10 Types Of Palm Trees In Florida
Florida is known for its beautiful beaches, tropical weather and of course for its palm trees. There are many different species living there, but here are some of my favorite and more popular palm trees in Florida. It is not too hard to tell the difference between the many types of palm species in FL. The best ways are to carefully observe their trunks, fronds, and size, to see what kind of palm you are observing. You can also also refer to our palm tree guide.
There are dozens of palm tree varieties to love in Florida, some are shaped like fans, or pineapples, while others are shaped with cascading, long, feathery fronds. The more south you go, the more tropical the palm trees in Florida get, especially the coconut palm tree. Enjoy the rest of the guide on some of the most popular palm trees in Florida.
Best Types Of Palm Trees In Florida
1. Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto)
Cabbage palm (sabal palmetto, swamp cabbage, common palmetto, cabbage palmetto, blue palmetto) is one of 15 known palmetto palm species native to the southern US, the Bahamas, and Cuba. You can see this palm tree anywhere from southeast North Carolina and Florida to Texas in the US. Some "zone pushers" plant them even in Maryland and Coastal Delaware.
It is a very adaptable plant that grows great in both near desert conditions and shady, flooded, swampland. Amazingly, this specimen grows to heights of 65 feet (19.8 m) and is tolerant of salt, freezing temps, drought, and it is practically disease-free.
Since it is a native palm in Florida, it is the official tree of this state. The palm has a tan or brown trunk with so-called boots, (the leftovers of old leaf bases). They make a unique crisscross pattern along the trunk and become smooth and light brown or grayish in color the closer they get towards the top of the tree.
At its end is the fan-shaped, 3 to 4 feet (0.9 – 1.2 m) long, shiny, green leaves that give this palm a special and tropical look.
The flowers that emerge in 3 to 8 feet (0.9 – 2.4 m) long clusters that this palm produces are small, creamy-white, and fragrant, while the edible fruit is round and black. ( probably does not taste too good ) 2. Bismarck Palm Tree (Bismarckia Nobilis)
A silver Bismarck palm tree (Bismarckia) is a monotypic genus of flowering palms native to Madagascar. It was named after Otto von Bismarck, the first chancellor of the German Empire, while the Latin word ‘Nobilis’ means ‘noble.’
Where it grows in South Florida, where the soil is moderately wet and well-drained, this stunning palm can grow 40 feet (12 m) in height. It reaches a width of 10 to 16 feet (3 – 4.9 m), with a trunk thick up to 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter. They love the heat and humidity that the Florida seasons bring.
The attractive silvery-green palmate leaves are usually about 4 feet (1.2 m) long. Since this palm grows fairly slowly, it doesn’t require trimming too often thankfully. Even though this exotic tree thrives in warm climates and the sunniest areas, it can actually tolerate temperatures of 15 F (-9.5 C) once established, which is very hardy for a palm tree. 3. Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix Canariensis)
Canary Island date palm (Canary palm tree, pineapple palm) is a flowering palm that originated in the Canary Islands. At approximately 60 years old, this tree by now would have grown a pineapple-like trunk thick up to 30 feet (9 m) in diameter, with ferns that come out of it, forming a very awesome, and unique look! A mature tree can reach 65 feet (20 m) in high and spread about 40 feet (12 m) width. However, the speed of this palm growth is slow, and it usually doesn't reach more than 10 feet (3 m) during the first 15 years after planting, even in ideal climates.
The dark-green pinnate leaves, which are approximately 11 to 20 feet (3.3 – 6 m) long, form an attractive crown with 80 to 100 leaflets at the top of the palm trunk. Be careful because of highly sharp spikes formed at the base of the large, divided leaves, or better called fronds.
After they blossom white or gray flowers, the palm will produce ornamental but edible yellow to orange, 0.8 inches (2 cm) long dates in summer. Hence the name "Date Palm" 4. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona Chinensis)
Chinese fan palm (fountain palm) is a subtropical tree that originated in Japan, China, and Taiwan, but successfully naturalized in Florida. However, it is classified in the group of invasive species in some parts of this state. Probably because of their clumping nature and fairly quick growth.
The advantage of this palm tree is that you can grow it inside as a potted houseplant if you don’t have enough space in your garden.... At least until it gets too tall and or wide.
This pretty fan palm got the name after its fan-shaped leaves that droop down from the crown like a fountain. It is a hardy, slow-growing palm that reaches the heights of 20 to 40 feet (6 – 12 m) and can spread about 12 feet (3.7 m) wide.
When the tree is young, its deep-green or bluish-green, 6 feet (1.8 m) long leaves grow in circular, segmented fans. They develop razor sharp thorn or spikes in the beginning, but lose them over some time. After producing small yellow blooms emerging in clusters, the palm will develop blue-green or black oblong fruits. 5. Mexican Palm Tree (Washingtonia Robusta)
Mexican palm tree (Mexican washingtonia) is a fast-growing palm tree native to northwestern Mexico but naturalized in Florida and Hawaii. It is an excellent idea to grow this cold-hardy, salt-tolerant palm in a coastal area.
