We saw one washingtonia palm (Washingtonia robusta) at the Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail when Terry Greene (Class of 2019) led a special walk there for us on behalf of the Indian River Land Trust. Also known as the Mexican fan palm, this palm is native to northern Mexico and can grow to be100′ tall. It grows swiftly and quickly exceeds the scale of Florida’s native plant communities.
This palm may have been planted by the prior owners of the property as an ornamental plant or it could be an “invader”. Washingtonia palms are listed as category #2 invasive pest plants by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC). Palms are easy, relatively speaking, to remove from natural areas, so their inclusion on the FLEPPC list is somewhat controversial.
Want a palm with fan-shaped leaves for your landscape? Consider the Florida state tree, the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto).