34 Different Types of Palm Trees (With Their Characteristics)

Overview

Members of the family Arecaceae, palm trees are an ancient and diverse group of trees that grace commercial, public and home landscaping, thriving in warm climates around the world. They’re prized by home gardeners for their large, attractive leaves and generally low maintenance.

There are generally over 1500 species of palm trees with each species exhibiting an enormous diversity in physical characteristics and inhabit nearly every type of habitat within their range, from rainforests to deserts.

Although palm trees thrive in spring and summer, they may be transplanted at any time of the year. Palm trees bear fruits containing one or multiple seeds. Many of these fruits are hard or tough and suitable for consumption only by wildlife, such as birds and squirrels. However, a number of palms produce fruit that is good for human consumption or useful for other commercial purposes.

Do your homework first if you want to plant palm trees on your landscape, because they need special care from planting through their first year.

Varieties of Palm Trees For Indoor And Outdoor

1. Areca Palms (Dypsis Lutescens)

Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) also referred to as golden cane palm, yellow palm or butterfly palm is one of the most indoor widely used palms for bright interiors. The palms have smooth, sometimes golden trunks that are reminiscent of bamboo culms. Their fronds are narrow and full, almost like bamboo leaves.  It one of the few types of palms that can tolerate pruning without seriously getting affected, making it possible to keep mature plants indoors for their full lifespan of up to 10 years.

An Areca palm requires a lot of bright, indirect light. The palm requires a lot of water especially if grown outdoors, but grows poorly when planted in water logged soils. It requires the soil that is rich but well-drained. It is also important to note that the areca palm is sensitive to buildup of fertilizer salts and grows well between temperatures of 55oF (13oC) and 75oF (24oC).

2. Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)

Kentia (Howea forsteriana), also commonly known as the sentry or thatch leaf palm, is a slow-growing palm prized for its graceful, arching fronds and ability to achieve an impressive height even with fairly low levels of light.

Kentia palm (Howea forsterana) is often grown indoors. A slender, upright stature and tolerance for medium to low light make kentia palms ideal houseplants. People often use kentia palms, also known as sentry palms, in living rooms, floral arrangements and office settings.

Kentia palms can also grow outdoors. In a container, a kentia palm may grow as tall as 10 feet. Palms can’t be pruned to a smaller height, so in the event that these plants outgrow their location, they must be moved to a more suitable place.

3. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)

The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is a very popular, easy-to-grow type of indoor palm plant.  Also called the neanthe bella palm, this plant enhances the feel of the tropics, growing long arching fronds with feathery green leaves. They thrive in indirect light conditions and in standard room temperatures, making them an effective addition to any space that needs a touch of green.

As it matures, the plant may eventually produce small flowers which then turn into small berry fruits, but the flowers don’t add much to the lush appearance of the greenery. Parlor palm is a slow grower and can take years to reach full height (2 to 6 feet indoors; 6 to 16 feet outdoors). The parlor palm plant is non-toxic for animals and humans.

4. Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)

The pygmy palm (Phoenix roebelenii), also known as the pygmy date palm and miniature date palm, is a small, crowning tree that stands out among other common landscaping palms with its feathery, gray-green foliage and compact size, which makes it ideal for smaller yards and gardens. They propagate most reliably from seeds and will steadily put on growth during their first few years, eventually reaching a mature height of 8 to 10 feet. The pygmy date palm is one of the most widely used landscaping palms in America.

The tree adapts well to different growing conditions and soils, is salt-tolerant, handles low temperatures well and can grow in full sun or shade place with fast-draining soil.

5. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona Chinensis)

Chinese fan palms (Livistona chinensis) are popular landscape plants in warm, humid climates and are very suitable as indoor potted palms. These palms are also known by the common name fountain palm due to the way their fronds arch up and then spill downward like water from a fountain. Each frond can grow 40 to 60 inches long.

