Chamaedorea Radicalis and Microspadix

Maybe its the resemblance to the fronds of a coconut palm swaying in the balmy breeze or perhaps its just because they're less common in temperate climes:  Feather leaved palms always seem to make a garden a little more tropical.  Granted, there are exceptional and hardy fan palms for the tropical look such as the livistonas, lady palms and everglades palm, but if you want visitors to your garden to do a double take, try these two gorgeous palms in a shady spot! 

They are native to a transitional climate in Mexico that experiences frost on occasion but still has a wealth of plants with a tropical background.  I would love to do some hardiness research on some of the other plants in the El Cielo Biosphere Reserve since they may have potential for the garden and hybridizing! 

Chamaedorea Radicalis
  In the first two pictures above, this is known simply as Radicalis palm to those lucky enough to be acquainted to its many charms.  Deep green pinnate leaves arise from an underground trunk in most cases, but aerial forms have bamboo like trunks and can gain considerable height.  They prefer shade, are hardy to at least 20 degrees with no damage but durable in zone 8 as well, and are versatile when it comes to moisture requirements.  I have grown it in flooded soil to no ill effect before deciding to rip them out and try them in a dry spot under the eaves of the house. 

Since they come from the chaparral oak forest of Mexico, they can tolerate considerable drought.  If you live up north, these make great container plants that can take more cold than most houseplants if left outdoors, so they can be left outside for the majority of the year!  Just bring it inside when its under 20 degrees to be on the safe side. 

If this wasn't a great enough plant already, bright red berries form on female plants in pendant clusters, brightening up your shady garden and attracting birds.  The fronds of Radicalis Palms are even exported from Mexico to the United States for floral arrangements!

Chamaedorea Microspadix
A close cousin of radicalis palm, this one is a must for an Asian look and is a perfect replacement for bamboo where space is an issue.  Just as hardy as radicalis palm, this one is definitely the more graceful of the two and lends itself to intimate areas where its berries and bamboo-esque trunks can be appreciated.  It is a clumping palm, but isn't so vigorous that it can't be kept in check.  The photo on the left was taken at the FSCJ south campus in Jacksonville. These are best grown from fresh seed.

Visit these sites for more info!

Floridata: Chamaedorea Radicalis
Floridata: Chamaedorea Microspadix
Underutilized palms for Central Florida
El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, Mexico (This is where these palms grow!)


  1. Great post! These palms are my thing too, I don't know where to start, I think they're so brilliant!

    Unfortunately I don't have a picture of them in the snow, but a few weeks ago they looked ridiculous in heavy snow under my Acacia dealbata. They took it in their stride.

    Chamaedorea radicalis has to be the most exotic looking palm for the temperate garden.

  2. We do love our tropical and tropical looking plants and successfully grow bamboo, banana, cannas... in our garden but we don't give them much water. Our summers are extremely dry thus we tend to do more with drought tolerant. Excellent post.

  3. Love these two palms. The radicalis is badly in need of a common name, don't you think? Maybe just drop the suffix. Radical palm sounds pretty cool. I want the bamboo palm badly and will have one the day I find a good deal! It could happen.

  4. That does it! I am definitely in love with the Microspadix. But, I have feelings for the Radicalis too.... Thanks for the lovely pictures and info on these two palms. I have a shady, wet area in my backyard just waiting for me to get these guys bought and planted. Good to know the Radicalis did well in a wet spot for you.

  5. Enjoyed your post. We often call the Radicalis the 'Hardy Parlour Palm' because of its resemblance to the Elegans ... both such great palms.

    I have the Chamaedorea seifrizii ... which is also commonly called the Bamboo Palm and has those terrific bamboo-like trunks. It's also an exceptional hardy palm.

  6. These palms are wonderful! I especially like the bamboo palm.

  7. What size and how much are you selling this for?

    1. I am not a nursery so do not offer them for sale. To be honest, I too am looking for a source so that I can buy some more. I got some at a local garden center that is now out of business and the others were from an individual vendor at a garden festival. These palms definitely deserve to be planted more!


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