Losing an old and rare plant is never an easy thing for me. Especially one that was easily the largest plant of this species growing in California at the time and one that it is endangered in its natural habitat of Madagascar.
Growing rare palm trees is one of my biggest joys as a gardener. Many of the palms grow very slowly and it takes great care to ensure their survival outside their natural habitat. Case in point: my Beccariophoenix madagascariensis. This first picture was taken in May of this year by friend Troy Donovan during his garden visit. The palm has that characteristic shuttlecock appearance and dark green leaves found in the “No Windows” form. I measured it to be 15 feet from the base of the trunk to the tip of the newest spear. While slow, this palm was going to be massive.
Fast forward to the beginning of August and here it was. I walk my garden daily in the summer, and before I left for a 10-day family reunion to Jackson Hole, WY, I admired this beautiful plant for one last time. Upon my return it had gone from what you saw in the first picture to what you see in the second. It really does happen that fast in palm trees. By the time I got home there was no amount of Cleary’s or any other fungicide that could save it.
I lose palms every year. So this will not be my last heartbreak. But some plant losses hurt more than others. This is certainly one of the tougher losses for me.
If you wish to read more about Beccariophoenix madagascariensis you can visit the Palmpedia Wiki.