Palms are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. They have had a significant value to humans from antecedent. In many historical cultures, palms were used to symbolize victory, peace or fertility, however in modern times, palms are widely used in landscaping, making them one of the most economically important plants. Here are 20 types of palms that are naturalised in Florida, United States.
1. Alexander Palm Tree (Archontophoenix Alexandere)
Alexander palm tree grows with a single trunk to average height of 20-30 feet (6-10 meters). The leaves have dark green upper surface with a pale underside. They are twisted rather than flat and carry 60-80 leaflets per 4.5 meter stalk. The base of each stalk is bright green in color and extends 1 meter throughout the crown.
The truck of Alexander palm tree is pale grey with visible leaf scars. Flower-clusters grow directly off the trunk below the level of the palm fronds. These flower-clusters can themselves grow to approximately 3 feet (1 meter) diameter. The flower-cluster bear red berries and when the flower-cluster is spent, it falls to the ground.
2. Phoenix Reclinata (Senegal Date Palm)
Phoenix Reclinata also referred to as Senegal date palm, is a large, evergreen palm tree that is variable in shape and form but tends to grow as clumps composed of multiple stems. The stems are usually slender and covered with brown fiber and tend to curve away from the center of the clump in graceful arcs. A mature specimen of Phoenix reclinata can reach up to 35 feet in height and creates a striking tree which casts a light shade.
Phoenix reclinata are native to tropical and subtropical areas, it has dark green to yellow-green pinnate (feather shaped) fronds. The leaves are up to 2.5-4.5 m long and about 0.9 m wide and recurved attractively toward the ground. Also, the basal portion of the fronds consists of sharp spines.
Phoenix reclinata is unisexual in nature. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Male florets are a dirty, pale yellow and fall off after blooming whereas the female florets are small, globose and yellow-green. The fruits of this palm tree are borne in large, pendant clusters and contain one seed each.
The young, unopened leaves of Phoenix reclinata are used to make mats, carpets, kilts, baskets and hats. Brooms of sweeping around rural dwellings are made from the dried inflorescence.
3. Florida Cherry Palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii)
Florida cherry palm also referred to as Buccaneer palm is a medium-sized palm native to the northern Caribbean, Eastern Mexico and extreme southeast Atlantic Florida. Florida cherry palm is a slow-growing tree with a smooth, light gray, ringed bark which bulges near the middle. The trunk has no crownshaft. The palm often grows near the sea on sandy or limestone soils.
Florida cherry palm tree has a self cleaning grey trunk and is very easy to grow. The tree can grow between 8 to 10 feet tall and has dark-green leaves which are feathery shaped. These leaves are found on top of the trunk and grow up to 7 feet long and 3 feet wide.
In the late summer, Florida cherry palm produces small yellow flowers that grow on a branched inflorescence. Flowers are followed by green berry-like fruits that turn red when ripe.
4. Phoenix Sylvestris (Silver Date Palm)
Phoenix sylvesteris also referred to as silver date palm or sugar date palm. The trunk has a striking diamond pattern that is created by the scars from leaves. The canopy of this palm is dense, exhibits round shape and can provide light shade. It is a fast growing palm that can get up to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
The leaves of silver date palm are 3 m long, gently recurved on 1 m petioles with acanthophylls near the base. The leaf crown grows to 10 m wide and 7.5 to 10 m tall containing up to 100 leaves. Silvesteris are all grown from seed and therefore it is normal to see some variations in appearance across a group.
The silver date palm inflorescence grows to 1 meter with white, unisexual flowers forming to a large, pendent infructescence. The single-seeded fruit ripens to a purple-red color.
5. Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera)
Coconut palm is a large palm growing up to 30 m (100 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4-6 m (10-15 ft) long. The old leaves of this palm tree breaks away leaving the trunk smooth. The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall. Coconut palm requires warm conditions for successful grow and is tolerant to cold weather.
The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value.
6. Fishtail Palm (Caryota)
The Fishtail palm also referred to as Caryota was named for its unusual leaf-shaped like a jagged fish’s tail, which can form thick, swirled layers of ruffled fronds. Fishtail palms on average grow between 10 and 25 feet tall and grow at moderate pace if given the optimum environment. Fishtail palm tree bear both male and female blossoms on the same plant.
7. Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcata)
Foxtail palm is one of the most attractive common palm species around the world. Though it is native to Queensland Australia, foxtail palm is well-adapted to in areas like South Florida where winter temperatures remain warm. It grows to heights of between 10 and 30 feet tall.
Mature foxtail tree hold about eight to ten leaves averaging a length of about six to nine feet. The foxtail trunk is smooth, thin and self-cleaning. The trunk also has a closely ringed, dark grey to light grey color which slowly turns more and whiter with time. The cownshaft of the foxtail palm is light to bright green and slightly swollen at the base.
8. Latania Palm (Latan palm)
Latania commonly referred to as latan palm is easily distinguishable especially when young. This type of palm is easy to grow; it grows in a range of tropical and warm temperate climates. There are three varieties of this palm: Red latan, Blue latan and yellow latan.
Red latan palm has spectacular reddish leaves with stiff, wide segments and bright red leafstalks when young. The yellow latan has yellow petioles, yellow-green leaves and no prickles on the leaflets or petioles. Whereas the blue latan is an evergreen palm adorned with a pale gray trunk topped by a gorgeous canopy of very thick, stiff silver-blue, fan-shaped leaves.
9. Piccabeen (Bangalow Palm)
Bangalow palm commonly referred to as Piccabeen palm is a tough, fast-growing native palm with a dense crown of deep green, feathery fronds and a thin, smooth grey trunk. Forming at the base of the petioles is a prominent green to brown crownshaft from which the leaves flare out.
