The California Fan Palm
California's Only Native Palm Tree
The California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera, is native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of California, Arizona, and Mexico where it grows in moist canyon soil along alkaline streams.
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Like most palms, it has several common names. It is sometimes called the desert palm, the petticoat palm, or the California Washingtonia.
The old leaves form a dry, brown skirt around the top of the trunk if they are not removed. It is this habit which causes people to call it the petticoat palm. Bugs, birds, and mice can live inside these skirts. Because the native range of this tree is so arid, they can also become a fire hazard.
This fan palm grows singly. The gray trunk can grow to 60 feet tall and 3 feet around.
A mature specimen can have a crown spread of 15 feet.
Each leaf is 3-6 feet wide and grows on a long stalk with hooked teeth.
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This could explain why people don't always prune off the dead fronds. These teeth are not present in juveniles.
Each spring, large clusters of white flowers dangle from the crown. These flowers mature into sweet black berries which can be eaten fresh by humans and animals alike.
The California fan palm is hardy to 15 degrees F. Possibly lower with age. It is fast growing, drought and salt tolerant.
Plant it only in fast draining soil and do not irrigate it or it may suffer from root rot. For this reason, it is not suitable for rainy climates.
Washingtonia robusta (Mexican fan palm) is a better choice for the humid east coast or for an irrigated landscape.
The desert palm is susceptible to scale insects and palm weevil.
As with most palms, propagation is by seed.
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These are healthy, live palms in hard-to-find larger sizes. They range from 4-24 feet in height and shipping is included in the price.
Buy a 4 Foot Tall California Fan - Small Palm Tree - $99.95
Retail Price: 119.94
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Buy a 6 Foot Tall Washingtonia filifera - Medium Palm Tree - $399.95
Retail Price: 479.94
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Buy a 24 Foot Tall California Fan - Large Palm Tree - $699.95
Retail Price: 839.94
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California Fan Palm - Seeds - $7.95
Palm Seeds - Freshly Harvested by Season
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Thrinax radiata produces white blooms in the summer. One of the most striking features of this palm are the white berries that follow the flowers. They are showier than the blossoms and hang in panicles like bunches of tiny grapes.
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