Types of Palm Trees with Identification Guide (Pictures, and Name): Small, Dwarf, and Tall Palm Tree Varieties

Types of Palm Trees

Palm trees are synonymous with tropical beaches, warm sunny climates, and beautiful landscaped gardens. Palms are recognized by their fan-shaped or feather-like fronds (leaves) and fiber-covered trunks or stems. Most types of palms such as date palms and coconut palms grow in warm countries. However, some species of palms are tolerant of temperate climates and cold temperatures. Some varieties of palm trees can also grow indoors as houseplants.

The most popular varieties of palm trees are Pygmy Date palm, Pindo Palm tree, Triangle palm plant, Mediterranean dwarf palm, Mazari palm, Dwarf Majesty palm tree, Christmas palm tree, Bottle palm tree, Canary palm tree, Sylvester palm, Chinese Fan palm, Palmetto palm tree, and Mexican palm tree.

Palm trees are a type of evergreen plant belonging to the Arecaceae family of plants. There are over 2,600 species of palm trees that are grouped into over 200 genera. Palm trees are classified by their branchless stems and showy large evergreen leaves.

Different types of palms also grow to varying heights. For example, types of coconut palms with their long wispy leaves can grow to nearly 100 ft. (30 m) tall. Date palms with their delicious sweet date fruits can grow to 75 ft. (22 m).

Some small palm trees are perfect for planting in gardens as they just reach heights of 6 to 9 ft. (1.8 – 2.7 m) tall. There are also some types of dwarf palm tree plants that grow well indoors in containers.

In this article, you will learn about tall, small, dwarf and indoor varieties of palm trees. You will learn how to identify the different varieties of palm trees and you’ll find their picture and common name. This will help choose the perfect palm plant for your garden or for growing indoors.

Palm Tree Facts

colombia palm

The Colombian Wax Palm is a type of very tall palm tree

Palm trees are grown for their ornamental appearance as well as for palm-derived products. For example, coconuts grow on palm trees and are used for their flesh, fibrous husks, and oil. Date palm trees are common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. Palm trees are also grown for their oil (palm oil) and their wood to make wicker furniture.

Some species of palm trees are among the tallest trees in the world. Although palm trees don’t grow as tall as Californian sequoia trees, the Wax Palm in Colombia can reach heights of 200 ft. (60 m). These trees are as tall as a 25-story building!

Not all palm trees are actually trees. Some of the more than 2,600 different types of palms are shrub-like evergreen plants and some are climbing palms.

Palm Tree Identification

palm tree identification features: tall skinny palm, spiky palm, thick palm

Identification features of palm trees include the leaf shape, height and the trunk appearance

Identifying species of palm trees is usually done by the distinctive shape of the palm fronds (leaves). Generally, leaves of palm trees are either pinnate (feather-like leaves) or palmate (fan-like fronds).

Another way to identify the type of palm tree is by the trunk shape. Some of the tallest species of palm trees have long slender single trunks and dwarf varieties usually have short fat palm trunks. Some smaller palm tree species may have clustered trunks with 3 or 4 short trunks growing together. There are also some dwarf palm trees that just have bushy pinnate fronds growing out the ground and don’t have any trunk at all.

You can also tell the species of palm tree by the appearance of the trunk. Some tall palm trees have smooth slender trunks. Depending on the species, these types of trees may have a ringed or bumpy appearance and have a grayish-brown color. Some types of palms have trunks covered in fiber or husks that make the trunk look hairy or spiky.

Small Types of Palm Trees (Including Dwarf Palm Trees) – With Pictures

Most people who want to grow palm trees in their yard look for small or miniature types of palm trees. Usually species of miniature or small palm trees are defined as being under 12 ft. (3.6 m) tall which in terms of palms is quite short. Within the small or dwarf palm tree category there are two types of palm trees: bushy palm tree and small palm tree.

Here are some of the most common types of small, dwarf and bushy palm trees.

Cat Palm (Chamaedorea Cataractarum)

cat palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) care

Due to its small size, cat palm can be grown indoors

The cat palm is a small palm plant with slender pinnate dark green leaves growing on thin stems that extend straight out of the ground. This trunkless palm tree grows 6 ft. (2 m) high outdoors and 3 ft. (1 m) high indoors. In time, the clumping palm forms a dense thicket of shiny slender leaflets.

The identifiable features of a cat palm are the skinny green stems and pinnate leaves, trunkless growth, and flowering stems of yellow ball-like blooms. If the palm is pollinated, small shiny green palm fruits appear that ripen to black ovoid-shaped drupes 0.5” (1.25 cm) long.

The common use of this small palm is as a garden plant in warm climates. However, due to its clumping, bushy habit, it is one of the few palm plants that can be used as an evergreen hedge plant. In colder climates, cat palms are ideal for growing in pots indoors if there is plenty of sunlight.

Further reading: Cat Palm – Care and Growing Guide.

Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

Phoenix roebelenii is a smal,l dwarf spiky palm tree

The pygmy date palm is a type of little palm tree with spiky trunk

As its common name suggests, the pygmy date palm is a small-sized palm tree. This is a true type of palm in the family Arecaceae and it doesn’t grow taller than 10 ft. (3 m). The small palm tree can be identified by its single stem with long bushy pinnate fronds that measure around 3 ft. (1 m) long.

