QUESTION: What are the twelve palm trees native to Florida? I want to put in some palms in our back yard by our pool, but I only want natives. – Fredrick M
ANSWER: There are twelve palm trees native to Florida. However, you must understand that because a tree is native to one location, doesn’t mean it can’t also be native to another area.
For instance, some palms native to Florida are also native to Texas, South Carolina, Central America, and South America.
Yet there are a couple of trees which are endemic to Florida. This means they can only be found in this region. Here is the list of palms which are native (and a couple which are endemic) to Florida, and we’ll tell you about what kind of palms they are so you can pick on that works best for your yard.
· Everglades Palm
· Needle Palm
· Cabbage Palm
· Thatch Palm
· Silver Palm
· Royal Palm
· Saw Palmetto
· Buccaneer Palm
· Dwarf Palmetto
· Miami Palm
· Scrub Palmetto
· Key Thatch
The Everglades Palm is also known as Paurotis Palm and the Silver Saw Palmetto. They live in marshy wetlands and are native to South Florida. The Needle Palm is more of a shrub and only grows to be approximately five feet tall.
Cabbage Palms are also known as a Sabal Palm. This is Florida’s official state tree and also produces the heart of palm. This is similar to an artichoke, but you must be careful in harvesting it because for every heart of palm harvested, it kills a tree.
The Florida Thatch Palm is used to build tiki huts. Its official scientific name is thrinax radiata. This will come in handy when ensuring you understand the differences between the two thatch palm varieties in Florida.
Another thatch palm in Florida is the Key Thatch. It’s native to the Florida Keys and is an endangered plant species. The scientific name for this variety of thatch palm is thrinax morrisii.
The Silver Palm grows in forests while the Saw Palmetto is another shorter, bush variety of palm tree. However, the Royal Palm is the opposite. It’s native to both Florida and Cuba but grows to towering heights which reach up to seventy feet tall.
A Buccaneer Palm is also native to South Florida and is another endangered variety of palm tree. The two palm trees endemic to Florida are the Miami Palm and the Scrub Palmetto. The Miami Palm is also known as sabal miamiensis.
It’s believed to already be extinct in nature. The Scrub Palmetto is known as sabal etonia. The final native palm tree is the Dwarf Palmetto tree which is also known as sabal minor.
You may have noticed within this list, and the trees’ descriptions, that some palm trees were listed as endangered. This occurs due to construction and natural disasters in the area.
However, Florida and the federal government recognize this as an issue. Therefore, these plants are protected by both state and federal laws.
Hopefully, you’ve gained valuable information through this crash course of native palm trees in Florida. You’re now equipped to learn more about each type and maybe be able to incorporate these unique plants into your landscape in the near future.