Since the narrow, 80 to 100 feet (24 – 30.5 m) high reddish-brown trunk has only 2 feet (61 cm) in diameter, this palm tree is at risk of breaking during a hurricane if reaching those heights.
The top of this fast grower contains a large crown with long, 3.3 to 5 feet (1 – 1.5 m) fan-shaped bright green leaves with leafstalks that feature an pretty red stripe on the underside.
The seed pods that this palm produces are full of lovely small white flowers perched on a yellow stem. Its small, blue-black, round fruit is edible but not tasty at all. 6. Coconut Palm (Cocos Nucifera)
Coconut palm is the only remaining species of the Cocos genus, better known as the tree of life. The term coconut comes from the old Portuguese word coco, meaning ‘skull’ because of the concavity in the fruit shell and similarities to the shape of a skull.
Even though this is one of the most massive and fast growing palms in Florida, many people grow it inside until it becomes to large. When you let it thrive freely and provide enough space for its luscious fronds, coconut palm can reach more than 80 feet (24.4 m) in height with 20 feet (6 m) wide fronds. Despite their eventual height, they withstand winds and salt extremely well.
When someone mentions palm trees, most people think of the coconut palm which has greyish trunks ringed with scars left behind by the old leaves. Once mature, the trunk becomes smooth. It is usually slightly curved, and a bit swelled in the base.
A crown on the top contains 25 to 30 pinnate, 18 feet (5.5 m) long, and 6 feet (1.8 m) wide fronds with approximately two hundred leaflets, long about 2 feet (60 cm) each. These leaves won’t last forever however. The mature palm forms new ones every 2.5 to 3 years and rejects the oldest ones every month. The will fall off eventually on their own, but are often times pruned off before that occurs.
After 4 to 6 years from planting, the coconut palm starts producing clusters with sweet-smelling flowers in spring. The fruit is well-known obviously and also quite delicious, called coconuts. 7. Paurotis Palm (Acoelorrhaphe Wrightii)
Paurotis palm (Madeira palm, everglades palm) is native to Mexico and Central America, but it also grows in swamps of Southern Florida. It prefers well drained soil and tolerates sandy soil excellently.
In ideal conditions, this fascinating palm tree with fan-shaped, 3 feet (91.5 cm) wide fronds can reach 23 to 30 feet (7 – 9 m) in height. So, it is not the best choice for growing in a container for too long.
From the thin, reddish-brown trunk wrapped with fibrous matting, grow bright green leaves, which are silver on the underneath. You can spot retained leaf bases in the trunk surface, so-called boots. Almost like showing off its own age over time. This palm produces small, light green or white flowers that grow in clusters, and tiny, red-orange fruit becomes black when ripe. 8. Queen Palm (Syagrus Romanzoffiana)
Queen palm (cocos pulmosa) originated in South America, but many people grow it as an ornamental garden tree throughout the world.
It was named after Nikolay Rumyantsev, an Imperial Chancellor and patron of the Russian exploring voyages, who sponsored the first Russian expedition sailing around the world.
It is a single-trunked, fast-growing, 40 to 50 feet (12 – 15 m) high palm with glossy, pinnate leaves with multiple leaflets. They create an elegant, 25 feet (7.6 m) wide canopy that makes this palm a beautiful landscape tree.
In summer, this palm produces large ornamental clusters with miniature creamy or bright orange dates, which mature into messy, sticky, light orange fruits. In winter, it can actually take temperatures all the way down to the lower 20s. Just look up the Texas freezes of 2021. 9. Pindo Palm (Butia Capitata)
Pindo palm (jelly palm) originated in Brazil, but you can find it in Florida, as well. This cold-hardy palm with a gray, exceptionally thick trunk can reach 1 to 1.5 feet (30.5 – 46 cm) in diameter and 15 to 25 feet (4.6 – 7.6 m) in height.
These resilient palms are also showing up along the Eastern Seaboard as far north as Ocean City, MD as they can take some seriously chilly temps for a palm!
It produces white, yellow, or orange-red flowers that make one female and two male clusters. Later, you can see edible, round, orange to brown fruit you can use to make jelly which tastes amazing!
Its feather-shaped, pale yellowish-green, 7 feet (2 m) long leaves, with 3 feet (91 cm) long leaflets grow at an angle of 45 degrees. 10. Bottle Palm Tree (Hyophorbe Lagenicaulis)
The bottle palm tree is a flowering plant native to Mauritius and naturalized in Florida and Hawaii, which are the only adequate areas for its growth in the US.
This small, 10 feet (3 m) high ornamental tree got the name because of a thick, short, and bottle-like trunk that looks somehow swollen at its base. In rare cases, it can reach 15 to 20 feet (4.6 – 6 m) in height but it will take its sweet time growing to those heights.
You can see three to four huge, 12 feet (3.7 m) long palm fronds, with 2 feet (61 cm) long leaflets at the top of the trunk. The palm produces beautiful white flowers held on 30 inches (76 cm) long stalks and green-black, 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long berries that turn black once ripened.
Since this palm is not too tall, you can grow it in a container if you live in a cold region. To keep it safe, you should bring it indoors in winter.
I hope you enjoyed my blog on Palm Trees In Florida and learned something new!
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