Strange Palm Trees

Did you know there are some pretty strange palm trees out there?! With unusual and unique peculiarities. From rare & odd species to palms with offbeat modifications. These palm trees can be an eye-opener, with a jaw-dropping response to think of palms this way.

We love walking around beaches swirling with palms. Or traveling to parks or gardens with palms, or going to gorgeous Palm Tree Groves. Strolling though, we sometimes see a strange looking palm. That different look for one reason or another.

See all of those possible reasons for these types of strange palm trees.

Unique Characteristics of Strange Palm Trees

Some of these stranger palms have quite different, but captivating characteristics. That are intriguing. Palms are definitely, first of all, set apart from other trees anyway. But these strange palms we're talking about can have truly different shapes & sizes.


Some palms have twisted trunks. Palm Trees May Be Bent Over, approximately in the middle. Or leaning or curving sideways.

Others have multiple trunks which spring up in an appealing gathering. Where they're in this intertwining pattern with one another. To view them can be quite mesmerizing! They're called Clumping Palms.

Unlock Premium Palm Tips, Exclusives, (+ Freebies!) Fun & More at: LIFE AMID THE PALMS

Leaning palm tree along a beachfront walkwayLeaning Palm Along a Walkway in Spain


One genus of palm tree, Caryota, has fronds that appear like fish tails. In fact they're often nicknamed for that.

A strange difference is they're the only genus that produces bipinnate leaves. Some species are arranged on the stem, looking like pinwheels. Checking out some of these, we think may leave you amazed, but inspired.

Caryota mitis vintage depiction by an artistThis Clustering Fishtail Palm is Caryota mitis.
AKA Burmese Fishtail Palm.

Other odd shapes for some palms are those with a triangular look. It isn't very common. Called Dypsis decaryi, actually known as the Triangle Palm. Like the name says, this palm tree has a triangular-shaped crown of fronds. That creates a stunning visual effect.

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

And then there are ones that appear similar to pineapples. Some think they look like that retro bathroom gear: Shaving Brushes.

Exotic Palm Tree Species

Strange palm trees of a different sort are those with an exotic look to them. And they're clearly a sight to behold, we think! How about you - once you see them?


One of these species is scientifically named Hyophorbe verschaffeltii. Known as the Spindle Palm. That's because of the unique shape of this palm tree. It has a slender trunk that then widens out. So it resembles a spindle or spinning top.

Spindle Palms lined up in front of homesLine-up of Spindle Palms

Another diverse, exotic palm is the Hyophorbe lagenicaulis. Called the Bottle Palm. This palm tree has a swollen trunk that resembles a bottle. You'll see it's distinctive, with quite an eye-catching look. We think it looks as if it has its own self-contained Container Plant Palm. Just gorgeous!


The Beccariophoenix alfredii, or the Madagascar Palm, is another fascinating species. It was a relatively recent discovery, in 2004, of course in Madagascar. It grows along sandy riverbeds in high grasslands, around 3500' up.

Why it's a strange palm tree:

  • Because of it's seed, which can put out two sprouts. Like twins from the same seed!
  • Although a pinnate, as a juvenile its fronds almost look palmate. It's deceiving us, because the leaflets at first are monofid, adhering to each other. 
  • As a seedling, it has "windows" - no it doesn't have a computer! Those are openings between parts of some leaflets.

 Strange Palm Trees' Unusual 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 is protective, conserving water. The palm has been cultivated for the wax. It's harvested & used in various industries. That includes cosmetics & car wax.

The Dark Side of Palm Trees:
5 Scary Facts You Didn't Know

When you think of palm trees, images of tropical paradise & relaxation usually comes to mind. But beneath their serene exterior lies a darker side. See some eerie & unsettling facts about palm trees. It may have you viewing them in a whole new light!

Knowing their potential dangers, will these spine-chilling facts make you think twice about lounging under a palm tree?

