Search this site

Mediterranean Fan Palm

European Fam Palm Tree

The Mediterranean fan palm is a gorgeous specimen, usually of the clumping variety. Occasionally it will have a solitary trunk but that doesn’t take anything away from its beauty.

As you can probably guess it is native to the Mediterranean.

Actually it is the only palm that is native to Europe. That explains the other name it goes by: European Fan Palm

Photo:Chamaerops humilis var. argentea. Morocco: between Tizi-n-Tichka and Agouim, approx 31°N 7°20'W Author MPF

Many countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco and France are home to this species.

It likes the rocky hills there and the foothills of North Africa.  

It is the only palm that grows that far north naturally. All others have been imported to grow further north.


There are a few different looks to the Mediterranean fan palm. The reasons:

1.       It has been cultivated so the tree has changed a bit. There are 2 varieties that go by the same name but don’t have, or have less spines at the leaf base.

2.        The appearance varies depending on where it is native. The ones from North Africa have a slightly different color of leaf.

Chamaerops Humilis, Huntington Library Palm Garden May 2009
Your Ultimate Palm Tree Handbook

Natives from the southwest part of Europe have green leaves and the ones native to northern Africa have bluish, greenish, gray color.

They all have deeply divided semi circular fan leaves with very tough spines or needles at the leaf bases.

This protects them from animals that may want to graze on them.

The trunks are covered with old leaf sheaths and a brown mat of fibrous material.

You should consider them a multi trunk, clumping variety if you decide to buy one. It is rare however that there will be a single trunk specimen.

The male and female flowers are on different trees requiring some help from Mother Nature to pollinate. They will get a small fruit on them that will turn from green to yellowish to brown when ripe.

They are considered a medium sized palm tree in height that can get to be up to 20 feet tall in nature.

If allowed they can get quite wide, 20 feet or more. These trees are often cultivated and sold for landscapes and house plants when young.

Quick info: Scientific name    Chamaerops humilis

  • 6-20 feet tall, 6-25 feet wide in nature, mostly multi trunks
  • Minimum temp 16°F   zones 8-11
  • Slow growth, any well drained soil
  • Cold and drought tolerant, thrives in a drier climate
European Fan Palm Tree - Medium
margalló - palmito europeo - Chamaerops humilis

Growth of the Mediterranean Fan Palm

The Mediterranean fan palm is a very hardy tree.

Growing in tough rocky soil isn’t an issue because of where it comes from.

Any soil as long as it drains well will do.

It will adapt itself to many different climates but will do better in a more arid dry climate than a moist, humid one.

It is very cold tolerant... more so in the drier climate where it’s from than a wetter one.

It also has moderate salt tolerance and is a slower growing palm.

European Fan Palm Tree

If you want to keep it a certain size you’ll have no trouble keeping up pruning off the extra trunks.

Keeping it somewhat thinned out will give it a better overall appearance.

I love the looks of the Mediterranean fan palm, especially when you have a small clump of around 5 or more displaying at different heights.

They have such a nice shape even when growing in the wild.

You might like these

  • All Types of Palm Trees

    Planning on growing a tropical garden inside or out? Here's a list of the many types of palm trees used in landscapes so you can plan accordingly!

  • Ruffled Fan Palm

    The Ruffled fan palm is hard one to miss. It’s a super choice for containers indoors or out and in landscapes. This one is sure to attract some attention.

  • Sabal Palmetto

    The Sabal Palmetto is a beautiful fan palm with glossy green leaves. It's drought, wind, cold and salt water spray tolerant.

NOTE :  About Buying Palms

If you are looking to buy palm trees of any kind then I would highly recommend purchasing through the Real Palm Tree Store.

They are a huge nursery based in Florida with connections to many quality growers.

Whether you are ordering from inside the United States, Canada or another part of the world-- ordering one tree for your landscape or many for a commercial project-- I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

Their customer service is second to none; all products are high quality and backed by a money back 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Make sure to visit real palm trees, ask questions and read the reviews before buying anywhere else.

Palm Tree Store

Back to top

Other articles you may find helpful for landscaping:

For placement ideas in your yard visit landscaping with palms

Large, medium, small varieties, and cold hardy types will give you lists of the common ones used for each situation.

Fertilizing will help you learn about the label, how to calculate the amount to use, where to apply and the best kinds.

Planting will explain the best practices for giving your tropical beauty a great start.

Growing defines the plant hardiness zones, soil types and other popular gardening terminology.

Palm Tree Passion is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Palm Tree Passion (

Palm Tree Passion > Types of Palms > Mediterranean Fan Palm