Tree of the week: Chamaerops humilis – Mediterranean Dwarf Palm

Chamaerops humilis is the only palm native to Europe. It grows best in Mediterranean climates where winters are cool and summers hot and dry. This palm rarely exceeds a height of 2.5 m and is chacterised with large, fan-shaped fronds which are usually split at the ends. This attractive palm is known by multiple names, including the European Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm and Mediterranean Dwarf Palm. In general, the tree develops multiple stems as it matures and has a tendency to form suckers along the stems which makes it appear very shrubby.

This beautiful palm can either grow as a multi-stemmed suckering shrub or a tall single trunked plant with drooping, large leaves. The colour of the foliage is also varied and can be dark, grey-green to bright green. The tree bears small, brown-yellow, flowers in panicles high up near the leaves, followed by small, date-like fruits. These are produced densely on short spikes amongst the leaf bases.

Chamaerops humilis is a hardy palm that can withstand cold and is tolerant of dry and windy conditions. Although it has a fairly slow growth rate, the tree requires very little maintenance and can be planted successfully in a container. In addition, this rustic palm can act as a barrier since the leaf stalks are spiny. It can also be grown indoors as a houseplant.

Information sourced from Sun Gardens