The Christmas Palm Tree, scientific name Veitchia merrillii, is one of the most popular palms in Florida. The Christmas Palm is also known as Manila Palm, Kerpis Palm, Adonidia Palm, Dwarf Royal Palm, and Veitchia Palm.
In the wild Veitchia merrillii is known to grow up to 25ft tall but in cultivation it usually doesn’t get taller than 16ft. It has a lot of similar characteristics with Royal Palm Tree and sometimes is even called dwarf royal palm. Christmas Palms Trees are much smaller and are easier to manage in comparison to the Royal Palm Trees.
The Christmas Palm has smooth slender grey trunk that is slightly swollen at the base and ringed with old leaf scars. The Christmas Palm may be used alone or may also be planted in groups of two or three.
Bright green crownshaft supports a crown of 10-12 pinnate, or feather-shaped, fronds. Short crownshaft is about 3ft long. Leaves are glossy, strongly arched, grow to a length of 5 feet with sharp-edged leaflets that are up to 2 feet long by 2 inches wide.
During summer months the Christmas Palm produces light green flower buds that turn into creamy blossom. Unisexual flowers are held by 2ft long branched stalks that emerge from the area where the crownshaft attaches to the trunk. In December flowers are followed by green oval fruits that turn bright red as they ripe. Berrie-like fruits are 1 inch long and 1/5 inch wide. They hang in clusters looking like Christmas ornament, therefore palm’s common name is Christmas Palm.
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