Let’s admit it – tropical paradises are everyone’s dream since they happen to be the ultimate relaxation destination. And let’s not forget that a tropical paradise is incomplete without everyone’s favorite palm trees!
Just imagine going to a dream vacation to a sandy white beach surrounded with coconut palm trees and relaxing/unwinding under the shade of those palms. But palm trees are much more important than just that. People often think of palm trees to be perfect for an exotic beach setting, considering that they are typically seen in faraway beaches. However, these strong and heavy trees, capable to withstand a hurricane, can be found in a variety of other environments too.
Also found in arid, Mediterranean regions, palm trees also hold significant religious symbols. The Bible points out that the people of Israel welcomed Jesus, a week before his death, with palm trees all around. Today, people celebrate this day as Palm Sunday – a week before Easter. In Judaism, palm trees symbolize peace and abundance.
Did you know that not all palm trees are actually “trees”? Also, not every palm tree is really a palm. These evergreen, sturdy plants can be grown in a shrub form or woody vines known as lianas. And that’s not all. Palm trees also exhibit two different kinds of leaves – pinnate and palmate. If you thought that we were done with the fascinating facts about palm trees, then think again. Research shows that there are about 2600 species of palm trees; and the majority of them are planted in tropical, subtropical, and warm regions.
Are you curious to learn about different kinds of palm trees? If yes, then this blog post is just for you! Read on to find out some popular kinds of palm trees in the world.
Table of Contents
1. Date Palms
Scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera, date palms belong to the palm family – Arecaceae. These palms are prized to be one of the ancient forms of palm trees and may have emerged in what is now known as Iraq. As common sense rightly suggests, date palms are the palm trees that boast dates – a delightful and nutritious type of food that’s loved in the Middle East.
Date palms are commonly valued as they are a rich source of food in warm and harsh climatic regions. These trees possess the ability to grow fast and large, providing shade and food in deserted lands. The dates produced on a palm tree last longer than any other fruits in any other kind of a tree. Plus, they are able to survive severe droughts and scorching temperatures. An old Egyptian once said that “a date palm is the only creation of God that resembles man. Unlike other trees, a date palm gives more as it grows older.”
It is believed that date palms can grow up to the height of 100 feet. They consist of sturdy, strong trunks that are filled with uneven scales. Its feather-shaped leaves can reach up to the length of 12 to 18 feet in length. According to researchers, around 10 to 20 leaves are grown every year in a date palm. These leaves stay abloom for several years after which they turn pale brown and fall off.
Date palm trees are subdivided into two types – male trees covered with staminate flowers and female trees filled with pistillate blossoms. In wilder areas, the pollen is carried from the male blossoms to the female ones through the wind. On the other hand, in the cultivated lands, pollens of male flowers are clustered together to the female blooms.
2. Zombie Palm Trees
Having the scientific name – Zombia antillarum, zombie palms are the most common type of palm tree. That being said, they are the only member of the taxonomic rank – Zombia present at the moment. Native to Hispaniola, where it grows on dry, arid hilly areas, zombie palms can reach up to the height of 3 meters and produces smaller crowns all around it.
As far as the physical appearance is concerned, zombie palms are slightly hideous which pretty much explains the reasoning behind its naming “zombie”. However, the zombie palm is intimidating only during its growing-up stages. Usually, the tree develops into normal-sized and rather striking. When it comes to admiring the tree, experts suggest looking at the beauty from a safe distance. Zombie palms grow out pointy spines like voodoo needles that can easily hurt the beholder. These inimitable plants are capable to sport approximately twenty green leaves with white-hued flowers that produce round, attractive fruits. Another commendable feature of zombie palms includes their capacity to tolerate drought and their easy adaptability to where it is rooted.
3. Windmill Palm
Native to countries like Japan, China, Myanmar, and India, Windmill palm trees go by plenty of names such as Trachycarpus fortunei (its scientific name), the Chinese windmill palm, Chusan palm, and simply windmill palm. It is one of the species of sturdy evergreen palm trees, belonging to the family of Arecaceae.
What sets windmill palms apart from the other kinds of palm trees is the fact that they are cold-tolerant. But that’s not all. They demand less maintenance and are pollutant and pest resistant too. Along with these fantastic characteristics, the windmill palm is quite magnificent in its looks. Typically, it has fan-like huge leaves that are bunched together in a symmetrical order. This results in attractive foliage on the top of the trunk which easily grows up to 6 to 10 feet in its width.
