Perhaps the hardiest palm in the world, taking temperatures well below 0F; has reportedly survived winters as far north as Massachusetts. Native to the Coastal Plains from South Carolina to Florida and Mississippi. Shrubby and very slow growing, eventually reaching 68 feet tall and wide; does not have a distinct trunk. The common name refers to the sharp black needles that protect the plant's crown and seeds. Dramatic-looking leaf fans are carried at the ends of smooth stemsthey are lustrous dark green, to 3 feet across, deeply cut into 6 to 12 segments.
Needle palm tolerates a wide range of soils and resists damage by browsing deer. Makes a good accent or understory plant. It's hard to find in garden centers and is usually purchased by mail. Buy only nursery-propagated plants, not those collected from the wild.