This palm species is an excellent ornamental flowering tree for subtropical landscaped gardens. The arching-drooping fronds of pygmy date palm are large and showy and almost hide the spiky-looking trunk. These short palm trees also grow well in containers.

Although pygmy palm trees produce dates, the fruit generally isn’t as tasty as dates that grow on larger date palms.

Pindo Palm (Butia capitata)

picture of Butia capitata (common name: Pindo palm tree)

Pindo palm tree is classified as a slow growing, cold-hardy and small palm tree variety. It’s an excellent palm tree for residential landscapes.

Also named the jelly palm, Pindo palm trees are a species of cold-hardy palms. Although the mature palms can reach a height of 15 to 20 ft. (4.5 – 6 m), they are a slow-growing species of palm. This means that they are suitable for gardens where small palm trees are required.

These short palm trees thrive in full sun or partial shade and are tolerant of most soil types. The fruit of the palm trees are a light orange to brown color and are used to make jelly – hence the name ‘jelly palm.’ The palm is especially attractive when it flowers with red, yellow, or white blossoms.

Triangle Palm (Dypsis decaryi)

Neodypsis decaryi

The Triangle Palm has pinnate fronds that fan out from a single trunk

The Triangle Palm is the common name for the Dypsis decaryi palm which is in the small to medium-sized category of palm trees. The Triangle palm is identified by its extremely long pinnate fronds that grow up to 8 ft. (2.5 m) long. The interesting feature about the fronds is that the leaflets point out at 120° giving the fronds a triangular shape on the cross-section.

Looking at pictures of this palm tree, you can see another reason why it’s called the triangle palm. The leaves fan out from a single fibrous stem to form a distinct triangle shape. This a very ornamental type of palm tree for subtropical and tropical gardens. The Triangle palm is ideal in a landscape as a backyard tree.

Mediterranean Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Chamaerops humilis - multi trunk dwarf palm tree

The Mediterranean Dwarf Palm has few trunks and is small enough to suit many gardens

Also called the European Fan palm, this species of flowering palm is a small-growing tree. The Mediterranean Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops humilis) has a few clustered trunks that make the palm look more like a shrub than a tree. In warm climates, this small palm species grows to between 10 and 20 ft. (2 – 5 m) tall.

The palm fronds are light green to silver-green in color and grow in a fan shape. The leaflets are between 20” and 30” (50 – 80 cm) wide and each leaf is up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) long.

The Mediterranean Dwarf palm is prized for its ornamental value and cold hardiness. Although the palm thrives in the hot sun, it can withstand temperatures as low as 10 °F (−12 °C). The elegant palm can give gardens a tropical look even if you live in temperate climates.

Mazari Palm (Nannorrhops ritchiana)

Nannorrhops ritchiana

The Mazari palm is cold hardy and looks more like a palm bush

The Mazari palm is more of a shrubby bush than a palm tree. Native to southwestern Asia, the Mazari palm has palmate (fan-like) leaves that grow on clusters of stems. The fan-shaped leaves can measure between 1 and 4 ft. (30 – 120 cm) long.

Apart from the striking look of its leaves, the other interesting feature of the palm is its color. The fronds are a silvery-green or silver-blue color and the long tapering leaflets give the palm a spiky appearance.

Like other types of cold-hardy palm trees, the Mazari palm needs hot summers to grow well. However, this species is also cold-hardy down to 10 °F (−12 °C).

Dwarf Majesty Palm (Ravenea hildebrandtii)

Ravenea hildebrandtii

The Dwarf Majesty palm tree is common both indoors and outdoors due to its miniature size

One of the most popular short palm trees for gardens and landscaping is the Dwarf Majesty palm tree (Ravenea hildebrandtii). This is a single-trunk palm with dark green pinnate leaves. The trunk is slender and is only 3” (7 cm) thick and the palm tree doesn’t grow taller than 8 ft. (2.4 m).

The large wide arching leaves look majestic as the focal point of any subtropical ornamental garden. The bright green leaves can grow up to 3 ft. (100 cm) long and have up to 100 leaflets growing along the stem. The contrast of the slim trunk and wide crown of foliage can grace any garden. You can also grow this palm in containers.

Majesty palm is one of the best potted palm trees to grow outdoors.

Christmas Palm Tree (Adonidia merrillii)

Adonidia merrillii

The Christmas palm tree is a popular choice in many gardens

If you are looking for a miniature type of palm tree for your garden, then the Christmas palm (Adonidia merrillii) is an excellent choice. This ornamental palm tree is small when compared to other tall coconut or date palms. Some reports indicate that the Christmas palm tree is one of the most popular ornamental types of palm on the planet.

This small species of palm tree doesn’t grow taller than 25 ft. (7.6 m), however, some smaller varieties only grow to 15 ft. (4.5 m). Large pinnate palm leaves arch up from the top of the stem to form a beautiful crown of green foliage.

