Interesting Facts about palm trees

We've got some of the most curious & interesting facts about palm trees. Since they're definitely interesting plants.

We bring more fascinating facts to you all the time. Plus fun facts about palm trees. We can answer your questions about palm trees. Do you ever get dreamy about palm trees, because of your spirited interest?!

When I first started learning more about palms, I was so surprised about some of the palm facts I learned. Let's look at some of the interesting facts about palm trees:

  • Most palms are only suited for the tropics, or in subtropical climates. Yet some do grow elsewhere, In Surprising Places!
  • Palms have their own Unique Way of Growing. They don't have yearly growth tree rings, like oaks, elms, etc.
  • Almost all palm trees do not grow branches off the main trunk. What looks like branches on the palms you've seen are actually stems of their fronds (leaves).
Top of a Coconut palm with fronds growing out These stems growing off the trunk aren't branches.
They're an Entire Palm leaf, with their rachis & leaflets.

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More Interesting Facts About Palm Trees

Palms are such unique plants. That's why there are many interesting and fascinating facts about them. We have still more for you!

You can also search our site for other facts about all the unique palm trees. Related to what you're thinking about (Up Top!).

Monocot Facts for Palms


  • Think of the term mono, meaning "one" & cot, short for cotyledon.
  • The term monocot is the short, commonly used form for monocotyledon.
  • What makes it a monocot? It's that inside a seed is only one starter (embryonic) seed leaf. Which sprouts up a single leafed stem.
Seed Leaf of a Monocot


  • Their flowers have three parts - or multiples of three. For example, six, nine or twelve.
  • Its first sprouting upward single leaf, after beginning germination, is called a cotyledon.
  • Its Method For Getting Nutrients from the ground is totally different. Not at all like the other plant forms, called Dicots.
Fun facts about palms
Ways that monocots grow and nourish themselves

Plants That Are Mistaken for Palms

Pony Tail Palm

The Pony Tail Palm, no matter its name, is not a palm at all!

This is the common name given to Beaucarnea recurvata. Which is actually a succulentan agave.


Cycads aren't palm trees! How is that?

  • For instance the Sago Palm. You'd think with that name, it would be in the Palm Family.
  • Palms are angiosperms, which means flowering plants.
  • But cycads are gymnosperms. Which don't flower. Instead they directly produce cones that contain seeds.
Sago Palm treeThe Interesting Sago Palm Growing in Japan

What About Aloes or Yuccas?

Aloes & yuccas can also resemble palms. But they aren't.

The Tree Aloe & Giant Palm Lilly are two examples.

Tree aloeNotice the branching on these Tree Aloes. Which is extremely rare for palms.

Palms Have Several Looks


  • People typically think of palm trees as having a straight tall trunk (called a solitary trunk). Which have a mass of palm fronds circling the top. 
  • Even palms that usually look that way will sometimes also grow other ways!
  1. A single species can grow a tall trunk. Or may grow as a clump. 

Palm trees can grow in a shrub-like manner. This means some palm species could be used to form a hedge.

  • Instead of one trunk (stem), they grow many stems - all adjacent to each other. 
  • They're referred to as having a clumping or clustering style of growth. 

To the surprise of many, some palms are vine-like. They've developed methods for climbing upwards in a forest or jungle canopy. They use nearby plants to help them climb!


Some palms appear to not have a trunk at all. Their fronds seem to sprout right up from the ground. 

  • But it's not really from not having a trunk. Thir trunks are subterranean, growing beneath the ground. 
  • Others aren't very obvious because they spread out along top of the soil!

Butea microspadix Has an Underground Trunk

Difference of Palm Trunks From Other Trees


Once a palm has developed its start-up trunk height & width, it won't expand its girth any further.

  • At least by yearly growth ring expansion. Like getting new/thicker wood around the trunk. Palms don't have growth rings.
  • The only way they can get thicker in some areas, is by cellular expansion. For instance retaining more water into cells in rainy times.
  • On the other hand, palms can narrow by their cells becoming smaller. This can be in response, for instance, to drought circumstances.

Odd, Interesting Facts About Palms


  • Modern biology taxonomists have updated the scientific name of many palms. That way there is improved organization. To better represent the various palm tribes, subtribes & subfamilies. Also to include newly discovered Rare Palm Trees.
  • An excellent Palm Landscaping Tip is to plant the same species in groups of three. But when choosing them, be sure they're different heights/ages at planting time. 
  1. Otherwise as they grow, their crown tops will argue for space with each other!

When Pruning Palm Trees


Pruning fronds is often overdone. It's painful to look at when you know why it's not good!

Some think palms need the same treatment as oaks, deciduous bushes or vines. Or when done by garden maintenance contractors. NOT SO.

Overdone Pruning makes palm crowns look like "fountain spouts" or "feather dusters." That type of aggressive pruning half-starves a palm. Robbing it of photosynthesis for proper feeding.

And to note - some palms don't need pruning anyway. They do their own housekeeping, by Dropping off Dead Fronds.

Takeaways for Interesting Facts About Palm Trees

We hope you've enjoyed these interesting facts about palm trees. Here's a bonus Fact! Because some people wonder about a Coconut Tree vs. Palm Tree. Are they different?

  • The simple answer is NO. A Coconut Tree is a species of palm tree.

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There are definitely many, many interesting palm tree facts to mull over! For instance, why & how are there Sideways Palm Trees? Remember to get exclusive premium info on more of these interesting, or strange, or Fun Palm Facts Here>

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