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Trachycarpus takil

Kumaon Palm

This species is perhaps the hardiest of all Trachycarpus, coming from cool and moist oak forests in the Himalayas in Kumaon, northern India, to an altitude of over 2400 m (8000 ft.) a.s.l., perhaps reaching as high as 2700 m (8900 ft.), where the winters can be bitterly cold and snow is common. T. takil is most closely related and most similar in appearance to T. oreophilus and when older, has large, palmate leaves with even divisions and whitish undersides. It is most frequently confused with T. fortunei, however, but mature T. takil are generally taller, more vigorous, and larger in all parts. The three best features to tell the two apart are:
- The fibrous leaf bases in the center of the crown of of T. takil have no or only very short, frayed tips while the leaf bases of mature T. fortunei have long, straplike appendages.
- The divisions in a mature mature leaf of T. takil all go to approximately the same depth, while the leaves of T. fortunei are usually very unevenly divided. As a result, the leaf of T. takil has a neater, more clipped and manicured appearance than that of T. fortunei and resembles more the perfect leaf of T. martianus. - The first true strap leaf after germination, the eophyll, is half as wide in T. takil as it is in T. fortunei, sporting usually only two rather than four folds.
There is probably no other palm that has caused so much controversy as T. takil over its identity and identification since its rediscovery in India in 1991 by Martin Gibbons and Wilko Karmelk. Countless confusions have marked that recent history. The palm was believed nearly extinct in the wild and unfortunately, very few true seeds actually ever made it into cultivation. Nearly all of what has been sold until about 2009 as T. takil came from cultivated sources and is actually a form of T. fortunei, widely grown in northern India since the days of the British rule (you can find this in our archive as Trachycarpus fortunei "Naini Tal"). Since 2009, several reports of sizable stands of T. takil in the hills above Kalamuni documented that the palm fortunately clings to life by more than just a thread and is not so critically endangered as previously thought. This is where seeds are now available from. Trachycarpus takil is undoubtedly one of the hardiest palms, as evidenced by its high altitude habitat. It receives considerable frost and snow there every year. Since the palm is so rare in cultivation, little is known, however, on its precise cold tolerance, but there is good reason to believe it will outperform Trachycarpus fortunei and may be on a par with the dwarf T. nanus and Rhapidophyllum hystrix.

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

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
seeds i got were not mature (some other source of seeds, not his site), but stil 7 seedlings showed up after 2 months germination proces. soaked in water for 2 days,and stayed in soil for some time. 7 of them germinated, 2 to 3 ridges at their first leaf,real takil kalamuni. all seedlings died cause of the moist soil. do not overwater it. dry soil better than moist or wet. one of the most wanted cold hardy palms all over the world.
Submitted on 07/07/2013 by one of our visitors

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I potted these up last spring and set them outside in the sun. No germination over the summer, but after some cold fall weather, I brought the pot with seeds indoors. Within a couple weeks I had 6 blades coming up through the soil. The remainder of the seeds were switched to sitting on top of my aquarium's light fixture (80F + during the day, room temp at night). I have had 8 more seeds germinate with that treatment.
Submitted on 28/02/2013 by Evan Reed

... are very difficult to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seeds (and seedlings) are prone to rot. It seems like they need a bit of moisture to germinate but that same level of moisture will cause rot quickly after germination. Use the baggy method and check often, removing germinated seeds quickly and potting them in free draining medium in unglazed clay pots. Let the medium that the germinated seeds and seedlings are in dry out in between watering.
Submitted on 19/01/2013 by Rob Garren

... are easy to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
I had good results with Trachycarpus takil seeds I brought back from Kalamuni in 2011. I had planted them in Februari and they started germinating next summer in 2012. Now I have arround 90 seedlings from in total 300 seeds I planted. But not al the seeds where fully ripe when planted. As a pottingmedium I just use plain coconutfibre compost. And kept it moist but not wet. And during the summer I had placed the pots with seeds outside. During warm wet August weather I had good germination. A clear sign of its origin of a monsoon climate with reasonable warm, arround 25 C, and wet summers.Well it was awesome to see the Trachycarpus takil in habitat. And I have been twice there, the first time in April 2010 and the second time in November 2011 for the seeds. For good germination you need fruits wich have been picked when they are dark purple, almost black and fully ripe. Green ones are no good as they are not ripe when picked. Yet I saw how the local people did collect full backs of green Trachycarpus takil fruits. They had backs full with them. They did dry them on the roofs to get them to ripen but still they are no good. I did try one pot with only green ones, not one did germinate.
Submitted on 10/01/2013 by Alexander Nijman

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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 sout-east in Netherlands they need little care and grow normal.
I already left feedback in 2002 and can now say that after 10 years one of three palms did not survive moist conditions.The other two are doing just great! Both are over 2m high and hardly need any protection.In fact they survived two winters in a row that were (to our standards) bitterly cold with temperatures of -18°C during some nights w/o any protection at all.
Submitted on 19/09/2012 by one of 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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