Butiagrus nabonnandii, also known as XButiagrus or Butyagrus, is best known by the more common name Mule Palm. The Mule palm is a intergenetic cross between two Genus’ of palms, the Butia and Syagrus, and most commonly this cross is performed using Butia ordorata and Syagrus romanzoffianum.
While this cross can be naturally occurring, it is most often performed by regional hybridizers that have an understanding of the work involved to create the process. To simplify it here, when the flower spathe opens on the Butia species is has all the male flowers carefully removed, leaving the female flowers. Once the female flowers become receptive, they are then pollinated several times using the pollen harvested from the Syagrus palm. A successful pollination sees the seeds starting to swell on the bract, and within a few months time they ripen and are ready to harvest.
So why go through all this work to create a hybrid when mother nature has been doing this for centuries with regular palms trees?
Hybrids like the mule palm bring several things to the landscape the neither parent can on their own. First, the mule palm brings the Butia cold hardiness to the mix, and is able to withstand low temperatures into the upper teens Fahrenheit. Second, the mule palm brings a more plumose crown of fronds thanks to the Syagrus, giving it a more tropical look. Thirdly, as the name say, the Mule palm does NOT produce seed, which many homeowners despise as they seed of both parents are known to create a huge sticky mess and attracts critters of all sorts, something that many homeowners despise. Lastly, mule palm seedlings inherit what’s known as hybrid vigor and will grow at a rate much faster that the parents with proper care and favorable growing conditions.
So with that, what is ultimately created is a more tropical looking, cold hardy palm that can transform your landscape into the envy of the entire neighborhood!
These mule palm seedlings for sale are about a year and a half old and are currently growing in 4″x4″x5″ pots and are ready to be upsized into one gallon pots. Visit my store to view available of mule palms for sale and other plants.