Mind you, windmill palms are slow-growing plants. Hence, patience is the key when planning to cultivate your very own windmill palm. If you’re thinking to have a windmill palm in your house, make sure that there is enough space for it to thrive. While it is said that a windmill palm can reach up to 30 feet, commonly it is seen at heights of 10 to 20 feet. So it is a perfect accent for your poolside, deck, or driveway. You can also grow out a windmill palm in a large pot on your porch or patio. It will cause you no trouble as it creates no wreckage and thrives well in both partial as well as full sun.
4. Foxtail Palm Tree
Wodyetia bifucata, simply known as the foxtail palm, is another popular palm species in the Arecaceae family. This kind of palm tree was first originated in Australia, Queensland to be precise. According to botanists, this fast-growing palm is the only specie in the genus – Wodyetia. According to the Palm and Cycads Societies of Australia (PACSOA), the palm tree is described as “Very attractive palm with long (2-3m) plumose leaves (hence the name ‘Foxtail’), and up to 10m tall with a grey trunk. It produces large (about the size of a duck egg) orange fruit”.
History tells us that the world wasn’t aware of the foxtail palm until an Aboriginal man presented it to botanists in 1978. The indigenous name of that Aboriginal man has been written down as “Wodyeti”. Therefore, the genus name of this specie is known as “Wodyetia”. Owing to its wide range of varieties, foxtail palm trees have become a popular choice for plant growers in warmer regions of the world. As compared to other palm trees, growing them is relatively less hard. Once you successfully grow one, the end result will be a king palm-like trunk that is thin and smooth. It will further produce light to darkish green leaves with small white flowers (on the base of the crown shaft) and olive greens (that are green in initial stages and then turn orangey red when ripped).
5. Caranday Palm
With the scientific name as Copernicia Alba and common name caranday, this palm tree is a rare species that originated in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. Due to its rarity, the Caranday palm tree or wax palm is quite an overlooked species of the Copernicia family. While the palm tree has a slow to moderate growth rate and overall moderate drought and salt tolerance level, it has stunning physical attributes. The Caranday palm sports fan-like leaves that grow from its top trunk and are about 2 feet long. These leaves consist of tough spikes that generally fall off as the plants mature. Typically, the caranday leaves flaunt light green to light blue and silver.
The striking colors are not the only worth-mentioning quality of the caranday leaves. These brilliant leaves produce wax that is used for making lipsticks, candles, and a few car polishes. Not only do the leaves of caranday palms come in handy but their trunks too as they are commonly used for constructing dividers for fences, floors, walls, and phone poles. During the fall season, wax palm trees produce yellow-colored fruits that deepen into an intense black shade as they ripen. These round fruits are edible in nature. However, they consist of bitter taste followed by initial sweetness.
With the passage of time, caranday palm trees have gained considerable popularity due to its high cold tolerance level (possessing the ability to sustain 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition to that, this palm tree is easy to maintain and is highly resistant to pests, debris, and diseases.
6. Spindle Palm
Often mistaken for the bottle palm and the champagne palm tree, the spindle palm tree – belonging to the plantae kingdom – is one of its kind. Like its relatives, spindle palms are considered to be endangered due to their habitat loss. It is believed that there are only about fifty of these trees left in the wild. However, their chances of survival rate are greater because of its high cultivation rate in the tropical regions of the world. To further up their numbers, growing your very own spindle palm is a good option.
Also called as Hyophorbe verschaffeltii or Hyophorbe verschafeltii, spindle palms are exceedingly elegant-looking. They are famous for their out-of-the-world spindle-shaped trunk that features feather-shaped bright green leaves in a V-shape. Apt for both indoors and outdoors, spindle palm trees can grow up to the height of 4 ft. to 8 ft. Note that spindle palms have a slow growth rate and require excessive moisture along with the full or partial sun.
They also produce scented floral (both male and female) in the region where the crown shaft meets the trunk. If you live in an area that experiences cold weather most of the year, then don’t hesitate to invest in spindle palms. Rest assured, spindle palms are absolutely cold resistant, making them ideal for growing in zones that have temperature from 30 to 35 F or above 40 F.
