Bismarckia nobilis young plant

Bismarckia nobilis or Bismarck Palm is a palm tree with spectacular, big blue leaves.

It is the only member of the genus Bismarckia.

A rather difficult palm tree that will do well in warm climates: the warmer, the stronger it grows.


Bismarckia nobilis grows up to 25 m high in its habitat, seldom higher than 12 m in culture. The stipe is gray-brown, has a diameter of 30 to 45 cm and is slightly bulging at the base. A young pseudo-stem bears scars of the old leaves, an older pseudo-stem is smooth.

The leaves are fan-shaped, nearly round and up to 3 m wide. They are cut to 1/3 of the length into 20 and more pleated sections which are split at the end.

The petiole is 2-3 m long, thorned and covered with white wax. It is 10 cm in diameter.

The leaf crown is almost spherical and about 7.5 m wide and 6 meters high. Even young specimens have a large leaf crown with 25 leaves and the maximum width. So, even young it needs quite a lot of space.

The palm is dioecious. Inflorescence pendulous, it emerges between the leaves. The flowers are small and brown. The fruit is a 3 cm brown oval-shaped drupe with 1 seed.

Most specimens are silver-blue but there is also a green variety which is less cold-resistant but grows faster.


Common name:

Bismarck Palm


Medemia nobilis


Bismarckia: in honor of German chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Nobilis: Latin (noble)

Bismarckia nobilis mature




Plains, plateaus


USDA zone 9-11, -3 °C for young plants and -5 °C for older plants.
Leaves may die at -3 °C but if well protected, growth may resume next spring.




Well drained




Mature plants are drought resistant but more water will result in faster growth. Keep soil moist for young plants.


in USDA zone 8 and colder it is best to keep it inside at minimum 10 °C


When the palm becomes too big for its pot.


Sowing instructions:

  • soak 2 days in lukewarm water
  • sow at 2 cm depth in sandy mix
  • 30 °C
  • germination time: 1 month