Nannorrhops ritchieana, Mazari Palm or Afghan Palm, is a tough palmate-leafed palm from the eastern Middle East where it grows at elevations to 1500m in arid often alkaline limestone soils. Named after James Ritchie, the tragic British explorer and naturalist who died during an expedition to follow the course of the River Niger, it is often mis-spelt Nannorrhops ritchiana. A low and very slow-growing palm, its habit is somewhat similar to Sabal minor or Rhapidophyllum hystrix, although - as you would expect from a desert plant - it does have long water-seeking roots. Nannorrhops ritchieana is hardy but needs full sun in the summer and to be kept perfectly dry during the winter. Because of these cultivation factors it is best grown in a container while small before a decision is made for its final location.
A choice and very desirable palm, Nannorrhops ritchieana is not often encountered in collections.
|Synonyms||Chamaerops ritchieana, Nannorrhops arabica, Nannorrhops naudiniana, Nannorrhops stocksiana, often mis-spelt as Nannorrhops ritchiana|
|Geographical Origin||Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan|
|Cultivation||Warm, sheltered south-facing aspect. Full sun. Rich, sandy, gritty and well-drained soil. Feed and water well throughout the growing season. Keep dry in winter. Will need winter protection with fleece|
|Eventual Height||2-3 m|
|Eventual Spread||2 m|
|Hardiness||Hardy if kept dry in winter. Best suited to milder locations like London or warm coastal regions. Container culture is best when still small. A rocky mulch. Sheltered aspect in a favourable microclimate. It will be sensible to fleece this valuable palm|
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