With over 2000 types of palm trees found across the world, Florida notably has its own unique species. While many other states may have an abundance of different types of palm trees, it is only Florida that has the distinction of having several native and endemic (only growing in a certain area) species within its borders.
The following article will be taking a look at the different types of palm trees that grow in Florida, and feature some examples to display their uniqueness.
Washingtonia filifera: Canary Island Palm Tree
This type of palm tree is considered one of the more common types in Florida. It can reach heights of up to 60 feet tall with a spread of 10-20 feet. This type of palm tree is hardy, easily grown, and requires little care or attention. The leaves are 3-5 meters long, 2-3 meters wide, and feather-shaped. They grow in clusters of 10 to 20 leaves which are up 4 feet long. The fruits produced by this type of palm tree are considered a delicacy and can be harvested for food.
Washingtonia robusta: Mexican Fan Palm Tree
Another commonly found palm tree in Florida is the Mexican Fan Palm Tree. These trees are considered one of the tallest among the different types of palm trees, reaching up to 80 feet tall with a spread of 15-30 feet. The leaves are 1-2 meters long and 3-5 meters wide. The flowers produced by these trees are a creamy color and bloom from April to June, but only every other year. In its fruit form, the Mexican Fan Palm Tree produces a sweet pulp that is edible for humans as well as animals such as birds. Other than its fruit and seeds, the leaves are also used for making telephone calls.
Thrinax radiate: Florida Thatch Palm Tree
The Florida Thatch Palm Tree is considered one of the most common types of palm trees in Florida due to its evergreen nature. It can grow up to 20 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide. Its leaves are 1-2 meters long and 5-10 centimeters wide. Its flowers produce a sweet tasting fruit that can be eaten by people as well as animals such as birds, squirrels, and opossum alike.
Sabal palmetto: Cabbage Palm
The Cabbage Palm is considered the most common type of palm tree in Florida. This palm tree is hardy, making it easy to grow in the area. It is also commonly found growing in disturbed or coastal areas. The Cabbage Palm has a lifespan of hundreds of years. It can grow up to 40-50 feet tall with a spread of 15-20 feet. Its leaves are 2 meters long, 0.5 meters wide, and fan like in shape.
Washingtonia filifera: California Fan Palm Tree
The California Fan Palm is another type of palm tree that is commonly found in Florida. This palm tree is considered an evergreen, meaning it keeps its leaves year round and does not shed them (shedding leaves during the winter months). The California Fan Palm grows up to 30 feet tall with a spread of 15-20 feet. It can withstand strong winds, making it perfect for coastal areas like Miami and West Palm Beach. Its leaves are 1 meter long and 3 meters wide at the base.
Howea forsteriana: Kentia Palm Tree
The Kentia Palm is considered an endangered species of palm tree. Its range is limited to Lord Howe Island off the coast of Australia, the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand, and Port Jackson in Australia. The Kentia Palm has a lifespan of hundreds of years and can grow up to 30 feet tall with a spread of 10-12 feet. It is considered a slow growing palm tree and its leaves typically only get 3 meters long and 1 meter wide.
The Kentia Palm Tree is considered one of the more rare types of palm trees in Florida, as it is mostly found on Lord Howe Island off the coast of Australia. The Kentia Palm has a lifespan of hundreds of years and grows up to 30 feet tall with a spread of 10-12 feet. It is considered a slow growing palm tree and its leaves typically only get 3 meters long and 1 meter wide.
Phoenix reclinata: Windmill Palm Tree
The final type of palm tree that is commonly found in Florida is the Windmill Palm Tree. This palm tree can grow up to 25 feet tall with a spread of 7-12 feet. It is considered a slow growing palm tree and its leaves typically reach 4-5 meters in length. The Windmill Palm Tree produces sweet tasting fruit that can be eaten by humans as well as animals such as squirrels, opossum, and birds.
All of these types of palm trees are commonly found in Florida. They grow well in the area because they are drought tolerant and can withstand strong winds. The leaves of all types of palm trees are characterized by the fact that they are large and fan like in shape.
Are Palm Trees Indigenous to Florida?
Only 12 types of palm tree are native to FL. The rest of the common Florida palm trees originated in South America – but not necessarily in the area that is now called Florida.