Are Palm Trees Native To Florida? 12 palm tree species are native to Florida. The rest are imported into the state. On Sanibel Island you will find some common Palm Trees that you’re likely to see around the island. Below are descriptions and photos to help you identify them.
A classic symbol of the tropics, the coconut palm is not only ornamental, but also one of the world’s most economically important palms. A coconut is a single-trunk palm that can grow to 50 feet or more, with a moderate growth rate. It will begin to produce nuts when it’s about 6 to 8 years old, fruiting at random times throughout the year. The nuts themselves take about a year to ripen. These palms are very salt-tolerant and make perfect beachside plantings.
They can be sensitive to cold and do best in coastal areas.
Huge, gorgeous royal palm tree is thought of by many as the world’s most beautiful palm. This big beauty is the classic South Florida palm tree and a Florida native. Smooth trunks of gray to gray-white are topped with bright green crownshafts and long, luxurious, full fronds. Soaring to heights 80 feet tall, this giant palm tree is one of the most sought-after landscape palms for elegant South Florida homes. Because of their eventual mammoth size, royals are best used in larger landscapes with bigger houses so they fit the scale of their surroundings. The fruit this palm produces in fall and winter is a good food source for birds.
A royal palm grows at a moderate speed up to 80 feet. It will take partial shade but is happiest in a full sun location in Zone 10B and warmer areas of 10A.
This is a moderately salt-tolerant palm, and it’s moderately drought-tolerant as well, once it’s established, though it will benefit from regular watering.
Royals are self-cleaning – dropping old fronds on their own.
Sabal palmetto, also known as cabbage-palm, palmetto, cabbage palmetto, blue palmetto, Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, swamp cabbage and sabal palm, is one of 15 species of palmetto palm. It is native to the southern United States, as well as Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas.
Cabbage palms are capable of reaching heights of 90 feet or more in the wild, but in cultivation they usually grow only 40 to 60 feet tall. The tree’s 18- to 24-inch wide trunk is topped by a rounded canopy of long fronds. It isn’t usually considered a good shade tree, but clusters of cabbage palms can provide moderate shade. The lower fronds sometimes drop from the tree leaving their base, called a boot, attached to the trunk. These boots create the cross-hatched pattern on the trunk of the tree. As the tree matures, the older boots fall off leaving the lower part of the trunk smooth.
Serenoa repens, commonly known as saw palmetto, is the sole species currently classified in the genus Serenoa. It is a small palm, growing to a maximum height around 7–10 ft. It is endemic to the subtropical Southeastern United States, most commonly along the south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains and sand hills
Identify a Saw Palmetto, begin by looking at the leaf stems. The saw palmetto has sharp, saw-tooth spines along its stem; the cabbage palm has a smooth stem. Next, note if the leaf stem ends abruptly at the edge of the fan-shaped leaf blade (saw palmetto), or if the stem continues into the leaf, forming an upside down V
It is native to Central America, southeastern Mexico, the Caribbean, Colombia, the Bahamas, and is native to the United States in extreme southern Florida (in the Everglades), where it grows in swamps and periodically flooded forests. In the Everglades, this palm can be seen growing in great mounds that erupt from the edges of the small islands that dot this “river of grass”.
The beautiful leaves are palmate (fan-shaped): light-green above, and silver underneath. In the spring, these palms produce large inflorescences of creamy white flowers that extend well beyond the foliage.
The genus name “Acoelorrhaphe” is a combination of three Greek words meaning a- ‘without’, koilos ‘hollow’, and rhaphis ‘needle’, which refers to the type of fruit this tree bears. The species, like several other plant species, is named after the prominent American botanist Charles Wright.
This palm was formerly abundant in Florida, but many plants were taken for the nursery trade. The palm is now protected in the wild, by Florida law. Trees propagated from seed or by sawing apart the base of a cluster are available in nurseries.
The Merwin Palm Collection includes three of these palms, one a seedling, one a juvenile, and one a mature palm.
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