The California Fan Palm Tree, scientific name Washingtonia filifera, is one of the most popular palms in subtropical climates because of its beautiful appearance and low maintenance.
The California Fan Palm is also known as Desert Fan Palm, American Cotton palm, and Arizona Fan Palm.
In the wild Washingtonia filifera is known to grow up to 70ft tall but in cultivation it is usually not more than 35ft tall and 15 ft wide. The California Fan Palm has heavy grey trunk ringed with old leaf scars.
When the leaves die they bend downwards and form a skirt around the trunk. Trunk is a little swollen at the base and can get up to 3ft in diameter at its widest point. Palmate, or fan shaped, leaves emerge from the trunk forming a loose and open crown. Leaves are grey-green, about 4-6ft across with tips of fronds arching down. The leaf stems of mature palms have curved thorns. The leaflet edges have fibrous white cotton-like threads.
In the early summer, the California Fan Palm produces creamy flowers that hang in clusters from the crown. Flowers are small held by stalks that extend beyond foliage. The California Fan Palm has male and female flowers on the same inflorescent. The flowers are followed by black fleshy berry-like fruit, ½ in. in diameter with a single seed inside that mature sometime in September.
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