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Copyright © Ross Graham


Aciphylla simplex

Aciphylla is a most unusual genus of plants, native to New Zealand with one exception. It belongs in the Apiaceae and is thus related to carrot, parsley, dill, celery etc. In appearance however, Aciphylla has little in common with these vegetables but rather has thick, very hard, spiky foliage in rosettes much more reminiscent of certain Agave or Yucca. A. simplex is a dwarf species that forms very dense cushions to 60 cm (2 ft.) in diameter but only about 10 cm (4 in.) high. The individual, tiny rosettes are made of simple, undivided, hard and rigid, blade-like, blunt-pointed leaves. It is found in southern part of the South Island of New Zealand in open situations, often on rocky outcrops, between 1500 and 1800 m (5000 and 6000 ft.). In cultivation it will do best in cool or cold temperate climates, where it requires a sunny or only lightly shaded spot. It does not like high summer temperatures and is a perfect replacement for Agave and Yucca in such climates. A. simplex prefers lightly acidic soils. For best germination results, keep seeds after sowing at around 20ºC (68ºF) for two to four weeks, then expose to light frost for about a month, finally keep around 10ºC (50ºF) for germination. This process simulates winter and is required to break down germination inhibitors. Germination may occasionally still take months, sometimes over a year before sprouting.

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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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