Blue Ribbon-Awarded Palm May, 2000:
Cyrtostachys renda (lakka): SEALING WAX PALM
The Wise Gardener's choice for MAY's BLUE RIBBON Palm is Cyrtostachys renda, or Sealing Wax Palm!! Your Wise Gardener did NOT have to think about this particular month's palm candidate more than a mere 4 minutes, to select it the winner!! The choice was rather easy, indeed!! The reasons are two-fold: UNUSUAL COLOUR, and EXOTIC FORM.
Feast your "palm-lovin' eyes" on the photograph
at right and see this species fabulous attributes: the incredible RED colouration of its "lush" clumping trunks! Wowie! Yes, palm lovers, they are the colour of antiquities' sealing wax!
Some also refer to this lovely Zone 10-11 palm as the "lipstick palm" for obvious reasons! It requires much moisture and much dappled sun! (Its origin is the understory forests of Malaysia and Borneo.) Our specimen is planted on the eastern side of our house, next to the wall. Here it can feed off the latent heat radiated from the concrete exterior wall on the coldest of nights, thereby giving our "sheltered" red sealing wax palm a VERY beneficial micro-climate, approximating Zone 11-B!
An added bonus for our specimen is that it's planted within four feet of the home's A/C unit heat-pump, which releases warmer air (than the surrounding ambient air) from the condenser coil. This keeps a warmish breeze blowing around and through it, to keep any potential "frost" away from it! The result is a palm, subjected to no cold minimum winter evening temperatures, much below 45 degrees F.! This is a VERY HAPPY palm, at eight feet tall, (and four years old), that should not look anywhere as good as it does at our "semi-tropical rancho"! Remember, this is Zone 10!!!
Red is one of the rarest colourations in a palm trunk. The sealing wax palm is a king among the palms': "Royal Family"! Its beauty is without rival and one's pride in ownership of cyrtostachys renda NEVER wanes! Yes, sealing wax palm is more than worthy of Blue Ribbon Palm of the Month honours this MAY, 2000!
Paul, "The Wise Gardener!"