Explore the Popular Types Of Palm Trees In Florida

This is your guide to Florida's most popular types of palm trees. Learn about the Florida palm trees, the natives, their properties, and the characteristics that help identify them.

Florida is world-famous for its warm and sunny climate and beautiful beaches. Do you know what else Florida is famous for? Tall, exotic palm trees! And why not? Florida offers the best environment for palm trees. It should not surprise that the Sunshine State is home to so many palm trees.

Florida houses several palm tree types; some are native, while others were introduced and have become naturalized. In this article, we'll be exploring the palm trees commonly found in Florida and discussing the properties of each type.

We'll explore these types in detail but before that, let's learn a bit about palm trees to understand the types better.

Palm Trees and their Characteristics

Palm trees are flowering plants that belong to the Arecaceae family. These plants are known for their tall, slender trunks that house their leaves at the top. Moreover, their size varies, with the tallest reaching up to 45.7 m (150') and the shortest not even growing past 0.9 m (3').

Most palm species are found in tropical and subtropical regions, and only some have explored other climates. Forensic evidence suggests these trees existed for over 80 million years. To give you a perspective, even before the dinosaurs walked the earth.

Characteristics of palm trees:

  • Palm trees are characterized by their simple and compound leaves. The simple leaves have a single leaf blade, while the compound leaves have multiple leaflets arranged on a central rachis. The leaflets are often serrated or toothed along the edges.
  • Most palms are evergreen and have long-lived leaves.
  • They have tall and slender trunks with leaves growing at the top, ranging from a few inches to over 30 m (100') in height.
  • Palms are not deep-rooted and do best in well-drained sandy loam soil.
  • The climate also influences the size of the palm tree it grows in. For instance, palms that grow in cold climates are usually smaller than those found in warm climates.
  • The inflorescence of these plants is a cluster of flowers that grow at the end of the stems or branches. The flowers are generally small and inconspicuous.
  • The fruit produced by these flowers is called a drupe, an oval-shaped structure containing the seed inside.
  • These plants produce flowers that grow in clusters and fruits that vary in size, shape, and color depending on the species.

Types of Palm Trees in Florida

Florida is home to over 30 species of palm trees, most of which come from Southeast Asia and South America. However, 12 types are native to Florida. The average temperature in Florida is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for palm trees. The soil in Florida is also perfect for palm trees because it is sandy and drains well. It's no surprise why Florida is flourishing with palm trees. Here are some common palm trees in the Sunshine State.

African Oil Palm

Scientific name: Elaeis guineensis

The common, iconic variant.

African oil palms are among the most common palm trees in Florida. They are native to Africa but were introduced to Florida in the early 1900s. These single-stemmed palms can grow about 8 to 20 m (26' to 65') tall and have 3 to 5 m (10' to 16') long leaves. The leaves are pinnate, meaning they have multiple leaflets arranged on a central rachis. The leaflets are serrated or toothed along the edges and have a glossy texture.

They produce tiny flowers that grow into 4 cm (1.5") red oval fruits in height. The fruits are filled with black seeds that can be made into oil. The oil is used in cooking, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Apart from this useful attribute, these are also grown for ornamental purposes. African oil palms are a popular choice for landscaping in Florida due to their showy flowers and aesthetic appeal.

Key properties:

  • Single-stemmed
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Fruit-bearing flowers
  • Source of palm oil

Christmas Palm

The vibrant fruits are a dead giveaway.

Scientific name: Adonidia merrillii

The Christmas palm is also known as the Manila Palm, named after its native country of origin, the Philippines. It's an evergreen plant found in southeast Asia's warm and tropical regions. It's known for its long, slender trunk that reaches an average height of 4 to 8 m (15' to 25').

The Christmas palm thrives in full sun and requires well-drained clay and loam soil. Its bloom time is summer, and the fruit ripens in winter, hence the name Christmas palm. The flowers are small, creamy, and borne in clusters, while the fruits are spherical and bright red.

