Chamaerops humilis – The European Fan Palm, as you might suspect, is the only palm tree native to the European latitudes. Often found in clumping form or trimmed to a single specimen. Growing in dry Mediterranean climates. It flourishes as a landscape ornamental in coastal regions throughout the world.
Size/Habit/Lifetime: Very slow growing in nature. Most often seen at 4 to 6′ tall with equal or less width. Can grow to 15-20′ tall. In full sun, Chamaerops will be tight and compact with vertical trunks. In partial shade, the habit thins out as trunks stretch toward the light in all directions, pictured above.
Culture: Zones 8-10b. Prefers full sun, partial shade can be acceptable. Adaptable to all well drained soils and relatively drought tolerant due to its hot, dry Mediterranean climate. Beware of soggy, water logged soils. Like other palm species, transplants well from containers small and large. Propagated by seed and clump division. The slow growth rate is reflected by expensive price for mature specimens.
Leaf/Stem: Each crown has 12-30 palmate fan-like leaves, 2-3′ long and across on 12″ stems. Leaf color ranges from dark green to light gray-green. Leaf-stems are 0.5 to 1″ wide with sharp spines along entire petiole. Leaves are broad and flat, very stiff and never drooping. Leaf bases remain on trunk with burlap fiber beneath. Trunk to 10″ in diameter.
Flower/Fruit: Flower is inconspicuous, small and yellow, hidden on a short stalk. Fruit is a drupe, brown or yellow to 1 inch in diameter.
Use: Like its culture, the European Fan Palm is adaptable to many applications in the small-private or large scale landscapes. Used to frame residential houses and entry ways or grouped in bedded groves with very little maintenance. Very suitable for patio or planter installation.
Notable Facts: Name translates to [low growing] [dwarf]. Is often confused with Windmill Palm, Trachycarpus fortuneii, the later DOES NOT have spines on petiole stems, is commonly taller and possesses much more burlap fiber on trunk and leaf bases.