Trachycarpus fortunei

Common name

windmill palm, Chinese windmill palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect gray to brown stems, to 12 m tall, slender, to 30 cm in diameter, with matted brown fibers and remnant leaf bases. Leaves: Palmate, induplicate, with a nearly circular blade to 1 m across, divided almost to the base by lanceolate segments with sometimes stiff, sometimes drooping tips, bifid to 1 cm; with a petiole longer than the blade and its margin toothed, with obscure bumps or unarmed; the adaxial hastula is raised and triangular to circular. The upper leaf surface is dark green; the undersurface, silvery green. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence to 50 cm, congested and densely branched to four orders. The yellow or whitish male and female flowers grow on separate plants. The fruits are 1-1.5 cm, kidney-shaped and purplish-black covered with a waxy blue bloom when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Palmate leaves, solitary, erect gray to brown stems with matted brown fibers and remnant leaf bases. Petiole longer than the blade and its margin toothed or with obscure bumps; the raised, adaxial hastula is triangular to circular. Ripe fruits are 1-1.5 cm, kidney-shaped, and appear waxy blue.

May be confused with

Very young, short-statured Trachycarpus fortunei palms may be confused with Chamaerops humilis, but that species has prominent, slender spines along the petiole. Serenoa repens is also palmate with a spiny petiole, but the teeth are small and crowded along the margin.

Distribution

Native to China

Additional comments

This species is among the most cold tolerant palms.

Scientific name

Trachycarpus fortunei H.Wendl.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Chamaerops fortunei Hook.

Last Updated May 2014

idtools.org