14 Amazing Types of Palm Trees You’ll Find in Arizona

Two Sabal Palmetto or sabal palm trees against a blue sky.
© Jillian Cain Photography/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Updated: November 1, 2023

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Arizona, the sunniest state in the United States, typically enjoys over 300 days of sunshine per year. This intensely sunny environment is the ideal haven for many plants and animals, including large palm trees. In fact, palm trees are very common along the streets of Arizona. Surprisingly, however, there is actually only one palm tree species that is native to Arizona! The rest have been introduced by humans over time, and now thrive and continue to multiply in the state’s arid heat. So, what types of palm trees can you find in Arizona today? Let’s take a look!

1. Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

Orchard of date palms (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date palms are an important crop in the United States today.

©iStock.com/Woodkern

The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) stands tall and iconic in the warm landscapes of Arizona. With its graceful fronds and immense cultural significance, this tree has become a cherished part of Arizona’s flora. Originally from the Middle East, the date palm has been cultivated for thousands of years. It was introduced to Arizona in the early 1900s and has since thrived in the state’s arid climate. In fact, the date palm is now a leading commercial crop of dates in the United States!

Beyond its economic value, the date palm also holds great cultural importance in Arizona, symbolizing the unique beauty of the Southwest. Whether seen in urban or rural areas, these palms infuse any landscape with the unique spirit of Arizona’s desert scenery.

2. Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)

Queen palm

The queen palm originated in tropical rainforests.

©alybaba/Shutterstock.com

The queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) is another palm tree that reigns supreme in Arizona. With its graceful fronds and slender trunk, it is a popular choice for both outdoor and indoor decoration throughout the state. Originally native to the rainforests of South America, queen palms have adapted remarkably well to Arizona’s arid climate. They are incredibly low-maintenance and have a high tolerance for heat, drought, and salt spray, which makes them perfect for both urban and rural settings.

3. Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)

Mexican Fan Palm Tree

Mexican fan palm trees are very resilient and can withstand colder temperatures.

©Papuchalka – kaelaimages/Shutterstock.com

Native to the Baja California Peninsula and northwestern Mexico, the Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta) has found a welcoming home in Arizona’s arid climate. Its towering presence, graceful fronds, and remarkable adaptability have made it a popular choice for landscaping and urban beautification. In addition, the Mexican fan palm can withstand temperature fluctuations, making it a resilient addition to the Arizona landscape.

However, the presence of Mexican fan palms in Arizona is not merely aesthetic. These trees also provide valuable shade, reducing heat exposure and creating cooler microclimates. In addition, they contribute to air purification, filtering out pollutants, and improving air quality.

4. Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)

A Freshly pruned palm tree, Phoenix canariensis

It can take 10 years or more for a Canary Island date palm tree to reach its mature height.

©iStock.com/MANUEL FIL ORDIERES GARCIA

The Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) is a slow-growing palm tree that can reach impressive heights of up to 65 feet tall. It is a low-maintenance beauty that can thrive in drought, different soil conditions, and even salty sprays. The tree has a stout and sturdy trunk, and its fallen leaves form a unique diamond-shaped pattern along it. The long and graceful leaves have many leaflets on each side of the central rachis. In the spring, the tree produces clusters of cheerful yellow flowers, which are later followed by small dates.

5. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

Group of Sago Palm Trees

Sago palm trees can grow over 20 feet tall, but it takes 50 to 100 years to get there.

©pinholeimaging/Shutterstock.com

Native to southern Japan and the Ryukyu Islands, the Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular ornamental plant in Arizona. This lovely palm has a slow-growing nature with a thick trunk and beautiful dark green, feathery leaves. It is also incredibly low-maintenance and adapts well to different climates and soil conditions. In addition, it is incredibly resilient against pests and diseases, and thrives in both landscapes and pots. However, it is important to note that certain parts of the plant are toxic and shouldn’t be consumed by humans or animals.

6. Pindo Palm (Butia capitata)

Butia capitata in the Royal Botanic Garden

Native to Brazil, the pindo palm is sometimes also called the yatay palm or the jelly palm.

©William Avery / CC BY-SA 2.5 – Original / License

The pindo palm (Butia capitata) is a versatile and low-maintenance palm tree in Arizona that can tolerate various climates and soil conditions. It’s even tough enough to handle salt spray, which makes it a great fit for coastal areas. In addition, it is also resistant to pests and diseases, and can handle air pollution and heat stress well, making it the perfect addition to urban landscapes. The pindo palm has a dense crown of feathery, blue-green leaves that arch over its stout trunk. It can potentially grow over 20 feet tall, but it takes a relatively long time to do so.

7. Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis)

Scientific name bismarckia nobilis and common names Medemia nobilis 'Silver' or Silver Bismarck Palm tree in the park

The Bismarck palm is native to

Madagascar

.

©Vipul1989/Shutterstock.com

With its robust trunk and fabulous silver-blue fan-shaped leaves, the Bismarck palm (Bismarckia nobilis) is a unique and beautiful palm tree that thrives in Arizona’s climate. Renowned for its minimal upkeep, this palm tree effortlessly withstands pests, diseases, drought, and heat. The Bismark palm also offers many versatile applications in crafting, as many people use its leaves for thatch roofs and baskets.

8. Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcata)

The handing tail-like fronds of Wodyetia bifurcata or the foxtail palm tree.

The foxtail palm is native to Queensland, Australia.

©iStock.com/Jobrestful

Introduced in Arizona in the early 1980s, the foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) has become quite the hit as a popular landscaping choice throughout the state. These palms can reach heights of up to 50 feet and have a lifespan exceeding 100 years. They also thrive in Arizona’s hot, arid climate and have low maintenance requirements. The Arizona Palm Society showcased the foxtail palm’s significance by establishing the first grove of its kind in the United States at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix in 1992. As a result, these elegant palms have become a common feature in Arizona’s residential gardens and public spaces.

9. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

Pygmy date palm trees (Phoenix roebelenii) in city park in Kemer, Turkey

With its drought and heat tolerance, the dwarf date palm excels in Arizona’s climate.

©Olha Solodenko/Shutterstock.com

Introduced to Arizona in the early 1900s, the dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) quickly captured the attention of landscapers and homeowners throughout the state. Thriving effortlessly in the scorching aridity of Arizona’s climate, this palm tree is quite popular due its low-maintenance requirements. It is also adaptable to various soil conditions and remarkably resistant to pests and diseases. With its drought and heat tolerance, along with the ability to withstand salt spray, the dwarf date palm excels in Arizona’s hot and dry climate.

10. California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

Fan Palm Trees (Washingtonia filifera) in the Lost Palms Oasis, a popular hiking spot, Joshua Tree National Park, California

In ideal conditions, a California fan palm tree can grow up to 82 feet tall!

©iStock.com/Sundry Photography

The California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) is an iconic species of palm tree in many warm regions, including Arizona’s vast landscapes. With its majestic stature, elegant fronds, and remarkable resilience in different environments, it has become a favored option for both natural landscapes and urban spaces. This palm tree grows rapidly, reaching heights of up to 80 feet, and its elegant trunk sports a unique “cigar cut” effect. In addition, California fan palms are drought-tolerant and can handle various soil conditions. They can also withstand temperature fluctuations, making them a resilient addition to Arizona’s landscape.

11. Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis)

The Mediterranean fan palm is a cold-hardy plant native to Europe.

©tato grasso / CC BY-SA 2.5 – Original / License

The Arizona climate is a perfect home for the majestic Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), which thrives in drought and heat. It grows steadily and close to the ground, with a sturdy trunk and lush crown of green, fan-shaped leaves. This palm tree is easy to care for, and its slow growth rate ensures that it won’t spread out of control quickly.

12. Sylvester Palm (Phoenix sylvestris)

sylvester date or silver date palm

Sylvester palm trees are both elegant and easy to care for.

©PHOTOZON/Shutterstock.com

The Sylvester palm (Phoenix sylvestris) originates from India and Sri Lanka but has spread across the globe and found a home in Arizona. Recognized for its striking appearance and resilience, this elegant and adaptable palm tree flourishes in the state’s unique climate. With a rapid growth rate, the Sylvester palm can grow up to 40 feet tall and features a slender trunk and dense crown of feathery, blue-green leaves. It also has an exceptional tolerance for drought, heat, and salt spray.

13. Blue Hesper Palm (Brahea armata)

Blue Hesper

Endemic to Baja California, Mexico, blue hesper palm trees are often planted as ornamentals in Arizona.

©Vipul1989/Shutterstock.com

The blue hesper palm (Brahea armata), commonly referred to as the Arizona Palm, is highly sought after as an ornamental tree in warm climates worldwide. This beautiful palm has mesmerizing silvery-blue fan-shaped fronds that can span an impressive width of up to 6 feet. The tree’s robust gray trunk adds to its aesthetic appeal and is capable of reaching heights of up to 50 feet. It has a slow growth rate but can live for over 100 years. The blue hesper palm thrives in dry conditions but can also endure temperatures as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit!

14. Jelly Palm (Butia yatay)

jelly palm grove

In Brazil, the jelly palm is often called butiá-jataí.

©Natalya Chernyavskaya/Shutterstock.com

The jelly palm (Butia yatay) is a slow-growing palm tree found in Uruguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina. It typically grows 60 feet tall, but when cultivated, it tends to be shorter. The jelly palm has a stout trunk with feather-shaped leaves that range from blue green to gray green. Its delicious fruit has an enticing orange-yellow hue and grows to about the size of a date. Their sweet flavor is reminiscent of pineapple and makes a delightful treat that can be savored fresh, dried, or transformed into jelly or jam.

Summary of 14 Amazing Types of Palm Trees You’ll Find in Arizona

Common NameScientific Name
1. Date palmPhoenix dactylifera
2. Queen palmSyagrus romanzoffiana
3. Mexican fan palmWashingtonia robusta
4. Canary Island date palmPhoenix canariensis
5. Sago palmCycas revoluta
6. Pindo palmButia capitata
7. Bismarck palmBismarckia nobilis
8. Foxtail palmWodyetia bifurcata
9. Dwarf Date PalmPhoenix roebelenii
10. California Fan PalmWashingtonia filifera
11. Mediterranean Fan PalmChamaerops humilis
12. Sylvester PalmPhoenix sylvestris
13. Blue Hesper PalmBrahea armata
14. Jelly PalmButia yatay


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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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