~ Washingtonia filifera ~
The California Fan Palm


Height: 60'   Growth rate: Fast   Climate zones: 8-17 to 15°   Origin: South East California


The California Fan Palm

Continental California's only native palm, Washingtonia filifera can be found growing in isolated desert pocket canyons and natural spring fed areas in California's inland deserts with small natural populations existing in Arizona and Nevada. The California Fan Palm is a remnant plant from an ancient bygone age when California was a warm, humid, tropical paradise. Fossil records indicate that during this time period, the Salton Sea was completely ringed with the forefathers of Washingtonia filifera, and as the climate became more arid and harsh, the palms retreated to the isolated snowmelt and spring fed canyons which they now inhabit. The largest natural population of W. filifera can be seen in the spectacular Palm Canyon in Palm Springs, CA.


W. filifera is a very stately tree because it grows straight up, has a large imposing trunk and a moderately wide frond spread. It is a palmate palm with large, lightly glaucous fronds and heavily armed petioles. The bark is not self cleaning, but if removed reveals a beautiful smooth trunk. The dead palm frond thatch on W. filifera does not appear nearly as unsightly as W. robusta as it is very uniformly draped over the trunk (unlike the somewhat erratic skirt of W. robusta). In fact, many eyes prefer the thatch hanging on the upper part of the tree rather than denuding it completely. The tree grows quickly to an ultimate height of 60', and does better in inland, hot summer climates since it is a desert dweller.

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Palm Society