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Pigafetta elata

Black Wanga Palm

This palm is generally perceived to be the world's fastest growing palm. Native to northern Sulawesi (Celebes) in Indonesia, it is found in rainforests at altitudes between 450 and 900 m (1500 and 3000 ft.). It sports a large, very straight, columnar, glossy green trunk that holds a spherical crown of elegantly recurving pinnate leaves, V-shaped in cross section. Apparently an opportunistic plant, it establishes itself not in the closed forest but in gaps in the canopy. In cultivation, plants thus need good light early on. Though tropical in its requirements, P. elata is said to be a little hardier than its cousin P. filaris as P. elata is from a higher altitude, enabling it to grow in marginal areas such as Southern Florida. Even though seeds are rarely available, P. elata is far more commonly cultivated than P. filaris. The two species are easily told apart by their leafbases: as opposed to the sparsely spiny, waxy leafbases of P. filaris, the leafbases of P. elata are densely covered with masses of blackish spines.

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

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Incredible. I had read about this quick growing palm but was yet to witness it myself. I ordered 20 seeds from rarepalmseeds, and 17 of them germinated within 1 month of planting. In fact, 2 seedlings were visible within a week of seeding, already with their armament of tiny spines! Seeds were all planted in an organic (non-sterile) mix of leaf litter and compost with adjusted levels of sand. Subsequent growth has been unbelievable, and seedling survival has also proved very good. I cannot wait to transfer my plants to the garden and watch them grow.
Submitted on 28/08/2007 by Anton antonespira@gmail.com

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

Plants from this species ...

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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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