Weeds of Wednesday: Mexican Fan Palm

Pictured above is Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta) at the Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail (TRWT).  This landscape palm is regarded as a Category #2 invasive pest plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC).

At TRWT, this palm may have been planted by the prior landowners but not at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (PINWR) where I photographed this young palm from the boardwalk that leads up to the Pelican Island Overlook.

Invasive palms are far less difficult to control than spore-bearing ferns or much-beeried plants like Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia) or shoebutton ardisia (Ardisia elliptica).

Also known as Washingtonian palm, the fast-growing palm can reach heights of 70 – 100′, thereby dwarfing Florida’s native plants.  Native palms like our Florida state tree, the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), are a far better choice.

Many  super-tall and lanky  Mexican fan palms perished in the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. This palm is not well-adapted to Florida.

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