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Types of Palm Trees in Florida

By Venice Kichura ; Updated September 21, 2017
Florida palm tree
palm tree image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com

Florida is known for the tropical palm trees that beautify private landscapes, shopping malls, theme parks and businesses. The state's palms grow in either clusters or as solitary trees. Because Florida has a warm, humid climate and plentiful rainfall, the Sunshine State is an ideal environment for growing palm trees. According to Florida-Palm-Trees.com, there are more than 2,500 palm species and most of them are found in Florida.

Coconut Palm

Coconut palms are the most well known and economically important palm tree, according to Florida Gardener.com. The city of Palm Beach gets its name from this type of palm tree, which is found growing primarily in the Florida Keys north to the Palm Beaches and west to Ft. Meyers. Coconut palms have a smooth unbranched trunk that is light gray or brown. The trunk bulges, showing its roots at the base. The coconut palm is considered the world’s most useful palm because its oil is used in making coconut oil for cooking, soaps, cosmetics and candles, while its leathery husk is used in manufacturing ropes, clothing and household items.

Saw Palmetto

The saw palmetto is a small fan-shaped palm that’s somewhat horizontal in shape. The plant’s stem runs along the ground’s surface or remains below ground. It can also develop an arching trunk capable of lifting leaves two to eight feet above ground, according to Florida Palm Trees.com. This palm produces one-inch-round black fruit. The bluish-black flowers have a fragrant scent and are oblong or ellipsoid-shaped. Saw palmettos are generally grown on pine flatwoods or deep sandy hills. .

Cabbage Palm

The cabbage palm is Florida’s state tree. This palm, which is mostly used as an ornamental tree, produces fragrant flowers that are bisexual, appearing on branches protruding from the tree’s trunk. It has leaves that are fan-shaped or shaped as half-circles. Cabbage palm leaves are medium green or yellow green and have a dull finish. The fruit of this palm, known as a drupe, is shiny and black. Normally these palms are found near the coasts of Florida, but also grow well in tidal flats, marshes, islands and in wet hardwood hammocks because they tolerate high water tables.

Areca Palm

Areca palms are one of Florida’s favorite palm trees. They can be called by other names such as butterfly palms, cane palms and golden feather palms. Arecas appear upright when young, but as they age their new fronds become bent and heavy as the plant spreads out. These palms make excellent privacy screens and are usually grown as shrubs or hedges. The palm’s tips are prone to turn brown, but this is normal and not a cause for concern. Only dead branches should be pruned from an areca palm because clipping browned tips can cause a branch to stop growing.