Rhapis excelsa KODARUMA variety
The Aristocratic Lady Palm
Rhapis excelsa
Elegantly graceful, adorned with richly patterned leaves, and displaying exquisite beauty, Rhapis excelsa have acquired the popular name of "Lady Palms". Rare, slow-growing, 'and extremely versatile, they are undemanding and long-lived. 

Enchanted by these exceptional qualities, the Japanese first began collecting Rhapis from China in the 17th century, as exclusive possessions for the Imperial palaces and the highest levels of nobility. 

During the 1800s, the fame of these esteemed palms spread throughout the world. Rhapis excelsa became prized specimens in European conservatories, classic parlor palms of wealthy Americans, and landscape features of the finest botanical gardens. These early cultivated palms were a tall "standard" form, often growing more than 14' in height and attaining immense width. Consequently it became known as the "Large Lady Palm". 


Lady Palms of Distinction
Miniature Green & Variegated Varieties
Rhapis excelsa KOBAN & ZUIKO- LUTINO varieties
As interest in large Rhapis excelsa expanded around the globe, Japanese Samurai began cultivating dwarf green and variegated forms, especially suited for indoor use. Unusual leaf shapes and growth habits eventually appeared and each distinctive variety was named and classified. These highly selected cultivars developed into an array of "Miniature Lady Palms", some reaching only 5' or 6' of height after decades of growth. 

Over 100 different varieties are presently known in the Orient. Though these "pedigreed palms" can only be propagated by division and remain limited in supply, a national fascination has emerged in Japan and rare variegated specimens of dwarf Rhapis excelsa are in high demand. 

"Miniature Lady Palms" have now become important additions to American interiors and landscapes. In the home, executive office, or garden, these aristocratic plants become a focal point and reflect the quiet dignity of their Far Eastern heritage. 

Named Varieties of Rhapis Excelsa
Uniquely, Rhapis excelsa is the only ornamental palm species with named green and variegated varieties, each having a distinctive leaf shape and growth habit. A selection of these miniature cultivars provides an exciting choice of exotic shapes and textures which are almost unlimited. 
Rhapis excelsa ZUIKONISHIKI variegated
Variegated Rhapis! These supreme "Lady Palms" are rarities of the palm world. Each named variety displays a stunning pattern of stripes and provides a dramatic highlight to any collection. A 6" R.excelsa 'ZUIKONISHKI' variegated is shown above. 

The Versatile Varieties of Rhapis excelsa
For elegant interiors & distinguished gardens
Rhapis excelsa easily adapt to low light interior or shaded tropical and subtropical landscapes. They have a wide temperature range from 18 to 100 degrees F, and adjust to the cool, dry climate of California as well as the hot, steamy summers of Gulf Coast areas.  Popular as patio plants in northern regions, they require only a brief period of protection during the coldest winter months. "Miniature Lady Palms" are one of the few prestigious ornamental species which offer such widespread indoor and outdoor use.  
Rhapis excelsa ZUIKO-LUTINO variegated
Available in many shapes and sizes, "Lady Palms" can be graceful accents and important collectables in any interior from traditional to contemporary. The R.excelsa 'ZUIKO-LUTINO' above is in an 8" decorative container. 

Dwarf Varieties of Rhapis excelsa 
Known as "Miniature Lady Palms"
MINIATURE (dwarf) defined: smaller than others of its kind; reduced scale; plants that are unusually small. 

MINIATURE LADY PALMS (dwarf varieties of Rhapis excelsa): Smaller forms of the Large Lady Palm (standard Rhapis excelsa). 

While the common "Large Lady Palm is usually found in 6' to 14' heights, "Miniature Lady Palms" provide shorter, fully developed specimens 1' to 8' tall. These small, named varieties have a fast-clumping growth habit and are available in 5" to 17" pot sizes. No other fine ornamental palm offers such an extensive selection of sizes and flexibility of design. 

Rhapis excelsa KOBAN & TENZAN varieties
R.excelsa 'KOBAN' 6' tall   &   'TENZAN' 32" tall
Since miniature varieties of Rhapis excelsa are slow growing, palm size is an important consideration. If you like to watch small plants grow (slowly) bigger, choose a 5" pot size. If you prefer more stately specimens, select a larger palm. 

The tall specimens shown in these pictures are examples of our oldest Rhapis, cultivated over 20 years in greenhouse conditions for maximum growth. If you are interested in our "Texas sized Dwarfs" 5' to 8' tall in 17' pot sizes, contact us for availability, prices, and shipping methods. They are too large for UPS, but can be sent to your address by motor or air freight. 

Our Rhapis are grown and sold in plastic containers. Some of our palms are shown potted in clay Bonsai Pots with saucers, in a rich chocolate color. These and other superb containers such as the hand enameled "Nishiki" pots from Japan can be purchased separately. The Rhapis excelsa 'DARUMA' below is in a 9" Bonsai Pot. 

Rhapis excelsa DARUMA variety
  Green Varieties of Rhapis excelsa
 Each has an individual leaf shape & growth habit.
Rhapis excelsa KOBAN variety
Rhapis excelsa 'KOBAN' 

'KOBAN', the most popular variety, has wide leaf segments, a medium growth rate, and a full spreading growth habit. Besides being "distinctively different", this easy-to-grow Rhapis is an excellent interior palm. 

