What are the types of palm trees? When we conjure a mental image of palm trees, it’s easy to simply think of them as one type of tree, frequently associated with warm weather, tropical beaches, and vacations. But did you know that there are dozens of varieties of palm trees? For example, how would you tell if you were sitting under a Fishtail palm or a Foxtail palm? A Queen palm or a Royal palm? There are certainly ways of distinguishing a palm tree itself. It will typically be quite tall, have a rough trunk, and the leaves will be concentrated and generally splayed outward at the top. Palm trees are either considered fan palms or feather palms, depending on their leaf shapes. Let’s examine a few types of palm trees to see how different they can be.
Washingtonia palms grow in the United States, specifically in the Southwest. These palm trees grow to be quite tall, with very dark brown trunks of a rough texture. Though considered fan palms, they appear rather bush-like and dense at the top, with the leaves gathered together in a fairly compact bunch. These types of palm trees grow edible fruit and can commonly be found in California, Arizona, and Texas.
Lady Palms, as they are known, are very small in comparison. So small, in fact, that you can keep them as potted plants. Unlike Washingtonia palms, these types of palms are from Asia and have extremely thin, lightly-colored trunks which spread outward, creating a miniature forest effect. Their leaves are observably fan-like, compared to the quite rounded appearance of the Washingtonia palm leaves. Lady Palms, since they can be potted, may also function as houseplants and are easy to maintain. If you happen to be a ‘fan’ of palm trees, the Lady Palm might just be the thing for you.
The African oil palm, on the other hand, is quite unlike the standard palm tree. These types of palm trees begin as short, squat trees which are very shrub-like in appearance. Their trunks have a jagged, pointy appearance with a rich brown color, and their leaves are fanned and incredibly thin. As they continue to grow, their bases expand, still remaining squat until maturity. These types of palm trees produce palm oil, a valuable and marketable substance. As they are produced as a crop, these palms can grow quite close to one another, and as they continue to grow, their leaves take on a fuller, heavier appearance.
Palmyra palms can generally be found in tropical areas and can grow to be incredibly tall. Depending on the location of growth, these types of palm trees can have very thin, smooth trunks upon reaching maturity. Somewhat like the Washingtonia palm, their leaves are bunched at the top, rather than splaying outward, and have an almost prickly appearance. Of all of the types of palm trees explored in this article, Palmyra palms have the most rounded cluster of leaves, resembling, to some extent, a porcupine at the top of a narrow column.