The Queen palm or Cocus palm as it is also known, originates from South America and is a popular ornamental tree in the sub-tropical and tropical areas in South Africa.
Syagrus romanzoffiana is a single trunk palm that can easily reach 15m in height or more. The trunk tends to be thick and fairly smooth and it is not unusual to see faint growth rings on the surface. The crown is rounded with long, almost feathery leaves that are dark green in colour. Older leaves turn brown and tend to droop alongside the trunk, making the tree look untidy. It is advisable to trim these leaves away as this palm is not ‘self-cleaning’ and falling branches could be dangerous.
The Queen palm produces flowers and fruit below the canopy of leaves. The flowers are fairly woody with a sharp point and the fruit mature from green to a bright yellow. The fruit is edible and is sought after by birds and monkeys especially.
Although not considered drought tolerant, the Queen palm can survive periods of low water as well as slightly colder conditions. The root system can be a bit invasive if planted close to a structure, but usually would not hurt foundations in general.
The fast growing Queen palm enjoys well drained soil and will thrive on regular watering during the summer months. This is an ideal specimen tree that will add that ‘tropical island’ feel to your garden.