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Monday, December 23, 2013

Howea fosteriana - Kentia Palm

The Kentia palm is a rare site in Santa Cruz County and after the recent freeze we may have seen the last of them being planted. Too bad, they are beautiful palms. You may see more of them growing as house plants because they grow really well in shade and indoors with low light levels. I would guess there are more in yards that have out grown their space and pots indoors and end up outside, like one in our back yard.

The Kentia palm will grow to about 25-40' along the coast, but I have heard there is a large one in Santa Barbara. The specimen located on 41st Ave at the Pizza by the Slice parking lot is multi-stemmed, about 15' tall by 10-15 wide with beautiful drooping leaflets. This picture is after the recent cold snap (Dec 2013) of below freezing for several nights. Those are cycads in the front.



The evergreen pinnate leaves are long, 10 feet or so with a long smooth (no teeth) petiole that is flat on one side. Leaflets are pendulous, 2 plus feet long, darker green on the upper surface. I was noticing how beautiful it was just a week before taking these pictures.



I do like the trunk and the "netting" around the leaf bases. You can see how long the petioles are in this picture.



As you can see the trunk will be smooth, self shedding, green to tan with distinct leaf scars and usually multi-stemmed.


Misidentification:
Maybe a king palm due to the foliage being large clean green and sort of droopy but there is not crown shaft on the kentia palm.

Location:
Capitola
2180 41st Ave at Pizza my Heart

Santa Cruz
250 Oceanview Ave. Two of them, along with Butia capitata, and others.

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