You may be surprised to learn that the coconut palm is not one of the Florida palm trees.
This tropical wonder is not native to any part of the Americas.
Coconuts were brought over by the Spaniards for food on the long journey across the Atlantic.
Any not eaten were planted so trees with fruit would be available on the next trip.
This state has a diverse ecology, which allows many different species of palm trees to thrive.
The most popular of all has got to be the cabbage palm or Sabal palmetto.
It is the state tree for both Florida and South Carolina.
It grows wild in many locations and can be seen right next to the ocean just like their coconut cousins.
Both are highly water and salt tolerant.
The difference is the cabbage palm prefers the cooler nights of the northern part of the state while the coconut prefers the warmer nights to the south.
Here’s a list-with a brief description-of Florida palm trees that are native to the state:
Everglades Palm or paurotis palm: densely clumping variety, fan leaves with small teeth on leaf stems. It has a very pretty presentation with many at different heights and can be used to form a privacy screen.
Florida Silver and Silver Thatch Palm: Single trunk fan leaves with green top and silver under sided leaves. Stays smaller and is a slow grower. Loved for the two tone leaf color.
Needle Palm: multi clustering trunks, stays small, thrives in shady moist soil. Has needle like fibers near crown that mostly remain hidden from view.
Royal Palm: popular street lining tree. Grows tall on a whitish gray trunk with large feather leaves up to 15 ft long. Only produces small fruits. Great canopy tree.
Dwarf Palmetto: most have an underground trunk. Stays a small tree with semi circular fan leaves. Drought and cold tolerant. Many planted together creates the best display.
Cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto): Single trunk, large tree, with deep khaki green leaves. Cold tolerant. Great canopy tree. Easy to grow.
Saw palmetto: multi trunks clumping variety. Olive green to bluish leaves with tiny teeth on stems. Slow growing and does well in part shade.
Buccaneer Palm: Slow growing, feather leaf palm that doesn't get as tall, but very tropical looking.
Key Thatch : Grows to 25 ft tall, single trunk with large fan leaves, with silver under sides. Slow growing- salt and drought tolerant.
Florida Thatch palm: grows to 35 ft tall has single trunk, large bright green fan leaves. Leaves are used in making thatch roofs. Slow grower that is both drought and salt tolerant.
There are way too many tropical beauties that will just plain grow.
The state has perfect growing conditions for so many--far too many to mention all of them.
It makes for a wonderful diverse landscape.
There are a few popular ones though.
The Bismarck is one as it will do well in the northern part of the state with its cold tolerance in case of a freeze.
Let's not forget the very salt, beach loving coconut palm.
A few have adapted so well, that they are considered an evasive species to some of the native trees. An example would be the clumping variety of fishtail palm.
Match your growing conditions to those of the tree and you’ll have little problem.
Don’t try to put an arid loving desert palm in the humidity of southern Florida. It’s liable to have a disappointing outcome.
A California fan palm is unlikely to adapt well.
Here is a collection of Florida palm tree photos displayed on a board by Palm Tree Passion at Pinterest.
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