Bottle Palm Tree (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis)

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

The small ornamental Bottle palm tree has a thick short trunk

The Bottle Palm tree gets its name from the bottle-like shape of the short fat trunk. The identifying feature of this small palm tree is the enlarged trunk that looks swollen at the base. This helps to differentiate this palm species from the Spindle palm which swells in the middle of the fat trunk.

At the top of the 10 ft. (3 m) high trunk are 3 or 4 huge palm leaves. At maturity, these pinnate leaves can grow to 12 ft. (3.6 m) long and have leaflets that are 2 ft. (0.6 m) long.

These bottle palms grow well in states such as Florida and California. Or, you can grow them in containers and bring them indoors during winter.

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

Cycas revoluta

The Sago palm is not a true type of palm tree

Although the Cycas revoluta is named the Sago palm, it is not a true variety of palm tree. The Sago palm belongs to the family Cycadaceae which may look like a palm but is botanically different. This ‘palm’ is identified by its short trunk and fern-like new leaves.

Related: Amazing Small or Dwarf Palm Trees.

Red Sealing Wax Palm / Lipstick Palm (Cyrtostachys renda)

Red Sealing Wax Palm / Lipstick Palm (Cyrtostachys renda)

Red sealing wax palm is a small tree with distinctive red leaf stems

The red sealing wax palm has a recognizable bright red crown shaft and leaf sheaths. Also called the red palm, this clumping palm variety can grow 10 – 20 ft. (3 – 6 m) tall. It has long pinnate leaves, greenish flowers, and dark bluish-black fruits. Mature red palms have eye-catching green and red stems.

The scarlet-colored crown-shaft and bright red leaf stems make the red sealing wax plant easy to spot in landscapes. The beautiful palm is suitable for growing in USDA zones 10 and 11. However, if you want to enjoy the beauty of this red palm, you can also grow it in pots indoors.

Arikury Palm (Syagrus schizophylla)

Arikury Palm (Syagrus schizophylla)

Arikury palm is a dwarf tree suitable for small gardens

The arikury palm is a small ornamental palm tree with arching, olive to dark-green fronds forming a spreading crown. This popular accent palm is perfect for compact gardens because it doesn’t grow taller than 6 ft. (1.8 m). The evergreen palmate leaves measure 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m).

Suitable for subtropical landscapes in USDA zones 9 to 11, the arikury palm is recognized by its arching, flat leaflets growing on very long jagged petioles. Additionally, the palm blooms with pale yellow flowers on thick arching, pendulous stems measuring up to 3 ft. (1 m) long.

An identifying characteristic of the arikury palm is its toothed leaf stems — a unique feature that palm species of the Syagrus genus rarely have.

Other Types of Palm Tree (With Pictures and Names)

Depending on your climate and the type of garden you have, there are many species of tall palm trees that look majestic in subtropical and tropical gardens.

Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera)

coconut palm

Coconut palm tree grows up to 100 ft. (30 m) tall but there are dwarf varieties to suit smaller spaces

The coconut palm tree is one of the most easily recognizable types of palms. This tall palm tree grows up to 100 ft. (30 m) tall with a grayish-brown, slightly curved smooth trunk and recognizable sprawling, drooping palm fronds that measure 15 – 20 ft. (4.5 – 6 m) long.

Coconut palms are also known for their tropical fruits, described as the “taste of paradise.” The coconut fruit is a large green or yellow when immature. The recognizable mature brown coconut seed is covered in a hairy fiber and is located inside a thick husk. The edible portion of the coconut is the white meat found inside the wood-like shell.

A coconut palm tree can produce up to 75 fruits per year. The large, round fruits grow in bunches, close to the central stem and amongst the leaf stems.

Coconut palm trees typically grow in coastal areas where they thrive in sandy, salty soils. In southern states and tropical countries, you will often see coconut palms growing along beaches, streets, and parks.

There are many dwarf coconut palm tree varieties if you don’t have space for a tall tropical palm in your yard. An example of a dwarf coconut landscaping palms not growing taller than 5 ft. (1.5 m) is the ‘Malayan Dwarf.’

Although you can grow coconut palms indoors, they are challenging to grow successfully. Usually, areca palms are easier to grow indoors if you want an evergreen leafy tropical houseplant plant.

Date Palm Tree (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date Palm Tree (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date palm trees are very tall and produce delicious fruit

The date palm tree is one of the easiest palm trees to identify due to its abundant clusters of delicious dates. In addition, the beautiful palms have an identifiable long rough trunk, a crown of arching feathery fronds up to 20 ft. (6 m) long, and clusters of brown, red, or yellow fruits.

Date palm trees are tall and grow 70 to 75 ft. (21 – 23 m) high. The spiny leaf stems can measure between 13 and 20 ft. (4 – 6 m) long. The vast leaves have up to 150 leaflets that are 12” (30 cm) long. In total, the date palm’s impressive light green crown can be between 20 and 30 ft. (6 – 10 m) wide.

Date palm trees are best known for their delicious sweet sticky fruits, which are a type of drupe. The edible oval fruits are typically dark brown with wrinkled skin. However, other varieties of date palms can produce deep red, black, yellow, or golden yellow bunches of dates.

