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Washingtonia robusta

Family Name: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Synonyms: Washingtonia robusta var. gracilis, Neowashingtonia sonorae, Washingtonia sonorae, Washingtonia gracilis, Washingtonia filifera var. sonorae, Washingtonia filifera var. robusta, Neowashingtonia robusta
Common Name: Southern Washingtonia, Mexican Washingtonia, Mexican Fan Palm, Skyduster Palm, Washington Palm, 华盛顿棕
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Roadside Tree / Palm Fan / Costapalmate Single Obvious Trunk Palm


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Palm (Solitary Palm)
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 30 m


Native Distribution Mexico

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A very tall, slender, solitary palm that attains dominant heights of over 30 m tall with thin, brownish-grey trunk to which many old fronds remain attached, and bright green, palmate fronds with reddish-brown sheaths armed with thorns.
Trunk Trunk solitary, long, slender, up to 30 cm in diameter, brownish-grey, ringed with closely set leaf scars (although usually at least part of the trunk remains covered with dead leaves that hang in a thatch).
Foliage Fronds palmate , bright green above and dull green beneath, with gracefully drooping tips; sheathes reddish-brown, about 1 m long, armed with thorns (As the fronds die, they fall against the trunk to create a "hula skirt" or "petticoat" effect for which this palm is famous for).
Others - Plant Morphology Flower: Inflorescences 2 to 3 m long, cream, originating from among the leaf bases; flowers about 0.5cm. Fruit: Fruits globular, aout 10 mm in diamater, ripening from white to brownish-black.
Cultivation Prefers moderately rich, well-drained soils but can survive on poor soils and even sand. It thrives in bright sunny conditions but able to tolerate some shade. Drought resistant when established, but looks better and grows faster when given adequate amount of water. Caution: Shaggy skirts of dead, dry fronds are a fire hazard. Remove dry fronds if need be. Propagate by seeds. Sow seeds in light soil and keep at a room temperature of 25-30°C. Seeds germinate easily in 1 to 2 months.
Etymology The genus epithet 'Washingtonia' is named after George Washington (1732-1799), the first president of the United States. Its species epithet 'robusta' means robust or vigorous in Latin, in reference to the palm's hardy and adaptable characteristics.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Shape(s) Palm Fronds (Fan / Costapalmate)
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 2.5 (Palm - Solitary)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Palm) Single Obvious Trunk, Aboveground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black

Image Repository



Master ID 1397
Species ID 2690
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.