The Only 14 States in America Where You’ll Find Palm Trees

Palm trees and desert mountain at sunset in Palm Springs, California
© Delpixel/Shutterstock.com

Written by Telea Dodge

Published: March 9, 2024

Share on:

Advertisement


Palms are a beautiful feature in a handful of states in the United States – along with a hefty worldwide distribution. These plants belong in the family Arecaceae, which is a family of flowering perennial plants. This family of plants is expansive and does not only include palm trees. In fact, there are over 2,500 species of palms growing around the world. Today, we’ll focus specifically on palm trees, which are members of this family that have a tree-like form. Palm trees grow in tropical and subtropical climates and have a number of diverse features. Long-living and evergreen, these trees are a classic image in our mind when we think of states like Florida and California.

These amazing trees don’t only grow in those two states. Let’s look at all of the states where palm trees grow. Two of the states we’ll list are disputed, not because they don’t grow there, but because research suggests the species was introduced to the state instead of native. We’ll note which states these are, but we’re including them in our article because they do grow there. The dispute on nativity is an important one, but not one we’ll be covering as we explore the 14 states where palm trees grow. Let’s get started!

Alabama

Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama Road Sign in Alabama USA

Alabama is home to several species of palm trees.

©Allard1/iStock via Getty Images

We think of Alabama as a very warm state, but most species of palm trees that grow here – including the Mazari palm and the Sago palm – are cold-hardy palm trees.

Arizona

As the California fan palm matures, the leaves that die hang down against the trunk.

The California fan palm (

Washingtonia filifera

) grows natively in Arizona.

©Jack N. Mohr/Shutterstock.com

Arizona has an impressive number of palm trees, including species such as the date palm, the queen palm, and the Mexican fan palm. However, only one species of palm tree is native to this southwestern state – the California fan palm.

Arkansas

Downtown Little Rock Aerial

Palm trees aren’t the first thing we imagine when we think of Arkansas, but they do grow in this southern state.

©Rdlamkin/iStock via Getty Images

Several hardy palm tree species grow in Arkansas, including the Pindo palm tree, the saw palmetto palm tree, and the windmill palm tree.

California

Oak View, California, USA, March 1, 2015, full rainbow over rain storm in Ojai Valley, with Palm Trees

Palm trees are one of the first things many people think of when they imagine California.

©Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Spanish missionaries are responsible for the introduction of many palm tree species in California. Only the California fan palm is native to the Golden State, but over two dozen other species of palm trees grow there.

Florida

Florida empty beach landscape with five palm trees and ocean at sunset

Florida is famous for its palm trees, which grow across most of the state.

©Cavan-Images/Shutterstock.com

This peninsular state is home to 12 native palm species and houses several more other species of palm. It is the number one state for palm trees in the nation, and home to the coconut palm – the famous fruiting palm that produces coconuts.

Georgia

Cumberland Island Georgia straight path

Four species of palm grow natively in Georgia.

©Nichole Casebolt/Shutterstock.com

The one palm tree that grows in Georgia is the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). It grows in the coastal plains of Georgia and reaches heights of 60 feet. Three other species of palm grow natively in the state.

Hawaii

Palm trees at Papohaku beach on Molokai, Hawaii.

Palm trees at Papohaku beach on Molokai, Hawaii.

©Bob Pool/Shutterstock.com

Several species of palm trees grow in Hawaii, but we must highlight the Loulu palms. These amazing palm trees are comprised of 24 separate species, all in the genus Pritchardia.

Louisiana

Bald Cypress trees are the more famous tree here, but palm trees do grow in Louisiana.

©Ben Nissen/ via Getty Images

Louisiana is home to a number of hardy palm species, including the needle palm, the Texas palmetto, the cabbage palm, and the windmill palm.

Mississippi

Mississippi welcome sign with the words "Birthplace of America's Music"

Mississippi has some

native palm species and some exotic palms in cultivation

.

©Ingo70/Shutterstock.com

The cabbage palm is the native palm tree species in Mississippi, but there are a few other palm species growing across the state.

Nevada (Disputed)

desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) and fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) near Rogers Spring (Lake Mead National Recreation area, Nevada, USA)

Palms seen growing in the Mojave Desert in Nevada.

©Sergey Malomuzh/Shutterstock.com

There is some dispute as to whether Nevada has any native palm trees. However, it is certainly true that a number of palm species do grow in Nevada, including the Mexican fan palm and the California fan palm.

North Carolina

North Carolina Map

Do you think of palm trees when you think of North Carolina?

©klenger/iStock via Getty Images

The cabbage palm is native in southeastern North Carolina, but it isn’t the only palm tree that grows in the state. You might spot a Pindo palm, a needle palm, or even a European fan palm.

South Carolina

South Carolina is very proud of its native palms.

©gguy/Shutterstock.com

The cabbage palm is popular on this list, and for a good reason. It has a great growth range. In South Carolina, it is celebrated as the official state tree. Another name for this tree is the Sabal Palmetto.

Texas

Rio Grande palmetto (Sabal mexicana), Mexican palmetto, Texas palmetto, Texas sabal palm, Palmmetto cabbage or Palma de mícharos

Texas boasts an impressive population of palm trees.

©iStock.com/Mario Krpan

The extreme south of Texas is where you’ll see the most palm trees. Two species of palm are native to Texas – the dwarf palmetto and the Mexican palmetto. Northern Texans can also see palm trees – the introduced saw palmetto grows as far north as the Texas Panhandle.

Virginia (Disputed)

Welcome to Virginia border sign

Windmill palms and dwarf palmettos grow in Virginia.

©Tim Pennington/iStock via Getty Images

Fossil evidence suggests that Virginia was once home to a native palm tree species – the dwarf palmetto – but now only hosts introduced and cultivated palm tree species. The state is now disputed, as modern evidence indicates that there are no current native palm tree species in Virginia. You can still see European fan palms, windmill palms, and dwarf palmettos in certain regions of the state.


Share this post on:
About the Author

Telea Dodge is an animal enthusiast and nature fiend with a particular interest in teaching a sense of community and compassion through interactions with the world at large. Carrying a passion for wild foraging, animal behaviorism, traveling, and music, Telea spends their free time practicing their hobbies while exploring with their companion dog, Spectre.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.