California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

The ornamental California fan palm is identified by its fan shaped fronds

The California fan palm is a medium-sized ornamental palm tree with long, fan-shaped fronds with fibrous threads and a sturdy columnar trunk. The identifying feature of the California fan palm is its spectacular leaves made up of waxy green blades that spread out in a fan shape.

This palm tree grows between 40 and 60 ft. (12 – 18 m) tall.

Other identifying features of the California fan palm are its grayish and tan trunk that stands erect. In addition, it’s easy to recognize California palms due to the skirt-like shape of dead fronds near the top of the tree. After the gray-green leaves die, they droop down and turn brown.

This easily identifiable palm tree also goes by the name petticoat palm due to the palm’s distinctive crown. The recognizable fan shape of the leaves also gives it the name desert fan palm.

Its botanical name Washingtonia filifera refers to the thread-like strands on the green palmate leaves.

Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis)

Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis)

The slow growing Chilean wine palm has a smooth gray trunk

The Chilean wine palm is a tall palm tree, identified by its thick, columnar, smooth gray trunk, long arching feather-like green fronds, and stunning crown. The identifiable feature of this hardy palm is its broad, straight trunk measuring up to 3 ft. (1 m) in diameter, which is swollen at the base.

Considered one of the most impressive palm trees in the world, the Chilean wine palm grows 60 to 80 ft. (18 – 24 m) tall. The dense, upward growing crown consists of palmate fronds measuring 15 ft. (4.5 m) long. Unlike many palms with fibrous trunks, this palm species has a smooth gray trunk. Additionally, small purple and yellow flowers bloom in summer, adding to the palm’s grace and beauty.

When the palm is relatively immature, it has a stumpy appearance with an explosion of large arching fronds. The palm’s slow growth means that it takes many years to reach its mature height.

Although native to Chile, this single-trunked palm tree is cold hardy, and can thrive in temperate climates. You can find Chilean wine palms growing in Ireland, Northern and Southern California, and South Africa. The palm also goes by the common names honey palm, palm honey tree, and Chilean coquito palm.

Florida Royal Palm (Roystonea regia)

Florida Royal Palm (Roystonea regia)

The Florida royal palm is identified by a smooth erect pale trunk and bushy crown

The Florida royal palm is a majestic palm tree with a tall, smooth, relatively skinny gray-white trunk, a stunning crown of arching dark green fronds, and rounded red or purplish-black palm fruits. Identifying features of this palm tree are its smooth green crownshaft, bulging stem base, and erect trunk growing 65 to 100 ft. (20 – 30 m) tall.

The palm’s distinctive crown comprises 15 arching fronds measuring 13 ft. (4 m) long. Small pinkish-white flowers appear in late spring. After pollination, the palm tree produces fruit—round drupes 0.6” (1.5 cm) long and 0.4” (1 cm) wide. The slender, smooth trunk and bushy crown invoke thought of tropical landscapes

This smooth, tall Florida palm has the unusual growth habit of shedding its old fronds. These dead leaves peel off from the crown, revealing a smooth green trunk. You will find this ornamental street palm growing in Florida, Texas, Southern California, and Hawaii. Roystonea regia is the national tree of Cuba.

Açaí Palm (Euterpe oleracea)

Açaí Palm (Euterpe oleracea)

The açaí palm has multiple skinny tall trunks

The acai palm tree is a skinny palm tree with multiple clustering stems that grow up to 65 ft. (20 m) tall. The acai palm is identified by its bunches of berry fruits 1” (2.5 cm) in diameter and long, pinnate leaves growing up to 10 ft. (3 m) long.

Acai palms are native to South America, where they grow in swamps and floodplains. The most valuable feature of the acai palm is its berries. Acai berries are small black drupes that grow abundantly on drooping stems. There can be between 500 and 900 fruits in a single bunch.

Peach Palm (Bactris gasipaes)

Peach Palm (Bactris gasipaes)

The peach palm has a unique circular spines on its trunk

The peach palm is a fruit-producing palm tree that has clusters of red palm fruits. Peach palms with their red fruits grow around 66 ft. (20 m) tall. The multi-stemmed thorny tree has spiky crowns of pinnate fronds that are 10 ft. (3 m) long.

Peach palms are a type of tall clumping palm tree with edible fruit. The pulpy palm fruits are typically red. However, other varieties of peach palms can have yellow or orange peach-like fruits.

An identifying feature of a peach palm is its spiny trunk. The slender trunk measures (10 – 25 cm) in diameter. However, up close, pictures of the trunk reveal that the palm tree has thorns in circular bands around the brownish-gray trunk.

Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis

Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis) 

Oil palm fruits are commonly used in oil production

The oil palm is famous for the oil that is pressed from its fruit. Oil palm trees grow over 66 ft. (20 m) tall and have massive pinnate fronds measuring 10 to 16 ft. (3 – 5 m) long. The valuable fruit from the tree grows like red palm berries about the size of a plum.

