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Products > Beaucarnea guatemalensis
Beaucarnea guatemalensis - Red Ponytail Plant

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Beaucarnea guatemalensis
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Nolinoidae (Asparagaceae)
Origin: Guatemala (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Creamy White
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [Nolina guatemalensis]
Height: 12-16 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Beaucarnea guatemalensis (Red Ponytail Plant) - A very ornamental plant that forms a massive swollen base to 4 to 5 feet wide, often with a nice bark pattern. From this base arises thick branched stems to 15 feet tall bearing at their tips a head of long green narrow leaves that are glossy and slightly twisted and often red near their base or when new leaves flush out. It is similar to the more common Beaucarnea recurvata in many respects, but leaves are glossier, longer and often flushed with red. Flowering occurs fairly rarely in cultivation but when it does a spike of green flowers rise up on a stock several from the center of the leaf rosettes. After flowering the surrounding leaves wither and the plant branches out with new leaf clusters.

Plant in full to part sun outdoors and good bright light indoors and water infrequently to occasionally late spring to fall. Protect from cold much below freezing - we have had this plant outdoors over winter without protection that has not been damaged at short duration temperatures down to 25 F. A great plant for a specimen in the garden or in pots.

Beaucarnea is a genus of plants distributed only within Mexico and central America (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and possibly Nicaragua) and this species is native to dry areas of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Some have combined Beaucarnea into the related genus, Nolina, but we follow the treatment noted by Colin Walker in theIllustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons (edited by Urs Eggli, Springer, 2001) who notes that "Rowley considered Beaucarnea and Calibanus to be synonymous with Nolina. However the cpDNA data strongly indicates that Beaucarnea and Calibanus are closely related but distinct from Nolina Nolina, with 3-locular ovaries, is considered basal to the other genera. Like Dasylirion, Beaucarnea has 3-winged 1 locular nutlets." The name for the genus honors Jean-Baptiste Beaucarne, a 19th century Belgian plant collector and horticulturist who first collected a flowering specimen of this plant. The French botanist Charles Antoine Lemaire came up with this name when he described Beaucarnea gracilis in L'illustration horticole in 1861 from plants already in cultivation that he had called Pincenectitia (also Pincecnitia. Pincinectia and Pincenectiua). Other common names for this species include Guatemala Pony Tail, Curly Pony Tail, and Izote (a named shared with some yuccas). The specific epithet American botanist Joseph Nelson Rose gave when he described the species references the location that his fellow botanist William Ashbrook Kellerman collected the Type Plant specimen in a rocky ravine on the south side of the Sierra de las Minas, opposite El Rancho in Guatemala. 

This information about Beaucarnea guatemalensis displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.