Key properties:

  • Long, slender trunk
  • Thrives in full sun
  • Flowers in summer, fruits in winter
  • Small, creamy flowers
  • Bright red fruits

Areca Palm

Bring a tropical touch into your home.

Scientific name: Dypsis lutescens

The Areca palm is simply one of the most popular types of houseplants. You might be familiar with one of its names, the butterfly palm, yellow palm, bamboo palm, or golden cane palm. The various properties and resemblances have earned it multiple names. These palms are native to Madagascar and can grow up to about 6 to 12 m (20–39 ft). It has long, bright green leaves that are fan-shaped and feathery.

These are slow-growing palms, and it's best to plant them during spring in containers. Areca produces small yellow flowers that grow in clusters. The Areca palm is a popular choice for indoor landscaping because it does not require much maintenance and can tolerate low light. You can easily grow them with well-draining loam and bright, indirect light.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Long, green leaves
  • Clustered yellow flowers
  • Tolerant to low light

Alexander Palm

Topping the endurance lists.

Scientific name: Archontophoenix alexandrae

Alexander palm is a common site in Florida landscapes, especially South Florida. If you are curious about the name, it was named in honor of Princess Alexandra of Denmark. However, it has several other names, such as Northern Bangalow palm, king palm, or feather palm. These tall palms can grow up to 30 m (98') high, and they have feather-like fronds reaching about 4.5 m (14.7') in length.

They produce white flowers that grow in clusters, followed by fruits that are green initially and turn bright red when ripe. Alexander palms are the hardiest of all palms and can survive in various climates. They are also moderately drought-tolerant, making them a perfect choice for Florida homeowners.

Key properties:

  • Feather-like fronds
  • Clustered white flowers
  • Red fruits
  • Hardy in various climates
  • Moderately drought-tolerant

Bottle Palm

Named for its iconic shape.

Scientific name: Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

The bottle palm is native to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. And as the name implies, they are shaped like a bottle or bulb. This unlikely shape has also propagated a myth that the Bottle palm stores water in its trunk. However, they just have a swollen body shape. These single-stemmed palms are small but look wide and bulky. They typically extend to about 3.6 to 4.5 m (11.8' to 14.7').

Bottle palms have just four to six leaves open at a time, and these are very dark green. The leaves have a red or orange tint when they are young and turn to a dark green as they mature. They produce white flowers that grow in clusters and ripen into round, green, and black fruits. The Bottle palm thrives in full to partial sunlight and needs well-drained, moist soil but can adapt to other soil types.

Key properties:

  • Bulb or bottle-shaped body
  • Four to six dark green leaves
  • Clustered white flowers
  • Ripening green to black fruits

Cabbage Palm

Easy to mistake for something other than a palm.

Scientific name: Sabal palmetto

Cabbage palm is an evergreen plant native to Florida and can be found in coastal areas. It's the state tree of South Carolina and has several names, such as cabbage palmetto, blue palmetto, common palmetto, Garfield's tree, and swamp cabbage. The single trunk palm extends to 19 m (65') and has fan-shaped leaves that touch the 1.8 m (6') mark.

They produce fragrant, creamy-white flowers in the late spring, which mature into shiny black fruits by the late summer. Ideally, they require full sun and well-drained, moist soil. However, these are long-lived, hardy plants that are highly adaptable, thriving in different climates and soil types. Moreover, once established, they are drought resistant, making them an ideal choice for those in dry regions.

Key properties:

  • Single trunk
  • Fan-shaped leaves
  • Fragrant, creamy-white flowers
  • Shiny black fruits
  • Highly adaptable
  • Drought resistant

Chinese Fan Palm

Its leaves are very similar to handheld fans.

Scientific name: Livistona chinensis

The Chinese fan palm is an evergreen plant native to eastern Asia and is commonly found in China and Japan. It's a slow-growing but highly adaptable plant that can tolerate various climates, from hot and humid to cold.

