California fan palm

 
 

California fan palm, desert fan palm, or Washington palm, is native to northern Mexico, Arizona, and California. It reaches a height of 60 feet, with a gray trunk up to 2 feet in diameter partially covered by the copper-colored leaf bases. The leaves are up to 6 feet wide and are divided into many segments, some of which hang toward the end. Inflorescences arise between the leaves and are up to 15 feet long. Ripe fruits are almost black and about three eighths of an inch long. It flowers and produces fruits irregularly during the year. The generic name honors George Washington. The species name means with filaments, in reference to the presence of long filaments on and between the segments of the leaf.


The photographed palms are in front of the De Diego Building. There are two more palms in front of this building and five more in front of its parking lot. All were planted after the building was remodeled in the mid-1980s.


In front of the Monzón Building there are two very tall palms, planted between 1939 and 1942 by Henry Cowles, that have been identified as W. robusta (Mexican fan palm), a species from northern Mexico which is taller and more slender than W. filifera.

Washingtonia filifera, W. robusta (Arecaceae)