[Shown in a 7" brass decorative container]
Rhapis excelsa 'DARUMA' 

'DARUMA' is a classic cultivar with leaves resembling the large "standard" Rhapis excelsa. It has a medium growth rate and a tall, upright shape. This variety is a favorite of those who prefer narrow leaf segments and the traditional look of Lady Palms. 

[Shown in a 6" brass pot]
Rhapis excelsa DARUMA variety
Rhapis excelsa TENZAN variety
Rhapis excelsa 'TENZAN' 

'TENZAN', an extremely unusual Lady Palm, has long curving leaves and an elegant slender form. A fast grower, it is the tallest of all named varieties. One word says it all -- dramatic! 

[Shown in a 10" decorative container]

Mini-Dwarf Varieties of Rhapis excelsa

Mini-dwarf Rhapis excelsa are exquisite examples of the 300 year old Japanese tradition of cultivating the shortest, slowest-growing varieties of Rhapis excelsa. 

Rhapis excelsa KODARUMA & GYOKUHO varieties
     'KODARUMA'                  'GYOKUHO' 
    7" Nishiki Pot, front Dragon design     5" Nishiki Pot, back Dragon design

The mini-dwarf cultivars, 'GYOKUHO' and 'KODARUMA are excellent for collectors of dwarf specimens, bonsai gardens, or areas requiring small, very special ornamental palms. 
Rhapis excelsla KODARUMA variety
R. excelsa 'KODARUMA'

'KODARUMA', the ultimate mini-palm, is the shortest of all Rhapis. This slow grower puts lots of energy into producing pups, so it grows "out" more than "up'. Small leaves on miniature canes personifies the word "dwarf". Irresistible! 

[Shown in 10" & 7" brass pots]
Rhapis excelsa 'GYOKUHO'

'GYOKUHO' is a pixie palm with small oval leaves and a short bushy growth habit. It slowly adds only a few inches of height per year and produces numerous offshoots. Nicknamed the "bush baby", this variety is a favorite of almost everyone. 

[Shown in a 5" Nishiki Pot with Dragon design]
Rhapis excelsa GYOKUHO variety
Unlike the large "standard" Rhapis excelsa which easily reaches 14' of height or the dwarf varieties 'KOBAN, 'DARUMA', and 'TENZAN' which slowly grow 6' tall ... the mini-dwarf cultivars 'KODARUMA' and 'GYOKUHO' may only attain 4' of height after 30 or 40 years of age such as the ones shown below with Lynn McKamey at the Huntington Botanical Garden, San Marino, California. 

Lynn McKamey at Huntington Gardens

Variegated Rhapis excelsa
Rarities of the palm world
'ZUIKONISHIKI' 6" Nishiki Pot "Scroll" design

In the plant kingdom, variegated palms are almost nonexistent. Rhapis are a rare exception and offer an array of striped varieties for the most discriminating collections. 
Rhapis excelsa ZUIKONISHIKI variegated
Rhapis excelsa 'ZUIKONISHIKI'

This regal Rhapis has white and green striped leaves which distinguish it as the most vivid variegated. Quite elegant. 

[Shown in 5" Nishiki Pot with Dragon design]
Rhapis excelsa 'ZUIKO-LUTINO'

Creamy white leaves with, green stripes. A sport of 'Zuikonishiki", this Lady's unusual name was chosen from the term "lutino", used to describe white birds having a touch of color. 

[Shown in a 5" clay Bonsai Pot]
Rhapis excelsa ZUIKO-LUTINO variegated
Rhapis excelsa CHIYODAZURU variegated
Rhapis excelsa 'CHIYODAZURU'

This exceptional variegated is one of the most perfectly striped varieties. Each leaf displays fine, narrow pen-stripes. Easy to grow and a superb choice. 

[Shown in a 6" short Nishiki Pot]

Rhapis excelsa 'KOTOBUKI'

An outstanding variegated with a tall, elegant form. White stripes on green leaves make this lady quite stunning. 

[Shown in a 7" Nishiki pot - Dragon design]
Dwarf Rhapis excelsa are a delight. Treat yourself to one or start a collection. You will find that each Lady has an elegant and unique personality all her own.

Link to book information
"Secret of the Orient" by Lynn McKamey is a 52 page reference to all types of "Lady Palms" including standard Rhapis excelsa and other species. Chapters include the 300 year old history of Rhapis, complete culture and care, plus bonsai suggestions. Numerous color photographs, illustrations, and charts are included. 

Portions of this book have been reprinted in trade publications, consumer magazines, and scientific journals. The 12 page culture chapter contains everything you need to know about growing, propagating, and maintaining your Rhapis. It can also be used as a guide to most indoor palms and many houseplants. 

Copies are available for $12 each postpaid to U.S. addresses; $15 to overseas addresses. Send check or money order in U.S. funds to RHAPIS GARDENS-WWW, P.O.BOX 287, GREGORY, TX 78359 USA. 

To read more about "Secret of the Orient", click on the book above.
Go to Rhapis Gardens "Lady Palm" Catalog Page.

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