This palm grows to an average height of 9 to 15 m (30' to 50') with a slender trunk covered with old leaf bases. From the trunk emerge large, fan-shaped leaves that are green, coarse-textured, and can measure up to 0.9 to 1.8 m (3' to 6'). Hidden under the large leaves, creamy-white flowers appear in the summer, followed by blue to gray-blue fruits.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing but highly adaptable
  • Coarse, green fan-shaped leaves
  • Creamy-white flowers in summer
  • Blue to gray-blue fruits

Florida Silver Palm

A hardy, low maintenance plant.

Scientific name: Coccothrinax argentata

The Florida silver palm is a small palm endemic to Southern Florida. It's a slow-growing, evergreen tree with a slender trunk of about 2 to 6 m (6' to 20'). The leaves are palmate, blue-green in color, and about 0.6 to 1 m (2' to 3') wide. During the summer, creamy-white flowers are borne, which are fragrant but hidden by the leaves. Then in the late summer and fall, small, round purple to black fruits appear.

The Florida silver palm is a highly adaptable tree with tolerance against salt and drought. It's also immune to most pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance plant. You'll often see this palm in coastal areas as it's resistant to high winds. You can easily grow them in moist to dry, well-drained soil with partial to full shade.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Evergreen
  • Slender trunk
  • Blue-green leaves
  • Creamy-white, fragrant flowers
  • Resistant to salt and drought

Coconut Palm

A true tropical staple.

Scientific name: Cocos nucifera

The coconut palm is a tall and slender evergreen tree native to the coasts of South and Southeast Asia. It's known for its large, round fruits encased in a hard shell. In fact, the name 'coconut' comes from the 16th-century Portuguese word 'coco,' meaning 'head' or 'skull.'

Coconut palms can grow up to 30 m (100') tall with a trunk diameter of 0.6 to 1 m (2' to 3'). From the trunk, large, pinnate, feather-like leaves emerge. The leaves can be up to 6 m (20') long and 2.5 m (8') wide. Coconut palm blooms both male and female flowers on the same inflorescence, and the female flowers are comparatively larger. These are small, white flowers that appear in clusters at the base of the leaves and are followed by the coconut fruits.

Key properties:

  • Tall, slender evergreen tree
  • Large, round fruits encased in a hard shell
  • Pinnate, feather-like leaves
  • Small, white flowers in clusters
  • Male and female flowers

Fishtail Palm

Not your typical palm.

Scientific name: Caryota mitis

This palm species hails from Tropical Asia and is typically found from India to China to Java. It gets the name from the shape of its leaves which, as the name suggests, resemble the tail of a fish. The tree has clustered stems which also dubs it the name clustering fishtail palm. It is an evergreen tree that can attain a height of 10 m (33') and a trunk diameter of 15 cm (6").

The leaves are bi-pinnate and grow up to 3 m (10') long and 1 m (3') wide. It produces purple flowers that mature into dark purple or red fruits harmful to humans. Fishtail palm is low maintenance as it's tolerant to droughts and thrives in tropical to subtropical climates. You'll often see it as an ornamental plant in public gardens or parks.

Key properties:

  • Clustered stems
  • Leaves resembling fishtail
  • Bi-pinnate leaves
  • Tolerant to droughts
  • Thrives in tropical to subtropical climates

Buccaneer Palm

Yarrr!

Scientific name: Pseudophoenix sargentii

The buccaneer palm is native to the Caribbean and southern Florida. Also known as Florida cherry palm, it can be found in coastal regions of the Florida Keys. These palms are incredibly hardy and can tolerate a range of different climates, from hot and humid to cold and dry. In the wild, this palm species is secure and flourishing; however, it's considered critically vulnerable in Florida.