7. King Palm
Scientifically known as Archontophoenix Alexandrae, king palms are a common choice for plant growers in Southern California. It is considered to be one of the best palm varieties for South California. The palm tree is distinctly known for its multi-hued trunk, lush green fronds, and neat appearance. Generally, the trunk is slim and smooth with a beautiful green colored shaft – a leaf base consisting of leaves roped around one another. King Palm trees not only sport mind-blowing green leaves but during the spring season, they flaunt eye-catching blooms that add the wow factor to this palm tree. These palm trees aren’t all about its beauty. In fact, they serve a functional purpose as well. King palms can prove to be the best plants to grow around pools, front yard, back yard, or in some tropical landscapes. Having them in your front porch will provide you shade from the scorching sun.
While these palms grow slow, they require little to no maintenance at all. If this is the quality you are searching for in a plant, then King Palms is an apt plant choice. King Palms come in three different varieties, having similar names such as the Alexandra King, Bangalow Palm (Piccabeen Palm), and the purple variety.
a. Alexandra King
The Alexandra King happens to be the largest king palm as it is known to grow up to the height of 80 ft. (if cultivated in their natural habitat). Usually, their trunks grow out to be a foot thick wide in colors from gray to white.
When it comes to their leaves, they are in the darker green shade with silver undertones. Unlike most palm trees, Alexandra king is a medium to fast grower, producing white-hued flowers (both male and female) that generally are 2 feet long in length.
b. King Bangalow Palm Trees
One of the most striking differences between this type of palm tree and the rest of them is its flower sprays. They are plenty and can be found just below the crown shaft, spreading around the trunk easily. The flowers produced appear to be in a variety of colors ranging from violet to light purple to red. Like Alexandra King, it produces flowers of both sexes (male and female).
While the abundance of flowers is this tree’s admirable feature, its trunk is not so though. The trunk of the King Bangalow tree is not as thick as other popular types of palm trees. The trunk is mostly 8 to 10 inches in diameter and features light brown to pale gray color. Unlike Alexandra, it is a short-heighted tree that takes time to grow properly.
c. Purple King Palm
Purple king palm is the third last variety of king palm that grows in swamps in a forest. The palm’s appearance is as attractive as its other types – beautiful, colorful leaves with plenty of different flowers including roses as well. However, what makes it different from its counterparts is its nicely colored crown shaft. The palm’s crown shaft happens to be the tree’s best feature
. While the tree isn’t able to reach the height of Alexandra, it is able to grow a thick trunk – 18 inches in diameter. The palm originated in the higher elevation of Australia which is the reason why it fails to adapt to the warm, humid parts of the world.
8. Florida Thatch Palm
As the name suggests, Florida Thatch Palms are a Florida native that thrives in both warmer and coastal regions of South Florida. The most common part of Florida where you can spot these trees is the coastal highways of Southern Florida. Besides that, they can be a great accent to your Florida house, in the porch, at the entry, around a pool, as a privacy screen, in the garage, along the driveway, or under large trees.
This palm tree is known for growing out numerous trunk forms that take time to grow. This slow-grower tree can reach up to the height of 15 to 20 feet, having big fan-shaped leaves. Once it passes its growing stage, Florida Thatch Palm, develops a thin trunk that is fit for closed spaces. With time, it produces small fruits that can be an excellent source of food for birds.
When cultivating your own Florida Thatch palm, remember that these plants don’t require soil changes from time to time. Make sure that you plant them in moist areas where the soil is dry and dense. It is always ideal to fertilize three times a year (autumn, spring, and summer). Don’t forget that palm trees strive and thrive best in smaller spaces.
9. Triangle Palm Tree
Also called as Dypsis decaryi, the triangle palm tree is indigenous to the Mediterranean rainforest. In these areas, it is quite common to grow these trees up to the height of 15 meters. Plant growers situated in North and South California, prefer to grow triangle palm trees as they thrive better in these areas.
In addition to North and South California, Triangle palm trees perform well in Hawaiian soils. Like Florida Thatch Palm trees, these triangle-shaped trees are ideal for both warmer and coastal regions. Owing to its unique landscape, this palm tree is an excellent choice for a variety of landscapes. Like many other types of palm trees, the triangle palm tree also produces fruits that boast a nice light brown color.
Some important tips to keep in mind when growing the triangle palm tree are as follows:
- It requires maximum sunlight as it gets weak in shade
- The growth rate is slow to moderate
- Salt tolerance is low
- Wind tolerance is good
- Heat tolerance level is also good
- Can tolerate frosts from 25F to 28F
Palm trees come with innumerable uses as they provide food (date, nuts, and coconuts) and shelter, their trunks can be used for making wooden pieces, and they act as excellent landscapes. If you want to make the most of these (and more!) advantages, then have a look at these types of palm trees to decide which one of them will be ideal for you.