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An Exotic
World of Plants

The Plants
of the Palm House

Washingtonia filifera

English names: Desert fan palm, California fan palm

Latin name: Washingtonia filifera

Family: Palm - Arecaceae

Origin: California, Arizona (USA)

This palm grows up to 15 metres in height. The palm stem below the leaf crown is covered with a mantle of its old, dead fronds. In taller specimens, this mantle cannot reach the ground. In humid conditions, it may rot and fall under its own weight. This leaves a relatively smooth trunk with the scars of the fallen fronds lightly marked. The fronds are fan-shaped, with long petioles; the leaflets extend in all directions, joined together at two-thirds of their length, presenting a “V”-shaped figure. Between and on the leaflets, there are fibres that resemble cotton. The inflorescences are strongly branched and grow among the leaves. The flowers are small and pinkish white. The fruit is somewhat spherical, up to 1 cm. in diameter. The desert fan palm is a decorative plant, cultivated in parks and gardens; still, in central European climactic conditions it may be cultivated only indoors, and possibly may be placed outdoors in the summer months.

Washingtonia filifera