We’ve been very pleased with a series of new windmill palm hybrids in the garden as we approach another winter stress test. Trachycarpus x forceps is our assigned name for crosses between Trachycarpus fortunei and Trachycarpus princeps. While most Trachycarpus fortunei is winter hardy here in Zone 7b, the lovely Chinese/Tibetan border endemic, Trachycarpus princeps, with its silver backed leaves, has not been so happy–we’ve killed four, so far.

Several years ago, we were thrilled to acquire seed of several different crosses of the same hybrid. Since all crosses between the same species must use the same nothospecific name, we assigned each with an additional seed strain cultivar names to distinguish the different parents and which was the mother and father. In plant breeding, the mother is always listed first..

*T. princeps x T. fortunei ‘Wagnerianus’ = Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Prince’

*T. fortunei ‘Wagnerianus’ x T. princeps = Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Wags’

*T. princeps x T. fortunei = Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Silver Mine’

*T. fortunei x T. princeps = Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Fortune’

Below is a 4.5 year old plant of Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Wags’–our oldest specimen.

Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Wags’

Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Fortune’ has been in the ground for 2.5 years. This is the cross using straight T. fortunei as the mom and T. princeps as the dad.

Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Fortune’

Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Prince’, below, has been in the ground for 2.5 years also. Here, Trachycarpus princeps was the mom parent.

Trachycarpus x forceps ‘Prince’

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