Scientific: Bismarckia nobilis 
Common: Bismarck palm
Family: Arecaceae
Origin: Madagascar Island

Pronounciation: Biz-MAR-kee-a NO-be-lis

Hardiness zones
Sunset
13 (with protection)-17, 19-24
USDA 9 (with protection)-11

Landscape Use: Accent to focal point palm, a classy palm for mesic or oasis landscape design themes, large parks and open spaces, foundation accent palm for large buildings. Bismarck palm is NOT for small yards or landscape spaces!!! 

Form & Character: Stiff, upright and visually imposing, almost cartoon-like in appearance, massive when mature.

Growth Habit: This is a slow growing single trunk palm that might eventually reach a height of 50 feet with a 20 feet spread in urban conditions. Eventually it forms a stout, large trunk.

Foliage/texture: Very large green or glaucous, palmate, silver blue fronds (people tend to more value the form with silver blue fronds) that present in a single plane. Fronds on a long thick petiole can be as large as 6 to 10 feet wide with a beautiful pattern of veination; very coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Small flowers born in panicled clusters on purplish to gray green stalks, fruit round, green when immature ripening to dark brown.

Seasonal color: None

Temperature: Cold hardy to 20oF, might need protection in the coldest locations of the greater Phoenix area.

Light: Full sun to partial shade best in Phoenix (eastern exposures).

Soil: Tolerant of most desert soil conditions, but prefers a sandier, well-drained soil.

Watering: In Phoenix, needs regular supplemental water (irrigation) during summer; but be careful to not over water.

Pruning: Sparingly remove old living or dead fronds ALWAYS leaving a full canopy of live healthy, mature fronds. Do not excessively prune Bismarck palm (like the local hort clods do to Mexican and California fan palms) because the growth of new fronds is very slow.

Propagation: Easy, but slow by seed (if you can find them). Collect only unblemished and significantly overripe fruit; clean and dry seeds for later sowing. Germinate under warm, moistened and clean conditions, usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: Bismarck palm is a 'noble' palm and is the only species in its genus.

This palm is very expensive ($) to purchase and is of lesser availability in Phoenix. Because of its imposing visual presence even when young, this palm is not suitable for smaller landscape sites. It is reported to not transplant as well as other palm species when young because of its extensive taproot. In the United States, it is grown in coastal southern California, Phoenix, south Texas, central south Florida panhandle, and Hawaii. The green frond form is reported to thrive under cooler, moist coastal condition (i.e. southern California); whereas, the silver blue frond form is reported to thrive under hot arid or tropical conditions (i.e. Phoenix).

The genus Bismarckia is named for the first chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck.