Most palm enthusiasts believe that the distinguished Bismarck palm, Bismarckia nobilis, is rare because it does not like local climates. It can be damaged by frost in winter, and prefers warmer weather in summer. Another concern is that they get too broad for compact urban gardens, since their shady foliar canopies can get more than twenty feet wide. However, a few seemingly happy specimens are sometimes seen about town.
Foliage of this rare palm is strikingly silvery gray. Green Bismarck palms are even more scarce, both because they are less tolerant to frost, and because they are not so striking. The big and rather rounded leaves are more than six feet wide, and maybe up to eight feet wide, on petioles (stalks) about six to eight feet long!