The oil palm is a single-stemmed variety of palm tree. The attractive palm leaves grow in an upward, arching habit, giving the decorative tree a vase-shaped appearance. The palm’s recognizable characteristic is the large bunches of 200 to 300 red palm fruits growing close to the trunk.

Oil palm fruit is an egg-shaped, oblong drupe measuring up to 1.4” (3.5 cm) long and 1” (2 cm) wide. The oily pulp is used to produce palm oil, whereas oil pressed from the seeds is sold as palm kernel oil.

Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcata)

foxtail palm

Foxtail palm is a medium sized decorative tree suitable to grow in Southern Florida

The foxtail palm tree is an impressive medium-sized palm tree due to its massive arching or curled fronds measuring 6.5 – 10 ft. (2 – 3 m) long. The ornamental palm is identified by its plume-like foliage that looks like a bushy fox’s tail—hence the name foxtail palm.

Another identifying feature of the foxtail palm is its large egg-shaped orange palm fruit. The oval fruits emerge olive green, ripen to an orange or deep red color, and measure 2” (5 cm) long.

The foxtail palm is a type of smooth palm tree due to its self-cleaning nature. The palm tree grows 30 ft. (10 m) tall and has a light-gray to white trunk. Like the Florida royal palm, dead fronds drop from the crown, revealing a smooth green trunk. Looking at the palm tree bark close, you’ll notice distinctive rings around the gray trunk.

Guadalupe Palm (Brahea edulis)

Guadalupe Palm (Brahea edulis)

The small and slow growing Guadalupe palm is a popular landscaping tree

The Guadalupe palm tree is a small palm plant with fan-shaped leaves growing on the stems, a rough, brown fibrous solitary trunk, and sweet black palm fruits. Guadalupe palms grow 15 to 40 ft. (4.5 – 12 m) tall and are a slow-growing palm type.

The distinctive feature of the Guadalupe palm is the stiff leaflets growing in the shape of a fan at the end of long smooth stems. In the landscape, these palm trees make a dramatic statement due to the spiky appearance of the dense crown. As a result, the ornamental palm is a popular landscaping palm tree in California.

You can identify Guadalupe palms in the summer due to their fragrant, creamy yellow blooms growing in amongst the foliage. After flowering, the palm produces deliciously sweet palm fruits that you can eat fresh or use in cooking.

Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis)

Bismarckia nobilis

The small Bismarck palm tree has beautiful silvery gray foliage and is cold sensitive

The Bismarck palm is an easily identifiable palm due to its vast fronds of steely-blue or silvery gray spiky leaflets. The fan-shaped palm leaves grow in all directions, creating a spectacular pale green spherical crown that is 20 ft. (6 m) tall and 24 ft. (7.5 m) wide. Its stout, short trunk adds to the palm’s visual appeal.

The eye-catching silvery-blue leaves look like a round spiked fan and can grow over 10 ft. (3 m) wide. This slow-growing palm tree eventually reaches around 40 ft. (12 m) tall in gardens and parks. It is a popular landscaping palm in Florida, Southern California, Texas, and Arizona.

Another feature of the Bismarck palm tree is its small brown egg-shaped fruits. These chocolate-brown rounded drupes grow in bunches like grapes dangling from this stout palm tree. Individual fruits measure 1.5” (3.8 cm) long and grow densely on 4 ft. (1.2 m) long stems.

Proctor’s Silver Palm, Cayman Thatch Palm (Coccothrinax proctorii)

Proctor’s Silver Palm

Proctor’s silver palm has a skinny trunk and fan shaped leaves and is slow growing tree

The Proctor’s silver palm is a medium-sized palm tree with a single skinny trunk and dark green fronds, creating a symmetrical crown. This slow-growing tropical palm tree grows between 10 and 20 ft. (3 – 6 m) high. As the majestic palm tree matures, the trunk gradually becomes smooth and gray.

Cayman thatch palms are native to islands in Central America. The palm tree has characteristic fan-shaped leaves that are typical of palms growing in tropical or subtropical climates. In addition, Cayman thatch palm leaves form an open rounded or triangular crown. Because it’s slow-growing, you can use the palm as an attractive landscaping plant or specimen tree.

MacArthur Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii)

MacArthur Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii)

MacArthur palm is identified by multiple tall skinny trunks

The MacArthur palm tree is a tall skinny palm tree with multiple stems that grow up to 33 ft. (10 m) tall. The MacArthur palm is easy to identify in the landscape due to its clumping habit, slender, smooth trunks, green crownshaft, and rounded spiky crown.

MacArthur palm leaves grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) long and have between 30 and 80 leaflets measuring 22” (56 cm) on each leaf stem. The dense palm crown can have between 3 and 13 fronds, giving the slender palm tree the characteristic look of tropical landscapes.

In the landscape, MacArthur palms grow as multi-stemmed palm trees, making them easily identifiable. Other identifying traits of the palm are a whitish trunk with dark rings, clusters of yellowish-green flowers, and bunches of small bright red fruit.

Canary Palm Tree (Phoenix canariensis)

Picture of Phoenix canariensis (common name: Canary palm tree)

The beautiful Canary palm tree has a tall trunk with large leaves

One of the most elegant palm trees you can grow is the Canary palm tree (Phoenix canariensis). The palm tree is identified by the large pinnate leaves that look like an explosion of foliage at the top of tall palm trunks.

