Are Palms Native To Arizona?

Are Palms Native To Arizona?

A lot of people visiting or living Arizona wonder if palm trees are native to the state.  While there are so many palm trees in the Phoenix Valley one might easily come to the conclusion that they are native, the contrary is mostly accurate.  So let’s answer the question: Are palm trees native to Arizona?

Where Do Palm Trees Come From?

The majority of palm trees are native to tropical climates common in places like South Carolina, Florida, and Southern California.  Outside of the USA you’ll find palm trees growing naturally in China, India, Mexico, Chile and Peru. This means that with only one exception Arizona isn’t the native home to any palm tree species.

Arizona’s Palm Tree Exception

While most palm trees are native to other parts of the world, Arizona does have one palm that grows naturally.  This is the California Fan Palm.  The California Fan Palm grows native to Arizona in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.  The name of the canyon in which they grow is known as Palm Canyon.  It is thought that the native palms growing in this canyon were brought to the area by animals.

Royal Palms

One of the most popular palms is the Royal Palm and the visual presentation of this palm is what earned the regal name.  These palm trees find their native home in tropical Mexico, parts of southern Florida, and the Caribbean. Famous for their deep green skin, rich appearance and smooth features they are featured in many of Arizona’s landscapes.

Queen Palms

You see Queen Palms all over the Phoenix Valley in Arizona and yet their native home is in Brazil and Argentina.  They grow to a medium height and feature graceful fronds.  These palms survive well in southern Arizona as they prefer to stay away from frost and colder weather.

Mexican Fan Palms

As one of the most common and popular Palms in Arizona you will find the Mexican Fan Palm all over.  As the name suggests the Mexican Fan Palm is native to Mexico and have either been transplanted, grown, or seeds dropped by animals.  These palms grown to towering heights and require brave tree trimmers for their care.

Why So Many Palm Trees?

If they palm isn’t native it’s the next obvious question, why have so many palms in the desert?

A Destination Feel

The palm has long been associated with the idea of an oasis in the desert.  An oasis is a place of respite with water and shade from the heat.  The palm is also associated with island locations, travel, and leisure.  In addition they offer welcomed shade during the long summer days.  The palm tree is also fairly easy to grow, grows quickly, and acts as an effective visual landscaping anchor.

Palms Are Anchors In Landscapes

Just about every residential and commercial landscape is designed to attract attention and display beauty.  The palm tree helps accomplish this by being a tall and strong element in any landscaping design.  Palms are common in both residential and commercial landscaping applications due to their visually stunning nature and height.  The important key in including palms in your landscaping is choosing varieties that will not visually overpower the structure when fully grown.


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