  It is a very neat palm and its old leaves drop off right to the base (called self-cleaning in palm horticulture).  While some consider it rather unexciting the feature that gives the name are the clusters of bright red fruit that develop around Christmas time in the northern hemisphere.  If you are lucky enough to live in a frost free area and have a garden, perhaps this under-appreciated palm is worth a bit of garden space?

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