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Photo Credit: Kim and Forest Starr



  • FAMILY Arecaceae
  • CATEGORY Trees

Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta)

Native to Mexico, this fan palm can reach heights up to 100 feet. The fronds are fan-shaped as the common name suggests. The frond stems or petioles are sharply toothed, this is one way to tell this palm from the native loulu palms. The fronds persist for years, hanging on to the crown long after their color turns from green to brown. The 'frond skirt' or 'petticoat' is a tell-tale way to identify this tree. There are often 30 fronds in a healthy canopy. The inflorescence (flower clusters) are up to 9 feet long containing small orange-pink flowers.   The fruit is a small black drupe that has a thin coat. They are often found invading glutches on Hawaii island.

  • Fan-shaped fronds
  • Sharp-toothed petioles
  • 9-foot long inflorescence containing small orange-pink flowers
  • Drupe like fruit with a dark fleshy coat.
  • Dead fronds persist on the tree for many years creating a frond 'skirt'.


  • Fire and fall hazard
  • Frond skirt is often a rats nest
  • Self-compatible
  • Produces prolific seeds that are viable
  • shade tolerant forms dense thickets