This grows between 15 to 20 meters in ideal conditions. Its large and pinnate leaves are green in color and can have brown scales on their undersides. The Piccabeen palm produces Small lilac flowers that bloom in June before turning into green fruits that become red when they mature. Piccabeen palm is perfect for creating a grand entrance or lining a driveway.
10. Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen palm is one of the most popular palms for commercial and home landscapes. It a graceful kind of palm with interesting gray bark and glossy fronds that reach more than 10 feet long. At maturity this palm tree can reach the heights of between 30 and 40 feet. Creamy flowers are produced from within the leaves during spring and summer months. They give way to showy, hanging clusters of yellow to orange, edible dates that often accumulate on the ground beneath the canopy.
11. Silver Bismarck (Bismarckia nobillis)
Silver Bismarck palm tree is commonly referred to as Bismarckia nobillis, this type of palm is easy to grow as it is adaptable to a wide range of soils. It is an evergreen palm adorned with a thick trunk topped by a broad rounded head of gorgeous, stiff, intensely silver-blue, fan-shaped fronds, 4 ft long. Bismarck palm grows from solitary trunks, gray to tan in color, which show ringed indentations from old leaf bases. The trunks are 30 to 45 cm in diameter, slightly bulging at the base.
Bismarck palm is dioecious with separate male and female plants. It flowers in the spring or summer, producing pendant inflorescences with small brown flowers. On female plants, the flowers eventually mature and develop into brown fruit containing a single seed.
12. Sabal Palmetto (Cabbage-palm, Carolina Palmetto)
Sabal palmetto also referred to as Cabbage-palm, Blue palmetto or Carolina palmetto is the most widely distributed palm in Florida. It grows in almost any soil and has many uses including food, medicine and landscaping.
Sabal palmetto palms have curved, fan-shaped palm leaves with blades that are 3 to 4 feet long and petioles (leaf-stalks) that are 3 to 6 feet long. A full, round canopy forms on top of the trunk that is 10 to 16 inches in diameter and grows to 40 feet tall. Branched inflorescences occur in late spring and usually extend beyond the leaves, containing thousands of tiny, creamy-white, fragrant flowers. Which give way to shiny, black fruits in late the summer.
The trunks of Sabal palmetto are used for wharf pilings, docks and poles. Brushes and whisk brooms are made from young leafstalk fibers and baskets and hats from the leaf blades.
13. Florida Royal Palm (Roystonea regia)
Florida royal palm also referred to as Cuban royal palm is native to Central America and Southern Florida. The royal palm is a large attractive palm that reaches heights of between 50 and 75 feet tall. The trunk is stout, very smooth and grey-white in color with a characteristic bulge below a distinctive green crownshaft.
Florida palm trees have about 15 leaves which can be between 3 and 4 m long. Its flowers are white with pinkish anthers whereas its fruits are spherical in shape; the fruits are normally green when immature and red or purplish-black when mature.
14. Adonidia Palm (Christmas Palm)
The Adonidia palm commonly referred to as Christmas palm. The common name, ‘’Christmas palm’’ comes from the cluster of bright red fruits that adorn the palm in the late fall and winter, giving the palm, the appearance of being decorated for the holidays. Christmas palm are sometimes in Florida referred to as Manila palms. The adonidia palm has a central crown of feathery, 4-foot-long leaves. The palm is typically fairly small and slender, normally attaining 15-25 feet in height with a 6-inch diameter trunk but can attain 35 feet when grown in greenhouse conditions.
Adonidia palm is self cleaning, meaning that once a leaf dies, it drops off cleanly on its own. This characteristic is great for reducing pruning requirements in the landscape. For increased visual interest, this palm is often planted in groups of two or four. Clumping the palms causes each trunk to grow outward in a graceful curve.
15. The Key Thatch Palm (Leucothrinax morrissii)
The key thatch palm commonly referred to as Silver Thatch palm, is a small palm or shrub-like with a straight, erect trunk. The palm is native to Florida, United States. The leaves of this palm are stiff, fan-shaped, pale green above, silver or green on the underside and are about 2-3 ft in diameter. Its flowers are showy and white turning yellow. Its fruit is a round white drupe. Key thatch palms are drought and salt resistant and tolerate a variety of well-drained, fertile soils.
16. Washington Robusta (Mexican Fan Palm)
The Washington Robusta also referred to as Mexican fan palm is a stylish and elegant palm. It is a fast growing type of palm which does not take a very long time to establish itself and looks gorgeous even when young. The palm has a tall, slender reddish trunk that swells towards the base topped by a crown of large, bright green, fan-shaped leaves, with cotton-like threads hanging from each leaf.
17. Everglades Palms (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii)
Everglades palms also referred to as Paurotis palm grow in dense clusters of tall, slender trunks, each covered in coarse fibers and dry leaf bases. Fronds are thin and fan-shaped, with a light green color. Flowers are somewhat showy and are followed by dense bunches of orange fruit that can extend past the fronds and turn black as they ripen.
Beyond Florida, everglades palm is native to the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, Central America and Colombia’s Caribbean Islands where it grows in swamps and periodically flooded forests. When kept well-trimmed, this palm is known for looking extremely attractive especially with nighttime up-lighting.
18. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Areca palm also referred to as butterfly palm, golden cane or bamboo palm is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens in tropical and subtropical regions and elsewhere indoors as a houseplant. The palm is native to Madagascar and naturalized in the Southern Florida, Jamaica, Canary Island and Cuba. It tends to average only 6 to 7 feet tall. Long evergreen leaf stems shoot up from the golden stalks and arch outward and down. The small white flowers and dark purple oblong fruits can appear year-round.