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Identifying Palm Trees

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

With more than 2,750 species, it tends to be a challenge to distinguish a palm tree. Along these lines, it isn't astonishing that I get a great deal of messages requesting help with palm tree distinguishing proof. Since various palms require distinctive consideration, it is essential to know its species. While most palms enjoy a ton of sun and warm atmosphere, others lean toward shade and can endure cold temperatures. As I would like to think, cold resilience is a standout amongst the most critical characters of the palm, since it can have an immense effect in the area it tends to be developed.

When purchasing a palm from a home improvement store or a greenhouse, remember palms tend to be mislabeled and you can end up killing it with improper care. That is one reason I generally prescribe purchasing palms from a legitimate nursery.

In this article, I try to feature key qualities that I use to recognize palm species. They can be isolated by leaf shape, trunk type, bloom, foods grown from the ground. Also, trunks can have diverse shape and surface.


One of the main things I take a gander at are fronds. There are two sorts of leaves: pinnate (quill like) and palmate (fan-formed).

Quill like fronds comprise of long leaflets that developed from the focal stalk. Some of the more well known palm trees with pinnate leaves are the Areca Palm, Coconut Palm, Queen Palm, and Date Palm.

Majesty Palm Tree, Palm Tree Fronds, Identify Palm Tree
Pinnate Palm Frond

Fan-formed fronds emanate from the center along the stem like fingers on your hand. Some more popular palms with fan-formed leaves are Bismarck Palm, Mexican Fan Palm and Windmill Palm. Shade of the fronds can likewise shift from green to blue-green to gleaming. Bismark Palms have expansive magnificent crowns with particular silver-green leaves.

Palm Tree Fronds, Palm Trees, Mexican Fan Palm Tree
Fan Palm Fronds


Palms can have single trunk or multi-trunk. Normally, multi-trunk palms are shorter and develop slower. A decent example would be a Needle Palm and Lady Palm. Both are moderate developing shrubby looking palms. They are extraordinary for making a security divider and can likewise be utilized for establishment plantings and in planters outdoors.

Furthermore, trunk surfaces also vary. Some have a smooth surface covered with scars from old leaves, others have rough surface that is covered with old leaf bases in a criss-cross pattern. There are also palm trees, like Old Man Palm, that have trunks covered with fibers.

Mexican Fan Palm Trunk Fibers
Palm Tree Trunk Fiber

While most palm trees have straight trunks, there are a few, similar to Coconut Palm, that have trunks that are tapered. Variances in trunk size is also common. Bottle Palms for instance have a smooth jug formed trunk that is more extensive at the base.

A few palms additionally have a crownshaft, which is just a lengthened leaf base. Crownshaft can contrast in shading from the palm trunk, similar to the King Palm that has a rosy purple crownshaft.

King Palm Tree, Palm Trees, Palm Tree Trunk
King Palm Tree

Flowers and Fruits

Palms have very bland and basic blooms that extend in shading from yellowish-green to light green. By and large, they develop in groups on the long stems among the overhang or from beneath the crown shaft. Blooms are normally trailed by edibles such as berries or nuts. The Coconut Palm is a standout amongst the most conspicuous palms on account of its tasty natural producing and edible 'Coconut'.

Coconut Palm Tree with Coconuts, Fruiting Palm Trees, Flowering Palm Trees
Coconut Palm Tree


Palms come in various sizes. Smaller palms, sometimes called dwarf palms, can just achieve just 10 ft. Others can get exceptionally tall up to 100ft. While little palms more often than not are moderate developing, tall palms develop at a quicker rate. The more established the palm, the more simple it is to recognize. Youthful trees that are just a couple of months old, have not built up their particular highlights and all appear to be identical.

Tall Mexican Fan Palm Tree, Palm Tree Heights
Mature Mexican Fan Palms - 50 years old

Palm Tree Qualities and Traits

As should be obvious, each palm has its very own highlights that make it one of a kind. Here are a portion of the qualities for the prominent palms I've referenced previously.

Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) – Multi-trunk palm that develops in bunches shaping thick clusters. It has yellow-green quill like leaves. Creates brilliant yellow blossoms that are trailed by yellow-orange berries. It can grow up to 20ft tall.

Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) – This tree is famous for its unique jug shaped single trunk. It has brilliant green crownshaft with plume like green leaves. Delivers little white blooms that are trailed by dark berries. This is a smaller palm that can just grow up to 15ft tall.

Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera) – This palm obviously is most known for its delectable coconuts. It has single smooth trunk and plume like fronds. Creates sweet-scented yellow blooms that are trailed by dark colored coconuts. Can grow up to 100 ft.

Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera) – Single trunk secured with decorative precious diamond shaped leaf scars. Quill like dim green fronds. Produces white or yellow blooms that are trailed by a popular and edible fruit, called 'dates'. This is a vast tree that can grow up to 50ft tall.

Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) – Smooth single trunk, quill like fronds. Produces velvety blooms that are trailed by orange-like fruits. This is typically a very inexpenisve tree that is broadly utilized in tropical atmospheres. It can rapidly grow up to 40ft and withstand some cooler temps.

Old Man Palm (Coccothrinax crinita) – This is an uncommon and extremely expensive tree that is known for its fiber secured trunk which resembles a facial hair of an elderly person. It has fan-formed, hardened fronds. Produces yellow blossoms that are trailed by a deep purple fruit. Grows up to 20ft tall.

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