Natural habitat: The lowland areas of North-Western Madagascar
Characteristics: A massive solitary fan palm that can reach heights around 60 feet tall. It houses a large crownshaft branching out 10-12 huge leaves. The leaves are a normal looking fan shape, and fall off on their own as they die off. The trunk is a brownish gray, with heavy leaf scares, forming a stare step on the trunk as it rise from the ground. The tree only flowers once and then dies. The flowering occurs out of a huge inflorescence that emerges from the top of the crownshaft and branches out and up. No one knows how long a tree takes to mature and seed.
History: This palm has only been recently described, on January 15, 2008. It was discovered in a very remote area of Madagascar by a local Farmer of Cashew nuts and his family on a picnic. After its discovery, the palm was visited by palm experts and studied until it was determined to be an entirely new genius of palms. Tahina was chosen as the palms name after the farmers daughter. The palm was mistaken or ignored by locals (written off as a Bismarck or Corypha), until it flowered and showed off its unusual influences and showed it to be something new. Since the palm only seeds once and then dies, the seeds are very hard to come by. The one tree that was studied and described is the same tree that produced the seeds that sprouted these seedlings. A certain number of seeds were allocated to collectors around the world. Since there is little known about the length of time for a tree to mature and seed, this may be the only seedlings produced for a long time.
We were able to get our hands on 5 seedlings. Not to be selfish, we’ve decided to sell one, maybe two, too our customers. We hope someone will covet this palm as we do and give it a good home. Only serious collectors please. All the seedlings available on the market or in a collection today are all of the same age, off the same tree, well to most of our knowledge. So you will be right along with the rest of the world on this tree, if you are lucky enough to win it.
Environment: Needs a lot of room to grow. That is about as much as people know about this palms environmental requirements, since it is so new to cultivation. It is described as being able to survive tropical locations, including Florida. As a rule of thumb, South Florida and Southern Cali would be a safe bet for this palm. It seems to be able to handle flooding and drought, as it must face these situations it in its natural habitat.