Typically found near the sea, Florida cherry palms are medium-sized, grow slowly, and reach up to 8 m (26') tall. They have a slender trunk that is ringed with scars from fallen leaves. Moreover, it has long fronds that grow in an arching fashion. The fronds are blue-green and have a waxy texture to them. They produce greenish-yellow flowers that grow in clusters and mature red fruits.

Key properties:

  • Able to tolerate a range of climates
  • Slender, waxy trunk
  • Long, blue-green fronds
  • Clustered greenish-yellow flowers
  • Red mature fruits

Pygmy Date Palm

One of the smaller palms out there.

Scientific name: Phoenix roebelenii

The Pygmy Date palm is a small to medium-sized palm species known for its slow growth rate. It is native to southeastern Asia, specifically Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. This evergreen palm can grow up to 2 to 7 m (6.5' to 23') tall. Best suited for containers and small gardens, it has a slender trunk covered with the scars of fallen leaves. The crown consists of 3 to 5 pinnate leaves.

Each leaf has about 100 dark green leaflets in color with a silvery underside. The flowers are small and yellowish and appear on showy, drooping panicles. These are followed by red fruits that turn black upon maturity and are edible and look like dates. Pygmy requires full sun to partial shade and will thrive in well-drained, moist soil. This will be a great addition to your garden.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Slender trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Yellow flowers
  • Edible fruits

Florida Thatch Palm

Slowly getting pushed out of Florida.

Scientific name: Thrinax radiata

Native to the Caribbean, America, and Southern Florida islands, the thatch palm is a small to medium-sized tree. It has a slender, brown trunk that can grow up to 7.6 m (25') tall and is about 10 to 12 cm (4" to 5") in diameter. The leaves are palmate, costapalmate, or pinnate and about 1-1.8 m (3-6') wide. They are compound-segmented and about 10 to 20 large leaves from the canopy.

It has several names, such as Jamaican thatch, Caribbean thatch palm, Silk-top thatch palm, and Florida thatch palm. You get bisexual white flowers during the spring, followed by white fruits. Globally, this palm species is doing fine; however, it is becoming a rare sight in the areas of northern Florida.

Key properties:

  • Small to medium-sized tree
  • Slender, brown trunk
  • Compoundly-segmented leaves
  • Bisexual white flowers
  • White fruits

Royal Palm

Royal elegance.

Scientific name: Roystonea regia

The evergreen Royal Palm is the national tree of Cuba and is also found in Florida. It's a fast-growing palm that can reach up to 18 to 20 m (60' to 66'). The tree has a straight and slender trunk, and scars of fallen leaves can be observed. The crown consists of about 15 pinnate leaves about 4 m (13') long. Each leaf has about 100 to 150 pairs of dark green leaflets in color with a silvery underside.

The flowers are yellow and emerge on showy panicles. These are followed by black fruits that turn orange upon maturity and are edible. The Royal Palm is an impressive and stately tree that can add beauty and elegance to your landscape. This palm needs full sun to partial shade and regular watering.

Key properties:

  • Fast-growing
  • Slender trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Yellow flowers
  • Edible fruits

Foxtail Palm

Foxes not included.

Scientific name: Wodyetia bifurcata

This Australian native palm is one of America's most popular landscaping palms. It's a single-trunked, evergreen tree that can grow up to 10 m (33') tall and 60 cm (24") in diameter. It has a small canopy that is bright and feathery with pinnate leaves. Moreover, the name, Foxtail, comes from the appearance of its tail.

The palm is distinguished by its silver-white trunk and arching fronds, and due to its looks, it can be mistaken for the Royal palm. It produces white flowers that grow into olive green to green fruits and are orange when ripe. The tree is low maintenance as it's drought-tolerant and can grow in several soil types. You can often see them as ornamental plants in public gardens, lining streets, or decorating parking lots.

Key properties:

  • Single-trunked
  • Evergreen
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Silver-white trunk
  • Arching fronds
  • Drought-tolerant

Bismarck Palm

Named after the famous German, presumably.

