February 28, 2019

It’s never a PALMblem when you’re sitting under the shade of a palm!

When you hear “Palm Trees”, what comes to your mind? Vacations? Long sandy beaches? Tropical vibes? Or maybe a romantic moment with your partner under the shade of a Palm Tree leaf? Whatever it is, we all have positive images that come to our mind when we hear “Palm Trees.”

Palm Trees Are In Everybody’s Dreams

Indeed, Palm Trees have always been a symbol of vacation, relaxation, and romantic tropics. They’re so wanted that they’ve been victims of theft. Why is that? In the 19th century, palm trees were a symbol of Holy Land, Tropics, and Orient. Today they’re more a symbol of luxury, leisure, and they inspire people to dream big. The end of the story is that we find them everywhere: the United States, Canada, Britain, Japan, Bulgaria, Ukraine etc. They turned international! That’s definitely a tourist magnet.

 Florida’s Palm Trees

There are around 2,600 species of Palm Trees and only 12 of them are native to Florida.

  • Needle Palm
  • Cabbage Palm
  • Dwarf Palmetto 
  • Scrub Palmetto 
  • Miami Palmetto 
  • Florida Thatch Palm
  • Florida Silver Palm
  • Florida Royal Palm
  • Everglades Palm / Paurotis
  • Buccaneer Palm / Florida Cherry Palm

Scrub Palmetto and Miami Palmetto are endemic to Florida, meaning they can only be found there.

There are also non-native palms that you can observe in Florida:

  • Coconut Palm (Indo-Malaya)
  • Bismarckia (Madagascar)
  • Foxtail Palm (Australia)
  • Fishtail Palm (Asia, Australia, South Pacific)
  • Triangle Palm (Madagascar)
  • Bottle Palm (Mascarene Islands)
  • Christmas Palm (Philippines, Malaysia)
  • Red-leaf Palm (New Caledonia)

Palm trees need warm, tropical or sub-tropical temperatures but they can be found in colder areas. Palm trees are extremely strong trees that can survive cold temperatures, winds, floods, and the strongest storms and even hurricanes and typhoons. They sway but they never break. What scientists know is that these trees have a unique trunk structure that enables them to be more flexible.

 How can we differentiate palm species?

  • Fronds

    • Feather-like or pinnate

    • Fan-shaped or palmate

  • Trunk

    • Solitary (ex: Cabbage Palm)

    • Multi-trunk (ex: Needle Palm or Lady Palm)

    • Smooth surface 

    • Rough surface

The trunk can also have different shapes and colors. For example, the Bottle Palm trunk has the shape of a bottle. The Lipstick Palm has a red crown shaft and the King Palm has a purple crown shaft.


  • Flowers and Fruits

(Picture by Hans via Pixabay)

  • Size

      • Dwarf (up to 10 feet)

    (Picture by Susan Martin via Flickr)

      • Tall (up to 100 feet)


    Palm trees as house plants

    Did you know? Palms can also be placed indoors! I'm going to compare two beautiful indoor palms called Cat Palm and Areca Palm.


     Cat Palm

    Areca Palm


    Pinnate, green, 1 feet long, cane-like leaf stems, 30-50 leaflets per leaf

    Pinnate, yellow-green, 5-7 feet long, V-shaped, butterfly-like 

    clustering palm, no trunk

    Smooth silver-green or ringed cane-like, yellow petioles

    Flower/fruits Bright yellow flowers, non-edible black fruit Bright yellow flowers, non-edible yellow-orange fruits that grow under the leaf
    Dimensions 5-10 ft tall & wide 20 ft tall
    Indoor use Privacy screen for windows, in rooms, at entries... Privacy wall/fence


    The Cat Palm and the Areca Palm have confusing similarity. You have to take a closer look in order to notice the differences. They may also react differently depending on the care given. Concerning maintenance, the Cat Palm is easier to maintain than the Areca Palm. However, they both like partial shade and high watering, and they both tolerate pretty low and high temperatures (from 25F).


    Author: Mara Vukovic


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