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Needle Palm
Rhapidophyllum hystrix

Rhapidophyllum hystrix (needle palm)

A Cold-Hardy Palm

This needle palm specimen is considered one of the largest in North Carolina and has been at the Arboretum since at least 1978. Needle palms are so named for the 4"-10" long, sharp spines that arise from the leaf sheaths and upper trunk of this shrubby palm. It is one of the most cold-hardy palms and grows in full sun to full shade.

Needle palm is native to the Southeast, but not North Carolina. It grows on shady, wooded slopes and in moist bottomlands. This palm is becoming quite rare due to habitat destruction, wild collection, and seed germination requiring from six months to two years.

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