Scientific: Brahea brandegeei (formerly known as Erythea brandegeei)
Common: San Jose hesper palm, palma del taco, palmilla
Family: Areaceae
Origin: Baja California

Pronounciation: Bra-HEE-a bran-de-GE-a

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Vertical accent for many land uses, oasis landscape design theme

Form & Character: Upright, yet a very refined presence in the landscape.

Growth Habit: Slow growth rate when young increasing over time, growing rarely to 100 feet (but that'll take more than a lifetime), it's ultimately the tallest of the Brahea palms; not self shedding.

Foliage/Texture: Costapalmately-compound fronds, green above, glaucous below on slender, armed petioles, medium coarse texture (though not as coarse textured as palmately compound frond palms attaining similar height, e.g. Washingtonia).

Flowers & Fruits: Unusually hermaphroditic, flower stalks arising from among the leaves, shorter than the leaves unlike B. armata. Fruit is shiny dark brown and round when ripe, 0.6 to 0.8 inch in diameter.

Seasonal Color: Long extended floral stalks in late spring.

Temperature: More cold sensitive than B. armata, damaged below 22oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Tolerant

Watering: Variable - apply water deeply but infrequently to regular.

Pruning: Only remove old fronds. Do not over prune by removing living, green fronds like 'hort clod' arborists do with Washingtonia.

Propagation: Solely seed propagated - difficult. Collect fresh seed in late summer and early autumn. Like other Brahea taxa, seeds of San Jose hesper palm can be very erratic to germinate. I've had limited success with moisten peat moss filled baggies. However, I have found that if I broadcast and lightly till seeds into my highly amended very moist garden soil, they will uniformly germinate in June and July.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: San Jose hesper plam is a totally classy specimen palm that makes a wonderful landscape palm substitute for Washingtonia robusta; if only it were more readily available.