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Tropical / Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii)

Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii) Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii) Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii)
Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii) Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii) Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii)
Benstonea (Benstonea thwaitesii)
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This rare screw palm species is found in dense, moist forests along the coast of Sri Lanka and India.

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Family: Pandanaceae
Scientific name: Benstonea thwaitesii
Common name: Benstonea 
Origin: India and Sri Lanka

This rare screw palm species is found in dense, moist forests along the coast of Sri Lanka and India. The species is particularly notable for its unusual, pale yellow inflorescence that grows hanging down. Because of this graceful flowering, the plant is sometimes planted in tropical gardens, but in general the species is rarely seen. After flowering, hard, woody drupes develop with a fibrous base. Surrounding that fiber is an orange-like pulp with a sweet odor and taste. This pulp is edible, but must be thoroughly cooked before use. The leaf has a prickly leaf edge and can grow up to 2 feet long. Because of its strong fibers, it can be used for such things as weaving mats. The plant is also used in India and Sri Lanka as a partition around rice fields. 

The species can be kept as a houseplant and likes a sunny position and a sandy soil. 

Sowing directions: First soak the large seed in water for 24 hours. Then sow just below the surface of sowing and cutting soil and keep soil constantly slightly moist. At 25-30 degC germination can occur after 4 weeks to several months. Several plants can grow from 1 seed and can be planted out later. 

Sowing time: Whole year
Difficulty: Intermediate
Minimum temperature: 12 degrees Celsius
 

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