Scientific name: Bismarckia nobilis

The Bismarck palm is a showy, single-trunked palm native to Madagascar. In their natural habitat, these palms reach about 25 m (82') in height; however, in the case of cultivation, they usually touch around the 12 m (39') mark. They are known for their large and strikingly beautiful fan-shaped leaves. They are palmate leaves that extend up to 3 m (10') in length and 2.5 m (8.2') in width. The leaves are bluish-green with silver undersides that give them a unique appeal.

Like other palms, the Bismarck palm also produces flowers that grow in clusters and are brown. These flowers produce edible seeds and can be eaten like chestnuts, either cooked or raw. They require partial to full sunlight and love warm conditions.

Key properties:

  • Large fan-shaped leaves
  • Silver undersides
  • Clustered brown flowers
  • Edible seeds

Latania Palm

A medium sized palm.

Scientific name: Latania lontaroides

This is another palm native to the Mascarene Islands, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean. It's a common sight on cliffs and coastal ravines on these islands. The Latania palm is an evergreen palm with a slender trunk and can reach a height of about 12 m (39'). Its trunk is smooth, gray, slightly swollen at the base, and has ring scars.

The crown of this palm is large, rounded, and bushy, with pinnate leaves that can be up to 1.5 m (5'). This palm grows best in well-drained, moist soil and full sun and can tolerate colder temperatures for short periods. The Latania palm is used as an ornamental plant; however, it is listed as an endangered palm species in the wild.

Key properties:

  • Slender trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Tolerates colder temperatures
  • Ornamental plant
  • Endangered

Piccabeen Palm

plant these if you wish to attract birds.

Scientific name: Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

You may know it by the name king palm or Bangalow palm. The Piccabeen palm is native to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. It's a fast-growing, evergreen tree that grows to 20 to 30 m (66' to 98'). It has a slender, gray trunk that is ringed with the scars of the fallen leaves. It's a member of the family Arecaceae and the genus Archontophoenix.

The Piccabeen palm has a crown of about 20 to 30 pinnate leaves. The leaves are dark green, and each leaf has about 40 to 60 leaflets. Its flowers are small, violet, and borne in clusters. These are followed by small, red fruits loved by the birds. They can grow in several soil types and thrive around springs and dams.

Key factor:

  • Fast-growing
  • Gray trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Small, violet flowers
  • Red fruits

Queen Palm

A good match for any king palms you might already have.

Scientific name: Syagrus romanzoffiana

Hailing from Brazil, the Queen palm is one of the most popular palms in Florida. It's a fast-growing evergreen tree that can reach up to 15 m (50') tall. The Queen palm has a smooth, slender trunk that is gray and ringed with the scars of fallen leaves. It has a crown of pinnate leaves about 2.1 to 3 m (7' to 10') long. These palm trees are long-lived and can grow for 50 to 150 years.

During the spring and summer months, small creamy flowers are produced within the leaves. They display beautiful clusters of yellow to orange, edible date-like fruits. The Queen palm is an easy-to-care-for tree tolerant of most soil types and conditions. It requires full sun to partial shade and regular watering.

Key properties:

  • Fast-growing
  • Slender trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Creamy flowers
  • Edible fruits

Key Thatch Palm

A common material in furniture.

Scientific name: Leucothrinax morrisii

Formerly known as Thrinax morrisii, this small palm is native to the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and the Florida Keys. Based on these native areas, it has earned different names. It's called "brittle thatch palm" in the United States, the "broom palm" in Anguilla, and "buffalo-top" in The Bahamas. Typically, the slender trunk of Key thatch extends to about 11 m (36') high and about 35 cm (14") in diameter.

This palm is cold-hardy and can thrive in cold climate conditions. The leaves are distinguished blue-green to yellow-green colors and are about 1-1.2 m (3.3' to 4') wide. The flowers of this palm are bisexual, white, and arranged in inflorescences about 1 m (3.3') long. These flowers grow into white fruits that turn yellow as they mature. It's an endangered species with only a few hundred trees left in the wild.

