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Hyphaene coriacea

Ilala Palm

This African beauty forms a low, multi-branched trunk that starts forking at ground level. This, together with its rigid, costapalmate, blue-green leaves and orange, pear-shaped fruit, gives it a very distinctive appearance. In some areas of its large range it forms dense colonies; but in cultivation, it is still comparatively rare. It can be grown in tropical and warm temperate zones and favors a savanna-type climate with hot summers. Once established, its deep roots will search out underground water, making it extremely drought tolerant. It is the only species in the genus small enough for an average garden, and is also the most frost resistant in the genus.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Seeds from this species ...

...easy to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
The species of the Borasseae tribe aren't at all difficult to germinate, as shown by the successful trials of other people with Bismarckia, Medemia and Borassus. However, they all have a vigorous root system which is quite brittle in the early stages, so some additional care is needed. The first step, obviously, was to clean the dry pulp off the seeds; this can be done in many ways (including eating it ?!), but I have found it very easy and safe to put the seeds in a vice and cut them with a small saw. Don‚t worry about damaging the seeds because there is a further hard shell before the endosperm. On the bottom, there is a round opening in the middle, from where the radicle pushes out; you can open this with a fingernail or tip of a pencil. Then, as usual, I soaked them in water for three days, changing the water daily. At first the seeds floated, as they have hollow insides, but after a day they all sunk. I have tried the 'baggie method' before and it has worked well with several other species. I put the bag, with peat and perlite and five seeds, in the hottest spot of the greenhouse, as this species is known to need high temperatures to germinate. Some time later, when checking, I found all the seeds had germinated and rotted. I then realised that peat wasn't the best medium for this species. So I decided to try another way. I filled a polystyrene box with 20 cm of coarse river sand then put the seeds on the surface, sideways, and covered the lot with perlite. I watered once and put the box‚s lid on. I placed it on the upper level of a shelf, in the greenhouse, where the temperature range was 24°C-38°C. I first checked two weeks later and found that eight out of the 10 seeds had germinated and some had sent down a radicle of 10 cm. I repotted them in 30 cm deep pots, with a mix of sand, perlite and peat in the ratio of 2:1:1. Then I put in another five seeds, with the remaining ungerminated two. Like before, after a week the last two of the former batch germinated and a week later all the remaining five also germinated .
Submitted on 25/07/2005 by Avram Sorina asorina@home.ro

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I followed the guide lines given by others on this page. 40% germination in 8 weeks. Bag method at 35 deg C they like the heat. Then potted in 400mm deep pot placed in full sun watering when dry below seed depth. 33 C day 15 C nigh they are doing well. Growth being fast strong and robust. Other seeds I re soaked and placed in bag on heat again, they continue to germinate sporadically. I had no rot problems. The root emerges thick as a finger from this large seed. I absolutely have enjoyed my experience to date.
Submitted on 12/12/2004 by David Herbert rocmade@iinet.net.au

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
soak for 1 week some seed will float must soak till they sink then place in soil and water a little ,do not add more water unless soil dries out below the bottom of seed depth ,temps were 85-100 f ,they'll germinate in 4 weeks i've had 100% success this way,fast grower as seedling
Submitted on 13/11/2002 by jason pasahow JPSE66@aol.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I knew that these palms needed heat to germinate. Soak the seeds for a week, clean the seed of any fruit.Fill a large BLACK pot (40cm diameter and 40cm deep)with standard potting soil. Place the seed so that only the very top of the seed is visible.Water the seeds and place the pot in full sun. To minimise watering place a piece of glass/plastic over the top if the pot.Your seeds will germinate in no time at all!This way works wonders on Corypha utan seeds too.
Submitted on 08/05/2002 by Dennis Lutge Dennis Lutge@edgars.co.za

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I bought 10 seeds of ilala-palm (Hyphaene coriacea) and obtained 80% of germination between 13 and 15 days. I used the method shown in the home page of rarepalmseeds, with some adaptations, using vermiculite in substitution of perlite. I also tested the use of sphagnum moss, in plastic bag and to sow direct in a substratum mixture. All the methods worked well, almost at the same time. The temperatures of our summer are high, between 30 and 35ºC. Before sowing, I left the seeds soaked in water, changing it for 5 days, after the removal of outer shell. In 40 days the first leaves (eophyll) had already emerged, being now with about 35 - 50 cm (3 months after blunting). I have put them in large containers, awaiting the plantation in definitive local.
Submitted on 03/07/2002 by João Carlos Geraldo jcgeraldi@uol.com.br

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I would describe a pratic way to germinate this species, thought difficult, but very easy indeed. First step, you need to clean the seeds, using a knife or any other sharp tool; be carefull to your hands.Then soak the seeds in clean water without any chemical. They will all float at first, because have an hollow inside, but after two days they will sink. The first trial was with the bag-method with moist peat, but they all rot as soon as the radicle appeared.So i have used another way. I have filled a polystyrene box with lid, 15 cm deep, with pure river sand up to 5cm from top. Then I have placed the seeds sideway, pressing them a bit on the sand. I have filled to the top with perlite and watered only one time. I have put the lid and placed the box in the upper part of a shelf in the greenhouse. Temps range from 24°C to 40°C.After three weeks 8 seeds on 10 were germinated and already sent a radicle in the sand up to 10cm. Then the seeds have been repotted in deep pots.
Submitted by Angelo Porcelli angelopalm69@inwind.it

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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