Roystonea regia (Royal Palm) Description
Roystonea regia commonly known as royal palm. It is a beautiful palm. As, the name Royal palm says it all, that it is a noble palm in the plant kingdom and makes a memorable impression when it is grow fully. This palm is indigenous to Cuba and Honduras, and cultivate in Pakistan as an ornamental plant. Moreover, this palm is unique and unequal among the other palms in grace and beauty.
- Common names: It is commonly known as Royal palm, Cuban Royal palm or Florida Royal palm.
- Occurrence: It is abundantly occurs throughout the hillsides and valleys of Cuba, Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida and U.S.A.
- Synonyms: Roystonea regia is also known from its synonyms such as Roystonea elata, Roystonea florida, Palma elata, Oreodoxa regia etc.
- Stem: Roystonea regia has a solitary erect stem that can reach up to 40 m in height and 40-60 cm in diameter. Its stem is thick towards the middle and base, greyish white in colour and smooth in texture.
- Leaves: The leave scars are present at regular closely space but not prominent. The leaves are long about 4 m in length, drooping and divided into numerous leaflets. The pinnae are arrange on either side of rachis with a glabrous petiole.
- Crown: The crown consists of 15-18 leaves. The crown shaft is round, bright, glossy green, and up to 2 m long.
- Inflorescence: The inflorescence is profusely branch.
- Flowers: Flowers are unisexual both male and female flowers are borne on the same inflorescence. The male flowers are white with pinkish anthers and are much larger than the female flowers. Flowering period occurs throughout the year.
- Fruits: The fruits are fleshy, globose, 1-1.2 cm long and purplish black when ripe.
- Ecology: The birds and bats eat its fruits and helps to disperse seeds. Its flowers are visited by birds and bats and a source of food for them.
Landscaping Ideas of Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia is a commonly ornamental plant. The original habitat of this tree are rainforests, woodlands, open savannas and wet places.
- Outdoor Landscape: It is mostly grow outdoor as a street tree in tropical and subtropical regions. Its neat appearance makes it a good choice for highways and residential landscapes.
- Indoor Landscape: It can also grow as indoor plant. A shade screen patio will provide a better environment for seedlings and young plant.
How to grow Roystonea regia
Roystonea regia can propagate through seeds. For germination, seeds are soak in water for 5 days. Then, they are sow in pots fill with mixture of peat and sand. The viable seeds will take 2 months for germination. The pots are preserve under 24˚C, low humidity and average light. Too much watering cause rotting of seeds. The pots should be cover with plastic sheet.
The first leaf that appear will be different from other leaves. Therefore, the plant will look like a weed in initial stages. When the plant will develop a little then it should be place a large pot. However, the young seedlings are more attractive and can be place in pots either in indoor or outdoor.
How to take care Roystonea regia
- Tropical plant: Roystonea regia is plant of lowland tropics, especially in high rainy areas.
- Soil: It prefers well-drained soil.
- Temperature: The plant needs full sunlight and can tolerate occasional light frost with below temperature up to -2˚C.
- Watering: The plant prefers adequate amount of watering to look fresh. In summers, frequent watering will prevent the soil from drying out. It can also tolerate occasional drought or flooding.
- Hardiness Zone: Its USDA hardiness zone is 10-11. It is cold and little snow tolerant but best suitable in frost-free areas.
- Fertilization: It needs a slow release fertilizer that contains all micro nutrients and trace elements for fast growth.
- Pruning: The fronds that are damage, dry or disease will prune as it looks poor. The leaves that are somehow green will not prune. Palm can also recycle nutrient from dead fronds and use them.
- Tolerance: The plant is also highly tolerant to salt drift and grow near salty water and on the beaches.
Uses and Benefits of Roystonea regia
The young buds are use as vegetable but eating buds leads to the death of tree as the plant is unable to form a side shoot. The leaves are used for thatching. The stem is use to make furniture. The trunks are cut for construction purposes. An oil is obtain from their seeds.