Key properties:

  • Small palm
  • Slender trunk
  • Blue-green to yellow-green leaves
  • Bisexual, white flowers
  • Yellow mature fruits
  • Endangered palm species

Canary Island Date Palm

Colloquially known as pineapple palms due to their similarity to the fruit.

Scientific name: Phoenix canariensis

Canary Island date palm is a tropical evergreen tree native to the Canary Islands. It is popular for its showy and ornamental appearance. In fact, they are the most commonly cultivated palms in Southern California. Also known as pineapple palm, these beautiful trees grow at an average of 1 m (3') a year. Eventually, they attain a height ranging between 10 to 20 m (33' to 66') and 6 to 12 m (20' to 40') wide.

They feature a stout trunk covered with the remains of fallen leaves and can reach up to 1.8 m (6') in diameter. Large, dark green leaves emerge from this trunk in a symmetrical crown. The fronds can grow up to 6 m (20') long and have 100 leaflets. White-gray flowers sprout from the trunk in clusters and are followed by date-like reddish-yellow fruits.

Key properties:

  • Stout trunk
  • Large, dark green leaves in a symmetrical crown
  • Over 100 leaflets on each frond
  • White-gray flowers in clusters
  • Reddish-yellow fruits

Paurotis Palm

Sporting a much thinner trunk than most.

Scientific name: Acoelorrhaphe wrightii

The Paurotis palm is native to the Caribbean, Central America, and Florida. It's a common sight in the Everglades of Florida. Owing to this attribute, they have earned the name Everglades palm. The Paurotis is a small to moderately tall evergreen tree that grows to 5 to 7 m (16' to 23'). They typically grow slowly and in clusters and can occasionally touch a height of 9 m (30').

The Paurotis has a slender trunk that is covered in old leaf bases. The leaves are palmate and pinnate with about 50 to 60 leaflets. The flowers are small and creamy-white, borne on a spadix enveloped by a green spathe. These are followed by pea-sized fruits that are orange and turn black with maturity.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Palmate and pinnate leaves
  • Small, creamy-white flowers
  • Pea-sized orange fruits that turn black with maturity.

Windmill Palm

You'd think based on the name that it's from the Netherlands, but then, with a climate like that...

Scientific name: Trachycarpus fortunei

The windmill palm is a palm that is native to China, Japan, and India. This evergreen palm is popular by several names like Chinese windmill palm, Chusan palm, and hemp palm. It has fan-shaped leaves about 1 m (3') wide, giving it the name. This single-trunked palm reaches a height of about 12 to 20 m (39' to 66').

It has delicate leaves, so it's often used as an indoor plant. In mid-autumn, the tree produces yellow or greenish flowers that mature into long, kidney-shaped drupes. The Windmill palm grows slowly, but it's one of the hardiest palm species. They can be grown in several climates and soils, but they need full sun to partial shade.

Key properties:

  • Single-trunked
  • Evergreen
  • Fan-shaped leaves
  • Yellow or greenish flowers
  • Long, kidney-shaped drupes
  • Hardy palm species

Montgomery Palm

Tall and slender.

Scientific name: Veitchia arecina

The Montgomery palm is known for its beautiful symmetry. It is native to Fiji, typically grows in Vanuatu, and is also found in Southwest Florida. The Montgomery palm is a single-trunked, evergreen palm that can grow about 7.6 to 10.6 m (25' to 35') tall. The slender trunk is ringed with leaf scars and is covered with a fiber that is eventually shed as the palm matures.

It has a slender, yellow-brown trunk with ring scars and grows to about 15 m (50'). The leaves are pinnate, about 3 m (10') long, with an arching crown. Montgomery produces both male and female flowers on the same inflorescence, with the male flowers being larger. These are followed by ovoid, red fruits about 3 cm (1.2") long. The Montgomery palm is an ornamental plant and is also grown for its fruits. However, this palm species is threatened by habitat loss.

