Brahea sp. (Super Silver)
Silver Rock Palm
This plant is a most exciting and somewhat unlikely discovery from central Mexico, in a desert region that has a high number of endemic species. First thought to be a somewhat out-of-range population of B. nitida, because its leaf stalks are completely thornless, a key characteristic of that species, we quickly came to the conclusion that we must be dealing with something else, perhaps a palm species completely new to science. The palms grow in sparsely vegetated, dry, high altitude valleys around 1800 m (6000 ft.) and higher, where they are one of the dominant elements of the local vegetation. A green form of Brahea dulcis (with thorny leaf stalks!) is also commonly found in the same habitat. What sets this palm apart is foremost the incredible color of its leaves, an unreal, bright silvery white, easily as good as the best Brahea armata you have seen. As opposed to the fierce armament of other Brahea species, this plant has completely smooth leaf stalks, without a single thorn. Of botanical interest are also the very long, arching inflorescences that extend well beyond the leaves. The fruits are small and black when ripe. As for its horticultural future, we think this Brahea has great prospects and easily has enough potential to become as popular as Brahea armata is today. It is hardy to drought as well as to severe freezes and should be adaptable to a wide range of temperate climates. Due to its reasonable size it should find room in any garden.