Strange Palm Trees
Those Most Unusual Types of Plants

There are some pretty strange palm trees out there!

Unusual palms from a variety of hardiness zones. These different types of palm trees have unique characteristics and peculiarities. From a rare palm to exotic palms to species of palm trees with offbeat modifications.

We'll introduce you to the Unusual and Exotic Palm Trees from Around the World"

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get the info needed to ease their searching tasks. While enjoying our articles & having fun, without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring research.

Unique Characteristics of Weird, Strange Palm Trees

Some of these tropical palms have unusual, but fascinating traits.

Palms are ornamental trees that are very different from all other trees. The strange palm trees we'll show you have truly different shapes & sizes. Some even seem scary!

Unusual Palm Tree Trunks With Weird Contortions

  • Some palms have twisted trunks. Or may be bent over, leaning or curving sideways.
  • Clustering palms have multiple trunks springing up from the ground.
  • Although many grow as a solitary palm, there's a rare palm that has branches.
Leaning palm tree along a beachfront walkwayLeaning Palm Along a Walkway in Spain

The Canary Island Date Palm is sometimes trimmed to make their trunk appear like a pineapple. Some think they look like that retro bathroom gear: Shaving Brushes.

But in some ways it's a sad case, as we always say: "It's a palm not a sculpture."

One of these strange palm trees is an unusual palm named Hyophorbe verschaffeltii. Known as the Spindle Palm.

Because of one of the unique characteristics it has. Its slender trunk is amazing looking! Resembling a spindle. Or some say a spinning top.

Spindle Palms lined up in front of homesSpindle Palm Line-Up

Among exotic palms the Hyophorbe lagenicaulis is a favorite palm, because of its unique characteristics. Called the Bottle Palm.

These strange palm trees have swollen trunks, resembling a bottle. Very distinctive, with an eye-catching look. We think it looks like it grows its own palm container! Just gorgeous!

Unusual Palm Tree Fronds That "Leave" You Awe-Struck!

One genus of palm tree, Caryota, has fronds that look like fish tails. That's why they're nicknamed for that.

Their frond structure is unique. There's about 12 species of palm trees in the Caryota genus.

Caryota mitis vintage depiction by an artistA Clustering Fishtail Palm: Caryota mitis
AKA Burmese Fishtail Palm

One of the most unusual palms is Dypsis decaryi. Called the Triangle Palm because its triangular-shaped crown of fronds creates a stunning visual.

A favorite palm for many concerned with conservation. Many native seeds were retrieved from southeastern Madagascar, its origin.

Now a more common sight in the United States for instance, when grown by a palm tree company. One grows in an Orlando Florida park. Not suited to a small garden or cold climates.

The Uniquely Shaped Triangle PalmIf You Didn't Know Its Name,
You'd Probably Come Up With the Same: Triangle Palm!

More Types of Unusual & Strange Exotic Palms

The Beccariophoenix alfredii, or the Madagascar Palm, is another among the fascinating species of palm trees. It was a relatively recent discovery, in 2004, of course in Madagascar.


Why the Madagascar Palm is a strange palm tree:

  • Because of it's seed, which can put out two sprouts. Like it's producing paternal twins, coming from the same seed!
  • Although a pinnate, when a young palm, its fronds almost look palmate. It's deceiving us, because immature leaflets adhere to each other. 
  • As a seedling, it has "windows" - no it doesn't have a PC! Those are openings between parts of some leaflets.

Unusual Characteristics of Strange Palm Tree Adaptations

Some Palm Tree Species bring uniqueness to a whole new level. Because of unusual, but in a way practical enhancements.

One example is the Copernicia prunifera, commonly called the Carnauba Wax Palm. This palm exudes a wax covering. It lays on both palmate leaf surfaces, thicker below.

Originating in Brazil, the wax protects this palm plant, conserving water. The palm has been cultivated for the wax. Used in cosmetics & car wax.

Strange Scary Dangers From Some Species of Palm Trees

When you think of palm trees, images of tropical paradise & relaxation usually come to mind. But beneath their serene exterior lies some eerie & unsettling facts!

Will these spine-chilling details make you think twice about lounging under a palm tree?

Scary looking palm treeCan Palms Have You Shivering With Fear?

Can Palm Trees Be That Deadly During Unusual Storms?

Palm trees are typically sturdy & resilient, even during storms. But what can make them dangerous?

Some can topple over during a storm. Not that common, but sometimes can actually be quite dangerous. Those with a long, slender trunk & large fronds can be susceptible to extreme bending with the strongest winds.

If their roots have been undermined, & loosened, they can uproot. And fall over!

Palm fallen over from a typhoonPalm Uprooted in Guam During Typhoon Chataan From 104mph Winds
Lucky There Wasn't Damage to the Home!

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And are seriously risky to anyone in their path.

If a storm comes along to Your Beach Paradise, it's important to be cautious. Shelter under palm trees during stormy weather can potentially be harmful - even dangerous!

Species of Palm Trees That Cause the Most Ecological Damage!

We normally don't think of palms causing havoc for ecosystems. But palm trees can be an invasive palm!

Notorious for this are African Oil Palms. Scientifically: Elaeis guineensisAs a large tree, it blocks out native palms & other tropical plants, disrupting natural habitats.

Weird Commercial Methods For Most African Oil Palm Trees

What doesn't help is methods for cultivation that commercial palm oil industries use. Their slash & burn techniques have led to massive deforestation. Causing habitat loss for native plants & animals. 

Many environmental advocates promote the idea of Not Using Products With Palm Oil. Now we know why!

