This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
After passing through a severe test during the first week in January of the year 1913, the several species of Cocos palms are in a condition in which one may safely judge of their comparative hardiness. In the Cocos palms found in local gardens are two very distinct groups. These two groups may each contain but one species having several varieties, or they may consist of several species as they are known "in the trade," and it is upon the latter basis they are here" dealt with. (1) The dwarf group is commonly and widely represented by the one known as C. australis and the other and less-known kinds are catalogued as C. Alphonsi, C. Bonnettii, C. campestris, C. Gaerlneri, and C. Yatay. Occasionally two others, C. odorata and C. pulposa, are listed. All those named are quite hardy and may safely be planted from Los Angeles to San Francisco without fear of losing them through freezing, though in places some may get "scorched" while young. With age all become quite hardy. (2) To a taller and more striking group, belong those of which C. plumosa is the best known and, unfortunately, most widely planted type.
These are C. botryophora, C. coronata, C. Datil, C. flexuosa, C. plumosa, and C. Romanzoffiana. Of these six four have proved quite tender and three quite hardy, the latter lot resistant to at least a half-dozen degrees more of cold than the former. The tender ones are: C. botryophora, C. coronata, C. plumosa, and C. Romanzoffiana. Those proving hardy over all of southern California in 1913 were C. Datil and C. flexuosa, the latter the only one at all common. To these may be added the true C. australis, not known here in the trade at all, a tall-growing species, and not the dwarf one commonly sold under this name. J. Harrison Wright, of Riverside, has grown this novel species and assures the writer of its hardiness in his garden where C. plumosa succumbs in comparatively mild winters. These notes are based upon a close study of these species and varieties as observed during the past few winters in the gardens of Los Angeles and Pasadena in Southern California. (Ernest Braunton.)
A. Filaments present on the rachis.
stem 9-15 ft. high, 10-14 in. thick, capitately thickened with the persistent bases of the petioles: leaves ample, glaucous, finely pectinate; margins of the rachis with excurrent filaments; segments about 1 in. apart, the lower elongated, linear, 20-24 in. long, very long-acuminate, the upper narrowly linear, short, attenuate, 1 ft. long, 2 lines wide, all rigid, faintly nervose-striate: spadix thick, branched but very compact. S. Brazil. - "The hardiest of the genus and one of the hardiest palms in S. Calif. Fronds bluish: fruit pulp tastes like apricots."-F. Franceschi, Santa Barbara. Some of the C. australis of the trade may belong here.
aa. Filaments absent.
b. Rachis abruptly contracted above the insertion of the lowest Ifts.
stem 9-12 ft. high, 2-3 1/2 in. diam., arcuate-ascending, naked just above the base, thence densely clothed with dead petiole bases: leaves lax, 3-6 ft. long; petiole flat above, arcuate, at first tomentose, later smooth; rachis abruptly narrowed above the insertion of the lowest leaf - segment, thence linear-filiform at the apex, excurrent; segments 70-90 on each side, rigid in opposite groups, the middle 10-14 in. long, 1/3in. wide, the upper 4 in. long, 1/12in. wide: spadix long-peduncled and rather loose. Brazil. - Cult, in northern greenhouses. Similar in habit to S. plumosa, but with more finely cut leaves, and in S. Eu. considered to stand more frost. Probably the C. flexuosa planted in this country is not the true species C. flexuosa of Martius, but of Hort., a hardy form of C. Romanzoffiana, Cham., which latter according to the late Barbosa-Rodriguez is a polymorphic species including, besides this flexuosa type, all our garden forms known as C. plumosa, Hook., C. coronata, Hort., not Mart., C. botryophora, Hort., C. Datil, Griseb. & Drude, and C. australis, Mart. The foregoing description has been drawn from Martius and not from cult, specimens.
The true C. flexuosa of Martius is a slender-stemmed palm from tropical Brazil.
The true C. australis of Martius is native in Paraguay; it is like C. plumosa in appearance but hardier.
bb. Rachis not abruptly contracted.
c. leaflets flaccid. D. Arrangement of leaflets equidistant. 3. Weddelliana, Wendl. (Glaziova Martiana, Glaz., to which genus Martius considers the species to belong). Fig. 1013. stem 4-7 ft. high, 1 1/4 in. diam., densely covered with persistent sheaths: leaves equally pectinate-pinnatisect, 3-3 1/4 ft. long; petiole 8-20 in.; sheath coriaceous-fibrous, glabrous or tomentose, with slender brown hairs, at length evanescent; blade 2-3 ft.; segments about 50 on each side, widely spreading, the middle 5 in. long, 2 lines wide, subequidistant, glaucous beneath; rachis filiform at the apex, brown-scaly: spadix equaling the leaves, stiff and erect. tropical Brazil. R.H. 1879, p.434. I.H. 22:220. A. G. 16:345. -The most important of small ornamental palms for the N.
Fig. 1013. Cocos Weddelliana.
dd. Arrangement of leaflets in groups of 2-4 4. plumosa, Hook. stem 30-36 ft. high, 10-12 in. thick, ringed at intervals of a foot, clothed near the apex with remnants of the dead petioles: leaves erect-spreading, 12-15 ft. long, recurving; petiole a third to half as long as the blade; segments linear-acuminate, sparse, solitary or mostly in groups of 2-4, l 1/2 ft. long, deflexed near the apex: spadix usually 3 ft. long and much branched, the branchlets pendular. Cent. Brazil. B.M. 5180. - The chief avenue palm of the genus. A quick grower, ultimately 50 ft. high in S. Fla. and Calif. The slender smooth lobes and heads of graceful recurving leaves make this a very attractive tree.