~ Washingtonia robusta ~
The Mexican Fan Palm, Skyduster Palm


Height: 120'   Growth rate: Fast   Climate zones: 8-17 to 20°   Origin: Mexico


The Mexican Fan Palm, Skyduster Palm

The Mexican Fan Palm is the most well known and common palm in Northern California. It is native to riparien canyons and wet marshes throughout North Western Mexico. It is a very fast growing, palmate, heavily armed tree that retains its dried palm thatch for many years before eventually falling off revealing a smooth trunk 12" - 18" thick. When the palm fronds are manually trimmed off the tree, the remaining leaf boots form an interesting criss cross pattern covering the length of the trunk. For a cleaner look, the boots can be skinned off revealing the smooth trunk beneath. Cold hardy throughout the lower elevations of California and even grown in mild regions of Oregon, the skyduster tops out at about 120' in 80 years and has a relatively small spread of 8'-12'. Because of its unique proportions and economical price for large specimens, the palm is ideally suited for vertical accenting of large buildings either in geometric symmetry or in naturalistic staggered height groves. This palm is not well suited for the small residential garden since it quickly leaves the horizontal field of view and has difficult yearly pruning requirements. Tolerant of heavy winds, salt spray, heat, cold, flood, drought, fire, and probably even nuclear attack- this palm is a serious survivor and definitely is the most adaptable palm to Northern California conditions. HOWEVER, BEWARE! This palm can be very invasive due to it's prolific seed drop and is not recommended to be planted in or near ecologically sensitive natural environments.

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Palm Society