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The Mule Palm, X Butyagrus nabonnandii, is one of the most beautiful of all
the frost-hardy pinnate-leaved palms. Its rarity and useful size make it a
treasure for warm climate gardens, bringing coconut-like lushness to areas
where the frost-tender true coconut (Cocos nucifera) would not prosper.
Although nurseries and palm fanciers may deliberately create the cross, as
Paul Nabonnand did early in the 20th century, these rare trees more often
arise as accidental hybrids among seedlings planted where their parents (a
Queen Palm, Syagrus romanzoffiana, and a Pindo Palm, Butia capitata)
occur near one another. Young Mule Palms usually grow at a rapid pace
and, when established, can be expected to survive low temperatures to
near 17F depending on the individual tree
and its unique inheritance. Although compact enough for small courtyard
gardens, with age the Mule Palm assumes majestic proportions, and in
clusters or pairs will produce gracefully curving trunks and lush crowns
reminiscent of the Coconut. These specimens are unique and carefully
prepared X Butiagrus nabonnandii ideal for avenues, group plantings, or
any landscape purpose.
Culture: X Butiagrus nabonnandii thrives in sun or light shade and will
tolerate drought. The trees exhibit hybrid vigor and tolerate a range of soil
types from clay to sand. As with most palms, good drainage is most
important. The trees grow well in coastal areas and is salt water tolerate
and cold hardy.
Common Names: Mule Palm, Butyagrus, Butiagrus, Hybrid palm, Butia Queen Cross, Hybrid, Butia x Syagrus
Cold Tolerance: 14F (-10C). Some trees have withstood temperatures as
low as 10F (-12C).