Plant Guide > Trees > Palms and Palmettos

Palms and Palmettos

Palms and PalmettosFAMILY PALMAE

The Palm family is a large group of tropical flowering plants, related to lilies on one side and grasses on the other. Like both of these, palms have but one cotyledon (seed leaf) in the embryo, and the stem is composed of a hardened outer layer within which is a mass of felt-like tissue in which longitudinal bundles of tough wood cells are irregularly distributed. Growth is internal, about these bundles as centres-not external, from a cambium. The parts of the flowers are regularly in threes, as in the lilies. The leaves are parallel veined, and they sheathe the stem, as in the grasses. They are fan shaped or feather shaped.

Palms are allied closely to the Arums, of which our jack-inthe-pulpit is a familiar representative. Both families have monoecious flowers borne separately on different parts of a central spadix, surrounded by a conspicuous spathe, or sheath. Both families have berry-like fruit, sometimes hardened outside.

Of palms there are now recognised over one hundred genera and about one thousand species. Botanically, the family is an old one, and on the decline. Fossils of Tertiary rocks show what it was in its prime. Three hundred and sixty distinct and important uses are credited to palms by Evelyn. No human need but they supply in the primitive life of tropical people. In the commerce of the world they play no mean part. In the tropics, houses are built and furnished throughout from the native palms. Their leaves thatch the walls and roofs. They supply thread for weaving cloth, ropes, fish nets and lines, mats, fans, shields and hats. Spines furnish needles and barbed fishhooks. Sap gives wine, sugar and wax. Stems give fresh salads and sago for food, and wands for basketwork and furniture. Fruits of palms include cocoanuts, dates, and some of these yield chocolate and valuable oils.

Brittle Thatch Tree
Cabbage Palmetto Tree
Desert Palm Tree
Mexican Palmetto Tree
Royal Palm Tree
Sargent Palm Tree
Silver Top Palmetto Tree
Thatch or Silk Top Palmetto Tree