It is best to plant Chinese fan palms in the spring. These slow-growing palms have a bushy appearance when they are young. But in roughly a decade, their single, slender, grayish-brown trunk will have grown tall enough enough to be classified as a tree. Fan palms can live for approximately 40 years.

6. Needle Palmetto (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix)

Rhapidophyllum hystrix, the needle palm, is a palm, is one of the most cold-hardy palms in the world, and can be found growing in several areas with warm temperate climates. The needle palm assumes a shrublike clumping form with several stems growing from a single base, the stems growing very slowly and tightly together, eventually forming a dense base, with numerous sharp needle-like spines produced between the leaves. The whole plant can reach 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) tall to the top of the erect central leaves.

7. Pindo Palm (Butia Cipitata)

Pindo palm (Butia capitata) is a low, bushy palm with a stocky trunk and graceful, cascading bluish-grey fronds that curve inwards towards the trunk. This slow-growing palm reaches heights of only 10 to 20 feet at maturity. Its low stature makes pindo palm appropriate for planting in highway medians, courtyards and landscapes with limited space.

Pindo palms propagate best from seed, which must be gathered when the fruit is ripe and sown immediately in sterile, fast-draining soil. Although the seeds require very little care once planted, they must be removed from their hard, impermeable pit before planting to ensure successful germination.

8. Canary Palm (Phoenix Canariensis)

The Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) originated in the Canary Islands it features glistening, feathery fronds, arching foliage and ornamental fruits. Canary palms grow best in bright locations that receive full sun, but they can tolerate some light shade. Although these palms handle various soil conditions, planting them in fertile, loamy or sandy soils promotes the most luscious growth.

Canary palms range from 40 to 65 feet in height with 20- to 40- foot spreads, which means that mature trees work best in very large spaces. Fortunately for gardeners with small yards, this slow-growing palm only shoots up about 10 feet during its first 15 years of growth. The long leaves range from 8 to 20 feet in length and bear viciously sharp spines at the bases. The single, stout trunk reaches as large as 4 feet in diameter and features an interesting diamond pattern caused by leaf scars. Inconspicuous, white, creamy white or gray flowers give way to showy clusters of bright yellow to orange date-like fruits in the summer.

9. Palmetto Tree (Sabal Palmetto)

The palmetto palm (Sabal palmetto), commonly called the cabbage or sabal palm, is native to the Southeastern United States and is the official state tree of both Florida and South Carolina. With a single trunk and bushy canopy appearance, sabal palms (Sabal palmetto) can decorate a yard or line a pathway or street with their tropical green fronds.

Maintenance of the cabbage palm tree is very easy and very adaptable. The cabbage palmetto is known to tolerate drought, standing water and brackish water. Even though this palm is drought-tolerant, it thrives on regular light watering and regular feeding. It is highly tolerant of salt winds, but not saltwater flooding.

Also Read: Ruffled Fan Palm Tree

10. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Repens)

The saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a type of fan palm growing in habitats as diverse as seaside sand dunes and swampy wetlands. The saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a fitting choice for mixed shrub beds, foundation plantings or mass plantings in the landscape. It grows well in any soil type with either an acidic or alkaline pH, as long as the media is fast draining.

Saw palmetto develops numerous leaves from thick stems. The stems may remain underground, lie on the soil surface or stand erect. When growing from underground stems, a single saw palmetto grows to 7 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It can spread to 20 feet wide when the stems grow on the soil surface in a clump form. When they grow into an erect form, the thick stems resemble trunks and the trees can reach as tall as 25 feet.

Saw palmetto’s leaves are fan blades that grow to 3 feet wide. The plant earns its name from the petioles, or leaf stalks, edged with sharp spines. The tiny spines are sharp enough to easily cut skin or rip fabric.

This is a slow-growing palm tree, with the trunk growing only a fraction of an inch each year. The fan blades, however, grow quickly and can reach their full size in a matter of weeks. Saw palmetto blooms from April to July, producing white flowers on stalked panicles that grow from the leaf axils.

11. Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Wagneranus)

Trachycarpus fortunei, also known as windmill palm or Chusan palm, can add a tropical accent to your garden or home. The palm tree produces green, fan-shaped leaves, and is held up by a single stem that can grow up to 10 inches in diameter.The trunk is covered with a fibrous, burlaplike material and the palm is wider at the top than the bottom.

When grown outdoors, cold-hardy windmill palms can grow to 40 feet in height, but heights of 10 to 20 feet are more common. Long evergreen fronds spreading from 6 to 10 feet grow from a single trunk with a symmetrical crown. While both male and female palms produce 2- to 3-inch yellow or cream-colored flowers, only those on female trees produce blue fruit.

Windmill palm grows well near the ocean since it tolerates salt. It is a good choice for containers, although they need to have adequate drainage holes. In outdoor environments, windmill palms are perfect for sheltering a patio.

12. Lipstick Palm (Cyrtostachys Renda)

The lipstick palm, Cyrtostachys renda is famous for its bright red crownshaft, from which it earns its common name. The base of the trunk is bright green with white rings while the crownshaft, or the part of the trunk where the palm fronds emerge, is bright red.

This variety of palm grows to about 35 feet in a garden but can reach 50 feet tall in its natural habitat. In the summer, these palms produce a shaft with greenish-white flowers that give way to small, black fruits. These plants have a slow to medium growth rate and can easily be grown in pots.

13. Red Feather Palm (Chambeyronia Macrocarpa)

Chambeyronia macrocarpa is a feathery palm tree that is native to New Caledonia. These extremely attractive and ornamental trees grow to 25 feet (8 m.) tall with leathery leaves some 12 feet (5 m.) long.
The new leaves on many specimens grows in vivid red, remaining red for up to ten days or longer as the trees get older. Their mature leaves are deep green and arch dramatically.

Another ornamental feature of these palms is the swollen crown shaft sitting above the ringed trunks. Most crown shafts are green, some are yellow, and some (said to have the “watermelon form”) are streaked with yellow and green.

14. Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe Legenicaulis)

Bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis), is a popular landscaping palm tree. Its unique bottle-shaped trunks, small size, feathery leaves and exotic appearance add a tropical flair to almost any space. These palm trees grow to maximum heights of about 12 feet.

The long, arching fronds, which are composed of 2-foot-long leaflets, grow to average maximum lengths of between 10 and 12 feet. The fronds sprout from the tip of a bright-green crownshaft that ranges between 2 and 3 feet in height.

The trunk of the tree is brown when young, but lightens with age. The fronds are bright green when young, and become darker as the tree matures. The spring flowers are small and white, followed by 1-inch round fruits that dangle on long stalks. The fruits start out green but slowly darken to black as they ripen.

15. Fishtail Palm (Caryota Mitis)

The fishtail, or jaggery, palm (Caryota urens) is widely grown for its feathery foliage and graceful growth habit. In addition to its ornamental properties, the jaggery palm is also tapped for its sap, which is used to make a cane sugar substitute called jaggery. Although the sap is safe to eat, the tree also contains toxic elements that will cause injury if ingested or touched.

Fishtail palms grow to roughly 25 to 30 feet in height with an erect, silvery gray trunk and a crown of arching, segmented fronds. The fronds resemble a fish’s tail, earning the tree its common name. A flower stalk emerges from the tip of the trunk once the tree matures and it blooms in stages over the course of several years. As the individual segments fade, a garland-like cluster of round, green fruit is formed. The fruit takes nearly nine months, or 40 weeks, to ripen, during which time it turns a dark reddish color.

16. Coconut Palm (Cocos Nucifera)

The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), a pan-tropical palm species, thrives in humid, frost-free climates across the globe. The coconut palm is a generous plant that has an elegant tropical silhouette to go along with its edible fruits.

