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Palm Trees 101 - Know Your Tropical Giants

Palm Trees 101 - Know Your Tropical Giants

Palm trees are tall perennial trees with leaves that drop over their long trunks. Palms are ornamental and thrive well in a variety of sun and shade conditions. A thousand varieties of palms grow in the United States, with some of the most common species found in Florida. Continue reading to learn more about palm trees and their terminology, as well as the types of palms that are native to Florida.


General Terms of Palm Trees

  • Frond - A frond is the leaf of the palm tree that grows from the crown of the plant. You can identify a palm tree by looking at the fronds alone. Fronds come in different leaf styles such as pinnate, palmate, and bipinnate. They have green to brownish-green colors and can be thick or thin, depending on the palm tree type.
  • Leaflet - The fronds are separated into leaflets, which are attached to a single stem. The leaflets are often V-shaped, either upright or inverted.
  • Sheath - A sheath is the leaf structure closest to the palm tree’s trunk. The sheath holds the leaf to the trunk.
  • Fruit bunch - A fruit bunch grows on an oil palm tree and is harvested to process palm oil. Oil palm trees bear fresh fruit bunches every three years.
  • Spathe - A spathe is a large, woody bract covering the flowering portion of the palm.
  • Petiole - This is the leaf stem of the palm frond. It is found between the leaf sheath and the leaflets.
  • Bulb - Palm plants have bulbs, also called pups, that look...
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