Solving The Historical And Mystical Existence Of California Palm Trees

The California palm trees aren’t just an ornamental beauty for the state but also carry a lot of symbolism that represents this region in various ways. The palm trees are anyway a great jewel for the tropical landscapes and can be found adorning almost any kind of space for the unique dimensional charm they add. Let us tell you more about what is so special about these palm trees in California.


California palm trees

These stand-alone yet beautiful trees share a botanical family with other trees, shrubs, and perennial lianas too. Palm trees also make a sole family called the Arecaceae and the most famous members of this family are the date palm trees and coconut palm trees. The Palm trees usually grow in the hotter climate which means that they are located around the tropical, sub-tropical, and even in some warm temperate portions of the globe.

The palm trees are believed to have more than 2600 species which are spread all over the world. This tree family is one of the most preferred and favorite ones of the households as well as commercial spaces because of the exceptional vertical dimension they add to any space. These trees can be easily spotted as lining up the boundaries of many hotels, beaches, mansions, or even filling up any space like a stand-alone monument.

Not only have the palm trees been providing food and other common products to us but they also have been the holders of a rich significance in various cultures around the world in history, mystery, literature, and even religion.

The uniqueness of the Californian palm trees

This article is concerned with the California palm trees and the logical question that first emerges, thus, is that what is so special about these palm trees growing in California? The answer to this doesn’t lie in the morphology of these trees but in the way they are perceived in this American state.

The palm trees that can be seen growing in almost every area of California have come down to symbolizing this state. You can see them on the beaches, around the city streets, or even lining the boundaries of shopping malls. It is the values of comfort, leisure, and better lifestyle that these trees convey, and the reason behind this can be understood better by understanding the events that led to this.

Sole native palm tree species of California

The only palm tree that has been native to the Californian region is known as the Arizona fan palm, also called the Washingtonia filifera. The nativity of this tree was confirmed by its fossils that dated back to around 70 million years ago. This palm tree species has been seen growing in the Southwest Californian region and spread along the Colorado coast till Wyoming.

The characteristics of the native palm trees California include:

  • A life of around 90 years max
  • Height of about 75 feet
  • Fan-shaped leaves that fold inwards forming the shape of an accordion
  • Leaves wide and long up to 6 feet

Historical arrival of palm trees in California

The first fact that you need to know is that other than one particular species, all the other types of palm trees that grow in California aren’t native to the region. You can imagine palm trees native to as far as the Canary Islands or Mexico that are being grown in California and also know that this didn’t happen overnight or that they weren’t traded at once. There is a great history behind this that started way back in the 18th century.

The first palm tree that arrived in the Californian region was in 1769 with the Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries that were coming from the other parts of the world. They planted these trees here for reasons that included the symbolic rooting of the Christianity religion in this area along with simple decoration purposes. This influx of palm trees intensified with the onset of the 20th century with an immigration wave setting towards California that started from areas like Mexico, Egypt, etc.

Further integration of the palm trees with Californian culture occurred as more people started living here for the luxurious lifestyle and great environment they could enjoy here and this gave way to the increased plantation of palm trees here. These trees even became the source of employment for so many needy Californians when the plantation of these trees was ordered as a part of the state beautification program before the Olympics in 1932.

This was how the palm trees California became an integral part of the history, culture, and society of this beautiful American state.

Major varieties of palm trees in California

California palm trees

We have seen that almost all of the palm trees growing in California are foreign species but this also indicates one important fact that all of them are thriving here because they are getting the right growing conditions. Palm trees need huge amounts of moisture to grow and the river fed land of Los Angeles is, thus, the most palm tree crowded area of California.

What we mean is that palm trees can easily survive in California with the right conditions being provided to them and there are several varieties of these trees that have been majorly doing very well in this region. Here is a list of the well growing California palm trees:

  • King palm- This variety grows very fast up to 40 feet with silver-lined leaves and does well with ample to moderate sunlight.
  • Queen palm- This is another fast-growing variety that can tolerate droughts easily.
  • Mediterranean fan palm- This variety flaunts multiple trunks and very unique blue color.
  • Kentia palm- This variety grows in groups and has a very thin trunk.
  • Pindo palm- The silver leaves of this variety look dainty.

Palm tree culture

If you live in a suitable temperature zone, then growing palm trees is not a difficult deal at all given you take the steps for the same rightly. These trees are usually low maintenance ones unless you choose a particular species. The process of growing a palm tree has fairly simple instructions and following them properly is all that is important.

  • Planting this tree at the right time is a very crucial step that can decide the growth success. Usually, the seasons of fall, spring, and summer are good to choose from according to your location for planting the palm tree.
  • You can choose to start the plant with seeds or a grown plant that you can easily get from any nursery and then go ahead with planting the tree in a suitable method.
  • The right soil is very important for the palm trees and you must amend the soil before using it with any good additive. The key to that is adding a lot of sand to whatever soil you are using as drainage must be good for better palm growth.


The California palm trees clearly mean a lot for the region and the residents as can be seen from the rich history and symbolical importance that they hold. Thus, if you have liked the idea of palm trees decorating different landscapes, you can grow them for your particular space too and all you will need to do for that is keep a few important things in mind.

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