The coconut palm may grow to mature heights between 50 and 80 feet, with a narrow, slightly curved or straight trunk. The base of the trunk is broader than the upper part, and surrounded by a mass of roots. The trunk is grayish brown and marked with rings known as leaf scars. The crown on top is composed of pinnately compound yellowish green leaves between 15 and 17 feet long that give the palm a spread of up to 25 feet. Fronds have a gentle arching shape.

17. Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia Bifurcata)

The foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) is a popular ornamental plant prized primarily for its foliage, about eight to 10 arching leaves, each with dark green leaflets radiating out at all angles to give the leaf a foxtail or bottlebrush appearance.

The foxtail palm develops a slender, whitish-gray trunk, swollen at the base and ringed with distinctive leaf scars. The crown of the tree is covered with leaves that can reach a length of 8 to 10 feet. The sturdy leaves are feathered with hundreds of fishtail leaflets attached along the leaf rib. The leaf appears similar to a foxtail, hence the name. The fruit of the foxtail palm is 2 to 3 inches long and brilliant reddish-orange when ripe. Each fruit contains a single seed.

18. Latania Palm (Latania spp)

Latania, commonly known as latan palm or latania palm, is a genus of flowering plant in the palm tree family, native to the Mascarene Islands in the western Indian Ocean. The Latan Palm is one of the best ornamental fan palms. While young plants have beautiful red petioles and leaf margins, mature plants produce a compact crown of very leathery, stiff, blue fan leaves with leafstalks covered in thick, white wool. They grow a slender trunk over the years.

Male flowers are small, in clusters, and emerge from within leathery bracts on the catkin-like inflorescences. Female flowers are larger, solitary and not concealed within bracts. The fruits contain 1-3 pyrenes, which are seeds enclosed within woody endocarps. The endocarps have sculpted surfaces and the three species are readily distinguished from their pyrenes.

19. Paurotis Palm (Acoelorrhaphe Wrightii)

Paurotis palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii) also known as the Paurotis palm, Everglades palm or Madeira palm in English grows natively in Florida and also does well in other warm areas. This type of palm makes an excellent landscaping addition because of its attractive multiple trunks of varying heights. It reaches heights of 15 to 25 feet and requires little care once established.

The leaves are palmate (fan-shaped), with segments joined to each other for about half of their length, light-green above, and silver underneath. The leaf petiole is 1–1.2 m (3.3–3.9 ft) long, and has orange, curved, sharp teeth along the edges. The flowers are minute, inconspicuous and greenish, with 6 stamens. The trunk is covered with fibrous matting. The fruit is pea-sized, starting orange and turning to black at maturity.

20. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata)

Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is a succulent plant named for its thin, grasslike foliage that droops downward much like a gathered tail of hair. The foliage sits atop a trunk-like stem with a bulbous base. Despite the common name and the appearance of the foliage, this is not a true palm, but rather a member of the Asparagaceae family that includes edible asparagus.

Typically, these plants only grow to about 10 feet, but have reached heights of 30 feet when planted in the ground. Ponytail palm is admired for its long, strappy foliage, but mature plants produce the added bonus of creamy white flowers held high above these leaves in the spring. They are easy to care for, both indoors and out.

21. Queen Palm (Syagrus Romanzoffiana)

Queen palm trees (Syagrus romanzoffiana) are fast-growing palm trees native to South America. With smooth gray trunks and thick green canopies of green fronds, the queen palm is a popular choice for landscapes in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

The queen palm grows from 50 feet to 65 feet ( 15 m to 20 m) tall with fronds that are 20 feet (6 m) on a mature tree. The fronds have a thick spine lined on both sides by 150 to 250 laterally growing leaflets. As the palm matures, new fronds grow out of the center of the trunk while the mature, lower fronds die and break away. This growing process, shared by all palms, creates a trunk with multiple rings, or leaf scars, at regular intervals. The trunk is smooth and gray, about 2 feet (.6 m) wide.

