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Medemia argun

Nubian Desert Palm

Until recently little was known about this mysterious, and thought-to-be-extinct, fan palm, making it the subject of much speculation. However, on a recent expedition to the Sudan we revealed that Medemia, though still very rare, survives happily to this day in several small populations in the Nubian Desert. Medemia is native only to the Sudan, where it grows in the barren floodplains of seasonal rivers (wadis). The climate is generally very dry, hot during summer and mild in winter. Allied to the Doum palm, Hyphaene, and Bismarckia, it is a beautiful and stately, solitary fan palm to about 15m (50ft) tall with a straight, ringed, brown trunk that supports a large, spherical crown of very stiff, strongly costapalmate leaves. The light blueish-green colour of the leaves contrasts strikingly with its bright yellow petioles. The attractive fruits are a shiny purplish black in colour and the size of plums. When dry, they emit a pleasant malty smell and are edible. In ancient Egypt, the fruits of Medemia argun were imported from the Sudan, and have been found in Egyptian tombs, indicating their importance. Perhaps most important for growers today is the fact that Medemia has never been in cultivation anywhere in the world before our expedition. Medemia will grow under the same conditions and in the same regions as its closest relatives, Hyphaene and Bismarckia, i.e. in nearly all subtropical and tropical and some warm temperate areas. The Nubian Desert Palm is extremely drought tolerant and will thrive under hot and dry conditions where its growth rate is fairly fast. For an account of this rare and exiting palm, and its rediscovery see “Principes” Vol. 40, No. 2 or the S-Californian “Palm Journal” No. 149. DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS OFFER! Prices are as lower than ever before for this very rare seed.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Received 2x 10 lots of these from RPS. The trick seems to be to soak the seeds for a day and then carefully remove the spongy outer layer. Then continue to soak the cleaned seeds for a further three days. Place no more than half buried on well draining mix (30% sand, 40% peatmoss & 30% vermiculite) in deep pots (20cm+) Keep very warm and in high humidity, germinate eratically in coming weeks, dry air seems to cause the radicles to die. First leaf takes a few months but be patient.
Submitted on 29/04/2011 by one of our visitors

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I ordered 20 (21) seeds from RPS in April, it arrived in May. I soaked the seeds 36hrs in warm water and indivudually put them in sandy soil and compost mix in 1. 5 mineral water containers, after 3 weeks most of them (19 seeds) has produced a very robust root sticking out so I have to carefully replant them in 6 X 10 inches black plastic bags. Temperature reaches a maximum 38c hottest in the Phils this year beacuse of El Nino. Now its rainging and just waiting for the little Medemia to show up! Happy.
Submitted on 10/06/2010 by Joel de Sena

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked the seeds for 24 hours then planted in moist (but not damp) peat. Started to root after about 10 days. It does send a very long thick root which grew quickly! I'm looking forward to adding this to my desert landscape.
Submitted on 13/10/2009 by one of our visitors

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Out of ten seeds two took off in 29 days and the others are still sitting waiting for any sign of life.
Submitted on 08/02/2009 by Greer Evans

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I have 10 fresh seeds are soaked in water for a one days. Place half seed in the sand where the temperature 35C / 10 seeds germinated within 7 days and all seedling need a deep container like Bismarckia nobilis. 100 % success. Very Happy!!
Submitted on 22/10/2004 by Mr.Thukool Preechavanichprauk thukool@pccth.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Pretty good response. Running about 75% germination rate, and all have a single leaf. Leaves are rigid and look healthy, but take a long time to lift off the ground. Abundant light and moderate water seems to help as well as Miracle Grow.
Submitted on 19/02/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
One of the easiest seeds I have ever germinated! First soaked them for about twelve hours then scaped away seed coat until a fuzzy coat. Then soak for a further twelve hours removed the fuzzy coat and put into clear plastic bags with vermiculite fairly moist and germinated at 40oc (100of) The first one sprouted in 3 days and the subsiquent ones in about 5 days. Now growing like nothing else on earth!
Submitted on 02/05/2003 by Kristina kristinamjackson@btinternet.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
this species is easy to germenation but it need more time 2 monthes at least to germenation and before germenate put in water for 4 week (change the water every day to still clean with suitable antifungal) germenate in soil consists of sand:clay 3:1in pots 25.25.40 cm at deep 5cm subsurface, watering twice weekly and temprature between 25-35ºc in the nursery. I do this experment in my M.sc about the rehabilitation and propagation of Medemia argun in small oases in western desert in Egypt. in Unit of Environmental studies and Development at Aswan.
Submitted on 27/12/2002 by Haytham Ibrahim haythamibra@yahoo.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Didn't know how long these would take, but hoped that being desert palms it would be quite fast. Indeed so: soaked for 96 hours (while trying to find somewhere to sow 'em), then cleaned off the pulp and mixed the appealingly furry seeds in a moist perlite/vermiculite mix; sealed in a biscuit tin and placed in the airing cupboard. 10 days later four out the ten were shooting. Have sown the first on a very well drained compost and will see how they do. It's an exciting challenge trying to grow these as no-one seems to have any idea how to do it! I'll treat them as serious desert species and see how they do...
Submitted on 02/06/2002 by Gwilym panickyfright@clara.co.uk

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I had 5 seeds. I soaked them for a week at room temperature. They did get mushy. I put them in a baggie with a commercial seed starter mix. I placed them on the hot water heater. Now 3 weeks later, I have 4 already sprouting and hope the 5th comes out soon.
Submitted on 02/07/2002 by Mark Bebee mmebb@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Easy to germinate. Soaked for two days, stripped fibrous cout. Planted shallow with Scotts potted soil for seed starting. Kept at room temp, then transferred to sunny site. Three weeks later have 80% germination.
Submitted on 07/07/2002 by mike lieber mlieber1@yahoo.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I had 5 seeds. I soaked them for one week, changing water daily, at room temperature. I placed them in a baggie with moistened seed start mix. The first seed germinated in 2 weeks and now 4 of 5 have germinated in 4 weeks.
Submitted on 29/07/2002 by Mark Bebee mmebb@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
an very easy palm tree.i put mine in a aquarium with an heat source at about 35ºc, whith a good medium (althought they are not picky)wash the seeds and let them in water for one night. A fast grower and germinater. you will love them. in about 2 to 3 weeks they start to give their first roots then after a month(aproximetly)they will surprise you whith a massive first leaf, and a quick growing. ENJOY
Submitted on 02/10/2002 by joao carlos placido capelo joaocarloscapelo@hotmail.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
Seeds should be soaked in water one week after arrival, changing water daily. These do not need extremely warm temperatures to germinate, in fact, mine begin to germinate (indoors) in late winter/spring. Placement in full or mostly sun is necessary as is a fast draining potting media. These seeds first send a long initial root into the media so a tall (10 to 12 inch) pot is necessay after germination and soon the top growth will appear. Highly important in these early stages: Watch the Watering since the potting media needs to slightly dry out for the seedlings (or rot will set in). Germination time is 2 to 12 months--usually sooner.
Submitted on 14/10/2002 by one of our visitors

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of high ornamental value
In Phoenix, Az in USA they need very little care and grow slow.
Germinated over 90% within 60 days. About 3 years old now. I have them in boxes & in the field in Phoenix, Az. Boxed tree's are doing better than field tree's. Soils are heavy and are flood irrigated. I think they like the better drainage in the boxes. They look to be an excellent tree for the desert here.
Submitted on 22/11/2005 by one of our visitors

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

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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