Depending on the climate, Canary palms grow to between 33 and 66 ft. (10 – 20 m) tall. The dark-green leaves are 13 – 20 ft. (4 – 6 m) long and form an elegant crown. Being a species of palm tree from the Phoenix genus, Canary palm trees also produce edible dates.

Sylvester Palm Tree (Phoenix sylvestris)

Phoenix sylvestris

The Sylvester palm has different species which vary in height

Related to the Canary palm tree is the Sylvester palm tree (Phoenix sylvestris). This date-producing palm tree is native to India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Some species of the Sylvester palm can be as short as 13 ft. (4 m) and others can grow up to 50 ft. (15 m). Large arching pinnate leaves grace the top of this single long stem.

Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)

Livistona chinensis

The ornamental Chinese Fan palm looks attractive in any landscape design

Native to Asia and the Far East, the Chinese Fan palm (Livistona chinensis) is a single-stemmed palm with ornate drooping leaves. The palm gets its name from the fan-shaped (palmate) leaves. These arch out from the top of tall thick stems that grow to between 30 and 50 ft. (9 – 15 m) high. The tree has a spread of up to 12 ft. (4 m).

Palmetto Palm Tree (Sabal palmetto)

sabal palmetto

The Palmetto is a type of tall palm tree

Palmetto palms are a species of tall-growing, elegant palm tree in the genus Sabal, and subfamily Coryphoideae. Sabal Palmetto palms are identified by their striking spiky-looking leaves in a fan shape. The straight thick trunks of these tall palm trees stretch up to 65 ft. tall (20 m).

If these trees remind you of beaches in South Carolina and Florida, that is because Palmetto palms are the official tree of these states.

The palmetto palm is native to Florida and it’s one of the common types of palm trees in Florida.

Mexican Palm tree (Washingtonia robusta)

Washingtonia robusta

The Mexican Palm tree has tall and skinny trunk

Also called the ‘Mexican washingtonia’, this species of palm tree has a long narrow trunk and bushy-like leafy foliage at the top. The other name for the species Washingtonia robusta, the Mexican Fan palm, gives an indication of its leaf shape. Palmate fanned leaves measuring up to 3.3 ft. (1 m) long sit gracefully on top of 82-ft. tall (25-m tall) stems.

Clusters of edible fruit grow on this date palm, although the dates aren’t as tasty as dates from other types of palms.

Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei)

Trachycarpus fortunei

The Windmill palm tree is very hardy and has long slim trunk

The Windmill palm tree is native to China and Japan and is one of the hardiest species of palm tree. This evergreen perennial palm tree has long slender trunks that can grow up to 66 ft. (20 m) tall. The fan-shaped leaves, rough trunk, and wispy palm appearance are identifying features of this tall palm tree.

King Palm / Bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana)

King Palm / Bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana)

King palm is a tall tree with a slender trunk

The king palm tree is a beautiful palm identified by its attractive crown of bright green fronds, grayish bark, pink flowers, and clusters of bright red dates. The king palm thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. The palm tree has an attractive crown-shaft consisting of 15 to 20 large arching fronds.

Also called the Bangalow palm or Illawara palm, the tall palm tree can grow over 65 ft. (20 m) tall. Its huge evergreen fronds measure around 15 ft. (4.5 m) long, consisting of up to 150 leaflets that are 6” to 12” (15 – 30 cm) long. Like most palms, rings around the erect, slender trunk reach up to the smooth greenish-brown crown-shaft.

Red Latan Palm Tree (Latania lontaroides)

Red Latan Palm Tree (Latania lontaroides)

Red latan is a medium sized slow growing palm tree

The red latan is a medium-sized palm tree with a distinctive spiky appearance. In addition, this tropical palm tree has characteristic fan-like fronds consisting of stiff, spiky leaflets. The attractive palm tree fronds measure 8 ft. (2.4 m) wide and create a beautiful, rounded crown with a 20 ft. (6 m) spread.

An identifying feature of red latan palm trees is the reddish leaves and stems growing on immature trees. As the slow-growing palm tree matures, it reaches a height of 30 to 40 ft. (9 – 12 m). Mature red latan palms have green foliage with a white, silvery appearance.

Other features that help identify the red latan palm are clusters of yellow spring flowers, brownish-green fleshy drupes measuring 2” to 3” (5 – 7.5 cm) long, and a slender grayish trunk with light rings around it.

Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)

Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)

Fishtail palm is a multi-stemmed tree with distinctive leaves

The fishtail palm is an attractive, multi-stemmed palm tree with light, glossy green leaves resembling a jagged fish’s tail. Masses of small deltoid leaflets grow on long stems, forming thick layers of ruffled fronds. The clumping palm tree grows around 40 ft. (12 m) tall and 10 ft. (3 m) wide.

Apart from its easily identifiable bipinnate fishtail leaves, the fishtail palm blooms with attractive creamy-white flowers, followed by dark red fruits. Unfortunately, the dark drupes on Fishtail palm trees are poisonous and should never be eaten.