22. Piccabeen Palm (Archontophoenix Cunninghamiana)

The Piccabeen palm, classified under the scientific name Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, is a tall and slender evergreen palm tree with feather-shaped green leaves. Also known as the bangalow palm, it belongs to the Arecaceae family, the family of palms. It is often confused with  A. alexandrae, or the alexander palm, but it is much hardier. Growing at an average rate of 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 0.9 m) every year, it can reach more than 66 feet (20 m) tall under cultivation and around 82 feet (25 m) in the wild.

Measuring about 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter, its slender trunk is smooth and ringed with noticeable leaf scars. Forming at the base of the petioles is a prominent green to brown crownshaft from which the leaves flare out. The large and pinnate leaves are green in color and can have brown scales on their undersides. These leaves can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) long and 5 feet (1.5 m) wide. The piccabeen palm produces lavender flowers that bloom in June before turning into green fruits that become red when they mature.

23. Silver Bismarch Palm (Bismarckia Nobilis)

Silver Bismarck palm trees are commonly known as Bismarck palms (Bismarckia nobilis) is an impressive palm tree that originated in Madagascar. It has a substantial trunk topped with silver-blue fronds. The palm matures between 20 and 40 feet (6 to 12 meters) with the fronds spreading over 15 feet (4.6 meters).

The Bismarck palm flowers are fragrant and pale yellow and it develops inedible fruit that are between one and two inches (2.54 to 5.08 centimetres) long. Some people make small vases out of the nuts of the palm tree.

The Bismarck palm is a type of fan palm. A mature palm will have between 20 and 30 fronds, each approximately 10 feet (3 meters) long. This is an impressive tree that requires a large yard. The Bismarck palm is considered a specimen planting. It typically looks best when it is planted as a centerpiece in the landscape.

Also Read: Florida Palm Trees

24. Sylvester Palm (Phoenix Sylvestris)

The Sylvester date palm tree (Phoenix sylvestris) is very popular for landscaping, lining avenues and as accent trees on golf courses. This palm is native to India and has various common names, including Indian date palm, sugar date palm, wild date palm and silver date palm.

It is a fast growing palm that can get up to 40-50ft tall and 25ft wide. It has a solitary robust trunk, with an interesting diamond pattern created by leaf scars. Sylvestris are all grown from seed and so its normal to see some variations in appearance across a group. It has a lot of similar characteristics with True Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera).

25. Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis)

Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) is a slow-growing tree is one of the most cold-hardy palms. Also known as the European fan palm, it is the only palm native to Europe. The tree can also be kept as a container plant when young. It develops multiple trunks with age. Mediterranean fan palms grow less than 6 inches per year to a height of about 20 feet. They form clumps and send out small “pups” that become part of a palm grouping that can be used effectively as a large shrub.

26. Christmas Palm Tree (Adonidia Merrilli)

The Christmas palm (Adonidia merrillii) is a tropical favorite that’s attractive year-round. This palm species moniker can be attributed to the glossy fruit, called drupe, which is produced after the plant’s creamy white summer blooms fade. The fruit turns a bright, cheery red in the winter that makes the landscape look decorated for the holidays.

The Christmas palm is a terrific choice that will not overwhelm a landscape in size or workload (unless you want to contend with the fruit) because it grows quickly to 5 or 6 feet and levels off to a slower growth that reaches its final mature height of 25 feet. Plant it any time during the year when there’s no threat of cool weather.

27. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)

The lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) is a small palm species that grows in dense clumps of slender upright green stems. On the stems are fan-shaped, glossy green fronds that each have between five and eight narrow, lance-shaped segments. Because this palm is extremely tolerant of low-light conditions, it’s popular to grow indoors as a houseplant. It’s best planted in the spring at the start of the growing season, though houseplants generally can be started year-round. This palm has a fairly slow growth rate, gaining less than a foot in height per year.