Tropical Types of Palm Trees That Can Be Fire Hazards

How are palms a fire hazard? Some palms don't do their own housekeeping! The California Fan Palm is found in many places throughout the United States Southwest. Many are landscape palms in Los Angeles, for instance.

They keep their dead fronds around for many years. These dead leaves can catch on fire, especially with dry, windy weather.

During lightning storms, a tall tree palm can ignite. With certain species of palm trees, fire can quickly spread and jump to nearby buildings.

That's why although most palms are low maintenance, it's good to regularly assess the need for Trimming Palm Trees. Reducing the risk of those palms which don't Drop Their Dead Fronds catching on fire.

lightning strikes around palms

We wrote a story about our friend in town, who had a palm set afire. You can read that exclusive story - a free sample for you, About This Fire & Ice Experience Here> We always treat those who receive Our Memo, Life Amid the Palms, to premium content seen nowhere else.

It's good to use Advance Landscape Planning when intending to plant palms. Following local regulations for fire safety. Especially when living in climates experiencing wildfires. 

Strange Palm Trees That Can Injure or Annoy You!

While palm trees add tropical beauty to property, think about these alternate possibilities!

Coconut Palm Tree by the BayCoconut Palms Typically Have a Bend, Too

Coconut Palm Trees Have Their Types of Unusual Dangers

Coconut Palms (Cocos nucifera) have caused serious injuries to people walking under them. That's a main concern! Coconuts are nearly the largest Palm Fruit

If you have a Coconut Palm, there's that Potential For Falling Coconuts. Without warning! For those in the wrong place at the wrong time. This edible fruit is very heavy. So it's good to be aware.

Even when you're on a trip to that Delightful Tropical Paradise Vacation, where they're a common sight. Don't let it be ruined by getting conked on the head!

Palm Trees Can Be a Most Unusual Annoyance!

Other issues are the strange palm trees with fruit that continually drops to the ground. Some can be quite messy. Consider that before Growing a Palm Tree.

I know we Don't Like Palms Needing excessive maintenance, for our own Backyard Landscape. I mean, like cleaning up after them. It's enough to be cleaning up after ourselves & our family!!

So, consider if that circumstance would annoy you. Then evaluate the best palms for your climate and ease of care.

Strange Palm Trees That Might Scare You!

Some different types of Palm Trees are the strangest palms of all! They look odd. People say they're unusual palms that do weird things. But after all they're just palm trees.

So be prepared! You'll discover a whole new side to palms you might never knew existed.

The Most Unusual Walking Palm Tree: Really!?

Socratea exorrhiza is nicknamed the Walking Palm. Can exotic palms like that really walk? It's what everybody asks! Will they stay in good condition if they go walking?

The first time you see it you'll wonder about its unique adaptation. You may think it's a mysterious, weird rare palm.

You'll see the cone-shaped staking around the bottom of all young palm trunks. These are actually a form of roots. Called stilt roots, prop roots or aerial roots.

They mainly help support the trunk. They're also pretty spiny. Many people think these surrounding roots look like rotating legs. About to start walking the palm off to a nicer spot.

We think you're wondering if it really moves!

In a sense, yes! According to Biologists this palm slowly “walks” over time. It grows new stilt roots at one side. Then lets go of the roots on the opposite side. A young palm does this to save being smothered by large forest growth. Trying to reach a bit more sunshine.

Beware of That Weird Phoenix Palm Tree!

The genus Phoenix has species that can attack you!! Stems & leaflets have sharp, ferocious spines. A few Phoenix species are the scariest!

  • Phoenix loureiri is a little less scary. Commonly named Mountain Date Palm. A smaller variety with dark green leaflets with pointy sharp tips.
  • Phoenix paludosa is called the Mangrove Date Palm. As it enjoys swampy climes. Watch out for those spiky needles on the bases of pinnate leaves.
  • Phoenix sylvestris has many common names. Like Toddy Palm, Sugar Date Palm, Wild Date Palm & Silver Date Palm. Petioles on its pinnate leaves are armed with spines.
Spiny petioles of the Wild Date PalmSee That Toddy Palm's Spiny Petiole Army?
  • Phoenix dactylifera is called the Date Palm or Edible Date Palm. Yes, the source of edible fruit dates you can purchase. Be careful of the armed leaflets. 3'-4' long & quite sharp at the tip!
  • Phoenix reclinata common names are Senegal Date Palm & African Wild Date Palm. Caution for the long fronds Armed Along The Petiole with brutal spines.
Edible Date PalmDate Palm leaflet tips are very sharp, so watch out!

That Most Scary Solitary Palm Tree of All!

Phoenix canariensis is named for the Phoenix Palm's Native Land. We've already mentioned this Canary Island Date Palm. Sometimes grown to look like a pineapple!

Very short petioles carry lengthy brutish spines.

Besides its danger, there are other oddities with these unusual palms:

  • Normally massively grows arrow-straight. But if a seedling begins on a hillside, it can curve. With maturity may fall over!
  • In old age, Roots Grow Above Ground at the trunk's bottom.

That Strange Palm Tree That's Called a Zombie

Zombia antillarum grows In Hispaniola. Struggling because of the destruction of its habitat. It's referred to as the Zombie Palm!

And it can attack, with the spiny rings around the trunk. Its name comes from the Haitian Creole language, where it means Ghost Palm - another scary thought! 

Takeaways for strange palm trees

What did you think of this enchanting realm of strange palm trees? You've virtually discovered a weird world. Did you feel captivated by their strange wonders?

These extraordinary palms have unique characteristics. Like spiny, prickly areas, strange names & more! That sets them apart from the ordinary.

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