Native Palms of Florida

Native Palms of Florida


  • Native Palms of Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 9]
Royal and Coconut Palms: The royal and coconut palms are the largest
members of the family, confined to South Florida. Both attain a maximum
height of around 100 feet, but the trunk of the coconut is not so large as that of
the royal palm and is usually aslant. The royal palm grows straight. Both have
long, pinnate leaves, or plumes. The coconut thrives best along the seacoast,
whereas the royal palm is frequently found some distance inland. The royal
palm has a bulging trunk in the middle, reaching three feet or more in diameter.
The trunk of the coconut is seldom more than a foot or two in diameter.

The royal palm once grew as far north as the banks of the St. Johns
River in the vicinity of Lake George. Apparently, it is a vanishing type in
Florida. Now it is confined to low hammocks, mostly in the Everglades, Big
Cypress and Cape Sable regions. Unlike most of the other members of the
family, the royal palm is a fast-growing tree. The fruit, hanging in great masses
from the top of the stately trunk, was a popular food of the aborigines.

The coconut palms may have been natives of the Florida keys but they
are believed by botanists to have struck root on the southern end of the
peninsula through seed brought by the sea from the West Indies.