Cold Growing Coconut Palm
We were somewhere on Route Nationale 7 near the city of Fianarantsoa Located in the High Plateau of Madagascar with our guide Michael of the famed Betsileo tribe at the wheel. We were eagerly anticipating our exploration of Ranomafana National Park, a magnificent example of high altitude rainforest. At approximately 1,000 meters we topped a swale in the road and an incredibly overloaded truck with crates stacked fifteen high was in our lane coming right at us! We swerved madly as did he and we both crashed into opposite sides of the road. Thankfully no one was hurt but we were stuck in the sandy soil and had to wait for help. As we killed time we hiked through a river canyon and discovered a lovely grove of Beccariophoenix alfredii, also known as the High Plateau Coconut Palm. We collected shirt-fulls of seeds and have successfully germinated them. This palm is closely related to the Coconut palm but is cold tolerant surviving winter frosts and the occasional fires and drought. This palm is a must have for any palm enthusiast! We grow these plants in 1 gallon containers and ship them bare root packed in moist moss.