Key properties:

  • Slender, yellow-brown trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Red fruits
  • Ornamental plant
  • Threatened by habitat loss

Needle Palm

Not as dangerous as it sounds.

Scientific name: Rhapidophyllum hystrix

The needle palm is a small, slow-growing palm native to the southeastern United States. It's found in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Florida. The needle palm gets the name from the sharp, needle-like leaf sheaths. It's also known for being the sole member of the Rhapidophyllum genus.

This palm typically grows to about 2.4 to 3 m (8' to 10'); however, some specimens have reached heights of up to 6 m (20'). It has a dark, lush green foliage with erect central leaves on the top. The needle palm is easily one of the hardiest palms, tolerant of various conditions, including cold temperatures, drought, and full sun.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Sharp, needle-like leaf sheaths
  • Erect central leaves
  • Hardy palm
  • Tolerant of a wide growing conditions

Parlor Palm

A great choice for the indoors.

Scientific name: Chamaedorea elegans

Hailing from the rainforests of Mexico and Guatemala, Parlor is a slow-growing, small palm that is popular as a houseplant. It's a rhizomatous plant with a slender green trunk and reaches about 2 to 3 m (6.5' to 10'). The leaves are pinnate, long, narrow leaflets, and about 3 to 10 of them make the crown. It produces small, yellow, or orange-red flowers, which emerge from the trunk as lateral buds, and then pea-sized berries emerge.

The Parlor Palm is a low-maintenance plant and does not require much care. It can be grown in pots as well as in the ground. They can't tolerate salty sand, so grow them in well-drained loamy soil. It prefers indirect sunlight but can also tolerate low light. Moreover, it is drought-tolerant and does not require much water; however, these are sensitive to overwatering.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Small, yellow, or orange-red flowers
  • Drought-tolerant
  • Sensitive to overwatering

Pindo Palm

Jelly palm, because people will be jealous if you sport these in your garden.

Scientific name: Butia capitata

Hailing from Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, the Pindo Palm is also known as the jelly palm. It's a slow-growing evergreen tree that can reach 3 to 6 m (10' to 20') and 3 to 5 m (10' to 15') wide. The Pindo palm has a stout trunk covered with the fibrous material of the fallen leaves. Its pinnate leaves are gray-green to blue-green and are about 0.9 to 1.8 m (3' to 6'). It has compound leaves with 25 to 60 pairs of leaflets and narrow leaflets.

The flowers are creamy-yellow, borne in clusters, and dangle from the trunk. These are followed by small, orange-yellow fruits that are edible. They are as large as dates and have a rich pineapple flavor. The Pindo Palm is heat, salt, and drought-tolerant, ideal for landscaping.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Stout trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Creamy-yellow flowers
  • Orange-yellow fruits

Mexican Palm

White flowers, black fruits. Quite the palm of extremes!

Scientific name: Washingtonia robusta

As the name implies, the Mexican palm is native to Mexico, specifically the country's northwestern part. Commonly known as Mexican fan palm Mexican washingtonia, or skyduster. It's also been introduced to other parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. The Mexican palm is a fast-growing palm that can reach a height of 12 to 24 m (40' to 80').

This exotic-looking palm is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of conditions. It prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial shade and drought. Moreover, it can thrive on coastlines as it is salt and wind tolerant. You get small white flowers which are replaced with pea-sized black fruits. It is one of the most popular palm species for its great ornamental value.

Key properties:

  • Fast-growing
  • Tolerates a wide range of conditions
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Salt and wind tolerant
  • Ornamental value

Red Sealing Wax Palm

Strikingly unique due to its coloration.

