There is an interesting story behind the plants I’m showing you here. About four years ago, we got some seeds from a botanical garden that were labeled as Veitchia merrillii (aka Adonidia merrillii). This palm resembles a miniature Royal Palm, so it is a popular choice by enthusiasts who see it in tropical areas. Rarely does it get over twenty feet tall and many people like this smaller size. But, native to the Philippines, you might expect it’d be too tropical and cold sensitive to grow here. Well, that is the case and I don’t know of one mature tree in Southern California.
The seeds we got were thought to be pure Veitchia merrillii. The seeds looked to be the right size for merrillii – the anticipated small size as you see with this species. Seeds of other Veitchia species are much larger. Of the fifty or so seeds that germinated, about half died off quickly in our greenhouses the first winter. We figured – that makes sense – cold sensitive. But, to our surprise, the other half grew quite well. As they got bigger, it was apparent that they looked nothing like a true species Veitchia merrillii we have grown in the past. The prominent speckling and dark color to the leaf stems was not expected – merrillii is plain green usually. And, there is a diversity of appearance of the various plants we were now growing.
We figure these are a hybrid of a Veitchia merrillii crossed with something else. Most likely it’s with another species of Veitchia that are more cold tolerant. Our suspicion is it as cross with V. arecina. This is to our customer’s benefit as this means perhaps they can grow these and end up with a smaller palm that resembles V. merrillii. We have a limited number of these plants left. They’ve gotten bigger and all have survived a freeze at our nursery. So, maybe here’s your chance to grow a “Veitchia merrillii hybrid” . I’m showin photos of both of the probable parents below. Mature height should be about 15 – 18 feet on these hybrids.