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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 53

Domesticating the Wild Palm: A Survey of Palms and Their Culture Suitable for California and the Pacific Coast

David Lannom

pp: 393-399

I intend to give a general overview of the care, selection, and cultural requirements of some of the palms used in Southern California.


  • The palm family has 2800 different species, with over 200 genera, 20 to 30 of which are found in Southern California.
  • Palms are monocots so they have some very unique characteristics.
  • Stems are comprised of vascular bundles rather than a continuous vascular system.
  • It is nearly impossible to girdle a palm and they can also be planted deeper than the original crown.
  • A majority of our palms are solitary or single trunk and have one apical bud. You cannot cut the top out of the tree to produce secondary growth.
  • Palms have a temporary root system that is in continual process of losing old and initiating new roots. This occurs at a higher rate when soil and air temperatures are warm.
  • The bulk of root systems are usually in the top surface of the soil mass (4 to 6 ft).
  • An ideal time to transplant palms is during the warmer months,

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