Scientific name: Cyrtostachys renda

Commonly known as the Lipstick palm, the Red Sealing Wax palm is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. The tree's shape resembles a tube of lipstick, which is where it gets its name. It's a slow-growing tropical evergreen palm species that can grow up to 16 m (52'). The Red Sealing Wax palm has a slender trunk covered with red scales and the fibrous material of the fallen leaves.

This gives it a distinguished scarlet shade that sets in contrast with the green foliage. The crown consists of 6 to 8 pinnate leaves about 1.5 m (5') long. Each leaf has about 50 to 60 pairs of dark green leaflets in color with a red midrib. The flowers are pale green and emerge beneath the crown shaft, and then you get black ovoid fruits. These palm species are comparatively delicate as they are not tolerant to salt, drought, and wind. However, they make for an exotic and unique addition to your landscape with proper care.

Key properties:

  • Slow-growing
  • Slender trunk
  • Pinnate leaves
  • Red scales
  • Pale green flowers
  • Black ovoid fruits

What Palm Trees are Native to Florida?

There are over 2600 palm species worldwide, and quite a few of them can be found in Florida. However, only 12 of them are native to the Sunshine state.

Here's a list of palm trees that are proud to be Floridian natives:

  • Alexander palm tree
  • Sylvester palm
  • Florida royal palm
  • Key thatch palm
  • Dwarf palmetto
  • Needle palm
  • Scrub palmetto
  • Florida silver palm
  • Paurotis palm
  • Saw palmetto
  • Florida thatch palm
  • Cabbage palm

How to Identify Florida Palm Trees

Florida is home to various palm trees, each with its unique characteristics. Whether you're out for a walk in the park or driving down the street, you are bound to encounter one of these majestic trees. So you're not left clueless, here are some characteristics to look out for when identifying various types of Florida palm trees.

Stems

The first giveaway is the stem, or trunk, of the palm tree. The thickness and height of the stem can vary greatly depending on the species. For example, the cabbage palm has a thin, slender stem that can grow up to 19 m (65') tall. In contrast, the buccaneer palm has a thick, bulky stem that only reaches a maximum height of 8 m (26'). Mostly palm trees are unbranched and have large leaf bases arranged in different shapes.

Trunk Scarring

Another way to identify a palm tree is by the trunk scarring. As leaves die and fall off, they leave distinct scars on the trunk. Depending on the tree's age, these scars can be arranged in concentric circles or spirals and can range from light to dark in color. Older trees are often covered in epiphytes such as lichen and moss.

Fronds

Most palm trees have long, thin fronds that grow in an arching fashion. The fronds can be blue-green and may have a waxy texture. They are arranged in either a palmate or pinnate fashion and can range in size from 1 m (3.3') to 6 m (20'). Some species, such as the royal palm, have bi-pinnate fronds, meaning they are divided into two main sections.

Flowers

Flowers are another key characteristic to look for when identifying different types of Florida palm trees. They typically grow in clusters and may be greenish-yellow, off-white, or grayish. While most flowers are fragrant, some are not, plus they are small and inconspicuous.

Fruits

The fruits on a palm tree can also help you identify their species. Palm trees bear coconuts, betel nuts, or even acai berries. Moreover, most palm trees have red fruits that mature in the late summer, though there are exceptions to this rule. For example, the cabbage palm has shiny black fruits that mature in the late summer.

Overall, Florida palm trees are an iconic part of the state's landscape, and they are almost everywhere. If you know these characteristics, you won't have difficulty identifying the different kinds of palm trees.

Parting Words

We hope you enjoyed reading about the palm trees in Florida. We also covered the characteristics of identifying palm trees. So, the next time you are on a stroll through Florida, you'll be able to identify the various palm trees. We're sure you are excited to get one or two palm trees for your garden.

Posted by Pavneet Lobana

Pavneet is a home and lifestyle blogger with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. A self-taught chef, she also loves to cook and share her recipes with others. Whether you're looking to create a cozy reading nook or upgrade your kitchen, she has advice that will help you get the most out of your space.