Stan Shebs, USDA/ARS
A tall palm with an upright feather-duster crown of long gray-green fronds, the date palm produces large pendent clusters of the sweet edible dates of renown. The most widely grown commercial date in the United States, 'Deglet Noor' produces semi-dry fruits on tall, relatively sparsely leaved plants.
An ancient foodsource integral to the cultures of the drier regions of Africa and Asia for 5000 years, the date palm apparently originated in northern Africa and the Middle East. It is found only...
Carol Cloud Bailey
(Senegal Date Palm)
With multiple narrow, arching trunks and lush, gracefully arching green fronds, Senegal date palm is a picturesque garden specimen. Native to the moist tropics of sub-Saharan Africa, it is an evergreen that grows as a thick, impenetrable clump.
The fronds can become quite long and gently arching, bearing many glossy, mid- and dark-green leaflets. The lower leaflets are modified into brutally nasty spines, called acanthophylls, which are never forgotten once a hand reaches into the base of the...
Carol Cloud Bailey
(Pygmy Date Palm)
One of the smallest of the date palms, this native of Laos bears an arching canopy of feathery, dark green fronds with sharp spines at the lower ends. The leaves appear in a crown atop a short, relatively slow-growing trunk. It sometimes suckers to produce multiple stems. Large, dense clusters of cream-colored flowers appear in the warm months succeeded by small, oval, black edible fruits.
Pygmy date palm likes warmth, humidity, well-drained soil, and protection from hot sun. Highly alkaline...
(India Date Palm, Silver Date Palm, Toddy Palm, Wild Date Palm)
With a fountain-like, silvery crown and slender, medium-tall trunk, this native of southern Pakistan and Northwest India resembles a scaled-down Canary Island date palm.
Upwards of 100 long, slender, feathery leaves arch from the apex of the solitary trunk, which is ribbed with the diamond-shaped scars of old leaves. Each frond has many narrowly lance-shaped leaflets of gray-green or gray-blue, arranged in several planes. The lowest leaflets are modified into sharp spines. The woody bases of...
(Hillebrand's Fan Palm, Loulou Lelo Palm)
With its elegant, bold, fan-shaped leaves, this small, single-trunked palm from the Hawaiian island of Molokai is among the loveliest plants for tropical and subtropical gardens.
The huge, green to blue-green, evergreen fronds are cleft into many long, stiff, lance-shaped segments that radiate like a fanned peacock's tail. The fronds have waxy, silvery undersides. Several dozen fronds are borne atop the trunk on long stalks ("petioles"), forming a spherical crown. The petioles are clothed...
Gerald L. Klingaman
(Koolau Range Pritchardia)
Bearing immense, elegantly dissected leaves on a compact trunk, this beautiful palm is native to the Ko'olau Range of eastern Oahu.
The huge, olive-green, evergreen fronds are cleft into many stiff, pleated, lance-shaped segments that radiate like a fanned peacock's tail. The fronds have silvery undersides clothed with tan felt. Twenty or more fronds are borne atop the trunk on long stalks ("petioles"), forming a spherical crown. Plants are initially stemless, eventually developing a gray...
James H. Schutte
(Alexander Palm, Solitaire Palm)
Alexander palm is a small, feather-leaved palm native to northeastern Australia. The slender gray trunk is ringed with old leaf scars. The arching, dark green fronds emerge from a swollen green crownshaft. Large panicles of fragrant creamy white flowers followed by red fruits are borne beneath the crownshaft in summer.
Alexander palm grows best in partial sun to partial shade and fertile, well-drained soil that is not alkaline. It is a good choice for courtyards, small lawns, and other confined...
Ravenea is a small genus of palms, all native to Madagascar and the Comoro islands. There are approximately 17-species each with a very different look and habitat preference.
The solitary trunks of Ravenea range from short to tall and thin to stout, and are usually lightly colored, tan or gray, and sometimes swollen at the base. They are topped with dense whorls of feather-like or pinnate leaves, often twisting at the tip and gracefully arching.