The long shiny palm fronds can grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) long. The ruffled fishtail compound leaves grow on long stems that give the palm tree a weeping appearance.

Montgomery Palm (Veitchia arecina)

Montgomery Palm (Veitchia arecina)

Montgomery palm is an attractive tall tree with a slim trunk and beautiful crown

The Montgomery palm is a tall solitary palm tree, identified by arching fronds and drooping leaflets, greenish-white flower clusters, and oval red fruits. Montgomery palms have the characteristic appearance of tropical climates. Straight, slender trunks with a graceful spreading crown at the end of a smooth pale green crown-shaft identify this palm.

Montgomery palms reach heights of 80 ft. (24 m) tall. The stiff, arching fronds grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) long and contain lanceolate drooping leaflets. In spring, Montgomery palms are identified by clusters of greenish-white flowers measuring 3 ft. (1 m) long growing at the base of the crown-shaft. After blooming, bright yellow or red fruits appear on pendulous stems.

Puerto Rican Thatch Palm (Coccothrinax alta)

Puerto Rican Thatch Palm (Coccothrinax alta)

The Puerto Rican thatch palm is easily identified due to its tall trunk and sparse crown

The Puerto Rican thatch palm tree is an exceptionally tall palm with a slender single bare trunk. The identifying feature of the thatch palm is its palmate leaves in a fan shape, creating an open crown. The palm fronds measure 5 ft. (1.5 m) across.

After blooming, the yellow flowers on the Puerto Rican thatch palm give way to purplish-black fruits 0.23” to 0.47” (6 – 12 mm) in diameter. The palm is easy to spot in a tropical landscape due to its erect stem growing around 50 ft. (15 m) tall and sparse crown.

Everglades Palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii)

Everglades Palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii)

The everglades palm is a small to medium sized tree native to Florida

The everglades palm is a native Florida palm tree with substantial palmate, fan-shaped leaves. The palm is identified by its arching stems with large fronds measuring up to 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide and 18” (45 cm) long. The slow-growing everglades palm tree performs well in marshy, salty soils and full sun.

The everglades palm thrives in USDA zones 9 through 11. Growing in a sunny landscape, the palm tree reaches 20 to 30 ft. (6 – 9 m) tall and features a sprawling crown up to 25 ft. (7.5 m) wide at the top of a slender trunk. The attractive fan-shaped leaves have a silvery underside, adding to the tree’s attractiveness.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Saw Palmetto Palm Tree (Serenoa repens) 

The small saw palmetto tree is suitable for limited spaces

Saw palmetto is a multi-trunked, clumping palm tree growing a mass of fan-shaped palmate fronds emerging from spined petioles. The waxy evergreen palm leaves grow 3 ft. (1 m) in diameter. Each bluish-green or emerald-green leaflet has 18 to 30 pointed segments. The palm also blooms with fragrant, creamy white flowers.

Saw palmetto is a native Florida palm tree that thrives in USDA zones 9 to 11. It’s also a species of cold-hardy palm and can survive short spells as low as 20°F (-6 °C). The palm’s spreading habit, dense foliage, white flowers, and yellow berries make it a valuable landscaping palm tree.

Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)

Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)

The queen palm is a popular ornamental tree for residential areas

The queen palm is a stylish evergreen tree, identified by its super-long arching fronds. The feather-like fronds grow between 8 and 15 ft. (2.4 – 4.5 m) long and grow at the top of a slender, smooth, gray trunk. Other features of the queen palm include creamy-white flowers blooming in spring and clusters of yellowish-orange edible dates.

The queen palm is a sun-loving, heat-loving species that grows 50 to 70 ft. (15 – 21 m) tall. Despite thriving in the tropics, this fast-growing palm is also cold-hardy to 25°F (-4°C). The elegant palm tree performs best growing in moist, acidic soil and it has moderate salt tolerance.

Texas Sabal Palm Tree (Sabal mexicana)

Texas Sabal Palm Tree (Sabal mexicana)

The Texas sabal palm is an attractive tree

Also called the Texas palmetto, the Texas sabal palm is a robust native palm tree with a single trunk topped by large fan-shaped evergreen leaves. The attractive green palm fronds measure up to 6.5 ft. (2 m) wide, growing on 15 ft. (4.5 m) long stems, forming a thick, rounded crown. The sabal palm tree is also identified by clusters of creamy white flowers, and showy, black drupes.

The Texas sabal palm grows up to 50 ft. (15 m) tall and 25 ft. (7.6 m) wide. Suitable for growing in zones 8 to 11, the sabal palm thrives in high humidity, loamy, well-drained soils, and full sun. Plant as a specimen tree to give visual appeal to garden landscapes.

Dwarf Palmetto Palm Tree (Sabal minor)

Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)

Dwarf palmetto can be found in many habitats and is a cold hardy small palm

The dwarf palmetto palm is native to central Texas and northeastern Mexico. The flowering evergreen palm tree is identified by its fan-shaped leaves that sometimes grow straight from the ground. Its leaves with large, pointed segments measure 3 ft. (1 m) across and grow on smooth, spineless petioles.

