Palm Trees of Florida

Since palm trees are a symbol of Florida, it is no surprise that the state tree is the sabal or cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). It is native to the whole state, but many species grow only in the southern part of the state. Palm trees are evergreen and most grow slowly. Some species have single trunks, while others have two or more trunks in a clump. The leaves and heavy petioles of palm trees form fronds. Most palm trees grow in full sun to partial shade in neutral to acidic soil.

Key Thatch Palm

The key thatch palm (Thrinax morrisii) is a small tree that grows 15 to 20 feet tall, and 6 to 10 feet wide. It has a smooth slender trunk, and a symmetric open crown. The palmate fronds are green on the upper surfaces and silvery-white on the lower surfaces. Small white fruits follow insignificant white flowers. The Key Thatch palm will stand occasional wet conditions, and has a high tolerance for drought and salt.

Paurotis Palm

The Paurotis palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii) grows 15 to 25 feet tall, and 10 to 15 feet wide, and often has several slender trunks. Palmate fronds that are green on the upper surfaces and silver on the lower surfaces form the irregular open crown. Bright orange stalks bear showy yellow flowers, followed by black fruits. The Paurotis palm has a moderate tolerance of drought and salt, and can withstand extended flooding.

Royal Palm

The royal palm (Roystonea elata) is tall straight tree that grows 50 to 80 feet tall. It has a symmetrical open crown of bright green pinnate fronds and showy yellow flowers. The fragrant flowers are followed by purple or black fleshy fruits. The royal palm will tolerate occasional wet conditions, drought and salt.

Sabal Palm

The sabal palm has a rough fibrous trunk that is straight, curved, or even leaning. The green palmate fronds form a symmetrical open crown. Fragrant creamy white flowers bloom on branched stalks followed by green or black fruits. The sabal palm has a high tolerance for salt, drought and flooding.

Silver Palm

The silver palm (Coccothrinax argentea) is also known as the Thatch Palm. It grows 6 to 15 feet tall, and 6 to 7 feet wide with a symmetrical open crown. The gray trunk may be smooth or covered with burlap-like fiber. The palmate fronds are dark blue green on the upper surfaces and silver on the lower surfaces. Fleshy purple fruit follows small white flowers. The silver palm will not tolerate wet conditions, but is highly tolerant of drought and salt.

Keywords: Florida palm trees, Sabal Palm, Royal Palm, Key Thatch Palm, Parotis Palm, Silver Palm

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.