28. Sago palm (Cycas revoluta)

Long-lived, slow-growing sago palm (Cycas revoluta) has 2- to 3-feet-long leaves and with age, a trunk, giving it the appearance of a miniature palm. It adds a tropical, almost prehistoric, focal point to your yard. Although the large fronds are reminiscent of palms, Sagos are actually cycads and more closely related to conifer trees. The mature plant can eventually reach up to 10 feet tall when properly cared for outdoors.

29. Majesty Palma (Ravenea Rivularis)

Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) is a slow-growing palm with long arching green fronds atop multiple stems. It is usually grown as a large houseplant, though it can reach heights of up to 90 feet in its native outdoor environment. As a houseplant, it is said to resemble a kentia palm when young and a royal palm when mature.

Majesty palm is among the three of the most attractive indoor palms. When grown indoors, majesty palm is a slow-growing plant, adding no more than 1 foot per year until it reaches about 10 feet in height.

30. Royal palm (Roystonea regia)

The royal palm tree (Roystonea regia) lends its iconic fronds to street sides, parks and thoroughfares throughout subtropical America. This fast-growing royal palm tree features a long, smooth trunk that tapers as it reaches upward. Mature palm attain heights of about 50 to 100 feet, with canopies that spread up to 25 feet. These trees sport 8-inch long leaflets on 10-foot lengths of glossy pinnate leaves.

Royal palms need plenty of sunlight, but they’re not picky about soil consistency. This plant prefers moist, well-drained soil and often thrives in cypress swamps. They prefer warm, humid locations.

31. Coontie Palm (Zamia pumila)

Not a true palm but a cycad, the coontie palm (Zamia pumila) works well in landscapes as a ground cover, foundation planting or small shrub. This perennial plant produces 3-foot-long, dark green leaves that sport 1/4-inch wide leaflets, giving off a fringed appearance.

Coontie Palm is a Hardy variety and can tolerate salt spray and drought. Although it is a low-maintenance plant, occasionally individual leaves will turn yellow or die back, requiring immediate removal to keep the coontie palms looking attractive.

32. True Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date trees (Phoenix dactylifera), or date palms, are attractive, low-maintenance landscape trees growing as perennials. It is native to the Persian Gulf area and is one of the oldest cultivated plants.Though grown commercially for fruit production, date palms make attractive landscape plants and are increasingly grown for decoration in large areas.

Date palms grow tall like a tree, up to 100 feet, with a single trunk or several trunks sprouting in a cluster. But the plant does not produce woody tissue to support itself; instead, look the trunks, up to 16 inches in diameter, are made from fibrous stems that overlap one another. Pinnate palm tree flower leaves emerge from the top of the tree, each up to 20 feet long and 2 feet wide. One leaf may grow 150 leaflets.

Some date palms have both male and female flowers, others bear male and female flowers on different trees. The best climate for growing dates is arid or semi arid with long, hot summers. Date palms produce their first crops at 5 to 8 years old and continue producing for up to a century.

33. Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis)

The Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis) grows approximately 80 feet tall with a thick, sturdy trunk. This palm bears small orange fruits that contain brown hollow seeds about 2 inches in diameter. These seeds look and taste similar coconuts. The tree also produces a sugary sap that can be boiled down to make syrup or fermented to make wine. However, extracting the sap eventually kills the tree. The Chilean wine palm prefers cooler temperate areas and grows well in hardiness zones 8 to 10.

34. Guadalupe Palm (Brahea edulis)

The Guadalupe palm (Brahea edulis) prefers sunny Mediterranean climates and is hardy to 20 F. This tree is native to Guadalupe Island, a small volcanic island off the western coast of Mexico. The Guadalupe palm bears small fleshy fruit, similar in taste and texture to a date. The fruit is often used for making jelly and jam. This tree reaches about 30 feet tall in hardiness zones 9a to 11.