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Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)
©Craig Nazor

Washingtonia filifera, the Desert Fan Palm, is the palm from which Palm Springs, California, gets its name. It is found around springs and arroyos in the desert southwest, and in neighboring northwestern Mexico. It needs full sun, good drainage, and does best with regular waterings. It does not mind limestone soils, and is one of the most cold hardy of the large palms.

The twin palms in the Hartman Prehistoric Garden were a donation, and were dug up and moved by hand on a hot August day in 2003 by three volunteers (I would stongly recommend four!). Our plants are probably hybrids between W. filifera and W. robusta, as these species hybridize freely in south Texas where most Austin specimens of this palm are produced. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the hybrids that survive usually combine the cold hardiness of W. filifera with the faster growth of W. robusta. Check this palm out in ten years - it will be even more spectacular!

class: Liliopsida / order: Arecales / family: Arecaceae / genus: Washingtonia / species: filifera

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