What Kind of Palm Seedling Do I Have?

I recently returned from a Board of Directors meeting for International Palm Society in the Amazon region of Peru. This is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, or in other words, Nurseryman’s Heaven. And now, getting back to life in the nursery and going through my emails, I came across an interesting question. <strong>I was sent a photo of a seedling that I was asked to identify. Here is the question and my answer–it seems to be a common question.

Help! I can’t find anyone who can tell me what kind of palm seedling I have.

The short answer is that it is a Heinz 57!

The seedling that was in the photo attached to the email appears to be a seedling of the true editable date palm. It seems to have a fairly full head and gray green foliage which is characteristic of the species. I say palm seedling as the only way to get a specific species cultivar is to plant an offshoot from a mother plant.</strong> You can see the characteristic pups coming up from the base of this one. These could be harvested and you could keep this plant’s particular genes growing.  As to the cultivar, nobody knows.</strong> When you plant a seed you never know where the pollen came from and therefore you never know what you have as the genus is somewhat promiscuous in cross pollinating. There are hundreds of cultivars of phoenix palms and unless you hand pollinate or cut and transplant offshoots there is no way to know what its antecedents are.

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