Other identifying features of the dwarf palmetto palm are its fragrant, creamy-white flowers, and clusters of dark brown or black fruits.

Dwarf palmetto palm trees are drought and salt tolerant, suitable for growing in zones 7 – 10. The low-growing, shrub-like tree grows 4 to 5 ft. (1.2 – 1.5 m) tall and wide. Its ornamental value makes it useful for growing in warm climates as a foundation plant or textural accent.

Needle Palm Tree (Rhapidophyllum hystrix)

Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix)

The needle palm is cold hardy and can grow as a miniature patio palm

The needle palm is a cold-hardy, shrub-like palm tree that grows between 3 and 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall. It has large, lustrous green leaves measuring 3 ft. (1 m) in diameter with up to 12 stiff, slender segments creating an open fan shape.

The needle palm is one of the cold-hardiest palms, thriving in USDA zones 6 through 10. The palm’s dense foliage and low growth make it a versatile landscaping plant. Additionally, the shrubby palm grows just as well in full sun as in deep shade.

You can use the ornamental palm as evergreen ground cover in a shade garden, foundation planting, border plant, or container plant.

Indoor Palm Trees (With Pictures and Names)

Many types of ornamental palm trees look beautiful indoors and can provide attractive greenery. Some types of indoor palm plants can be grown in containers in conservatories. Many types of indoor palm tree plants thrive at home, and their ‘mini’ or ‘baby’ size makes them a good addition to your houseplants.

Here are some types of palms that grow well indoors.

Parlor Palm

Chamaedorea elegans

The Parlor Palm is a small low maintenance tropical palm tree. It is also considered to be one of the lucky plants according to the Feng Shui

Chamaedorea elegans is the botanical name of the evergreen perennial that is known as the Parlor Palm. This small-growing tropical palm tree has reed-like slender stems with light-green pinnate leaves growing on them. Each stem has 6 or 7 leaves that give the palm a bushy appearance when a few grow together. Usually, in tropical outdoor areas, these small palm trees grow up to 9 ft. (2.7 m) tall.

However you don’t have to live in tropical countries to enjoy this beautiful elegant palm tree. The Parlor Palm is commonly sold as a houseplant and doesn’t grow taller than 6 ft. (1.8 m). It is also a very low-maintenance indoor evergreen that can even survive in low-light and dark conditions.

Kentia Palm Trees

Howea forsteriana

The Kentia palm is a slow growing tree that can be grown indoors

Although Kentia palm trees (Howea forsteriana) grow up to 40 ft. (12 m) outdoors, indoor varieties of this palm will max out at about 12 ft. (3 m) tall. Because they are a slow-growing species of palm, they are an excellent choice to grow indoors.

The thin green stems have large palm-shaped leaves that can provide a tropical atmosphere to any kind of room. The ability for Kentia palms to withstand low-light, infrequent watering, low humidity, and cool to warm temperatures make them a perfect indoor type of palm.

Lady Palm Trees

Rhapis excelsa

The Lady palm is a multi stem tree that you can grow at home

Rhapis excelsa is the botanical name for broad-leafed Lady palms that also thrive indoors. This palm is a type of multi-stemmed leafy plant that has a gorgeous bushy appearance and can grow up to 13 ft. (4 m) in height. The palmate leaves are dark green and glossy and have unique saw-tooth leaf tips. The multiple stems of this palm look similar to some types of indoor bamboo plants.

Ponytail Palm

Beaucarnea recurvata (commmon names: bottle palm tree or elephant foot tree)

The Ponytail palm tree can grow tall outdoors. But is also suitable to be grown in a container indoors as an indoor palm plant

The Ponytail palm tree (Beaucarnea recurvata) is one of the most ornamental indoor palms you can have in your room. Other common names for this plant include bottle palm tree or elephant foot tree.

The ponytail palm tree is neither a palm nor a tree. It is actually a type of succulent and it’s a member of the Agave family.

The Ponytail Palm plant can be identified by its thick brown swollen base of the stem. This distinctive feature is a reason why it’s also called the Elephant’s foot palm.

The end of the short fat palm stem is a fountain of beautiful thin green arching leaves. This bushy display of green foliage makes for an attractive indoor tropical palm in sunny locations.

Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

areca palm tree

Areca palm is a type of indoor palm plant that will give a tropical look to any space

The areca palm is a multi-stemmed plant with arching fronds 3 ft. (1 m) long, yellow summer flowers, and small yellow-orange palm fruits. This palm has an identifiable butterfly shape due to the multiple stems of palm leaves that curve upward. The areca palm grows 20 – 40 ft. (6 – 12 m) outdoors in tropical climates.

In colder climates, the areca palm plant is an attractive evergreen ornamental houseplant. The long arching stems can grow around 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall. The delightful potted palm leaves have lance-shaped leaflets that grow up to 6” (15 cm) long.

Other common names for Dypsis lutescens refer to the palm’s growth habit and flowers. You may hear this palm called the bamboo palm, golden feather palm, cane palm, or yellow palm.

Further reading: Growing Areca Palm Tree Indoors – Care Guide.

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