Scary looking palm treeCan Palms Have You Shivering With Fear?

We hope not! It's just for knowing some strange palm tree facts for your interest & awareness.

Can Palm Trees Be Deadly During 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. Many have long, slender trunks & large fronds. Making them susceptible to bending with strong winds. To a point where 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
A Taller Palm Could Have Caused Damage to the Home!

That would pose a serious risk to anyone in their path. Just remember when a storm comes along to Your Beach Paradise, it's important to be cautious. Avoid seeking shelter under palm trees during stormy weather to prevent any potential harm.

FTC Disclosure: If you purchase via a link/ ad on this site, we may earn a small royalty. There's no added cost to you. Thanks much for any looks/ orders! Details>

Dangerous Palm Pests & Diseases


Look closely! You might find danger in the palms. Some can be a source of infestation & disease spread. To other palms, that is!

To most of us, palms are a beautiful, picturesque calming place to be. To these pests, they're a major food source. When they find a suitable palm, they'll latch on. Causing lots of damage. Possibly leading to their decline, then eventual death.


Insects & mites are the problem "bugs."

  • Some drill holes into various Palm Tree Parts. Sucking out palmy juice vitality.
  1. The red palm weevil is an example. It can spread around, damaging a whole palm grove. Yikes! We wouldn't want that.
Red Palm Weevil & CocoonDrawing Showing Top & Bottom of Red Palm Weevil & the Larvae.
  • Others carry diseases that they can transmit to palms. 
  • There are those that love eating fronds. Yum!


Do you think it's strange that palm trees can catch diseases? Like bacterial infections & viruses!

Lethal Yellowing & Fusarium Wilt are dangerous examples. There are even so many more strange Palm Tree Problems we're not mentioning right here!

Palm tree owners & growers take needed preventions to keep away these pests & diseases. A good thing!!

Some Palm Species are Invasive
Causing Ecological Damage


Palm species can actually wreak havoc on ecosystems. Isn't that strange about palm trees? To think they can be an invasive palm!

Notorious for this is the African Oil Palm, or scientifically: Elaeis guineensis.

These palms outcompete native plants, disrupting natural habitats. It's an aggressive 
species. It can quickly spread, dominating an area. That leads to biodiversity loss, causing ecological imbalance.


What doesn't help is methods for cultivation that commercial palm oil industries use. Such as slash & burn techniques which has led to massive deforestation. And also habitat loss for native plants & animals. Particularly where it's commercially grown in areas of Indonesia, Malaysia & large areas of Africa.

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

Palms Can Be a Fire Hazard


How do palms can become a fire hazard. Some palms don't do their own housekeeping! They keep their dead fronds around for many years. These dry fronds can easily catch fire, especially when conditions are dry & windy.


During lightning storms, a tall palm can easily be ignited. Then fire can quickly spread to other palm parts & other trees. And jump to nearby buildings.

So it's very important for those maintaining palm trees to regularly assess these palm leaves. Trimming off those dead frond, reducing the risk of fire.

lightning strikes around palms


We wrote a story about our friend in town, who had a palm set afire. You can read that story About Fire & Ice From Here>

It's good to use Advance Landscape Planning when intending to plant palms. To follow local regulations for fire safety. Especially when living in climates experiencing wildfires. We live in the desert, where wildfires are concerning. So we've done our prep before planting palms in our yard.

Strange That Palm Trees 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


They can cause serious injuries to people walking under them. Coconuts are nearly the largest Palm Fruit. That's a main concern for your health! Plus your family & friends.

Because if you have a Coconut Palm, there's a Potential For Falling Coconuts. Without warning! For those in the wrong place at the wrong time.

These fruits are very heavy. So it's good to be aware. Even when you're on a trip to that Delightful Tropical Paradise Vacation. Don't let it be ruined by getting conked on the head!


Other issues are the strange palm tree fruits that drop to the ground. Some can be quite messy. Consider that before Growing a Palm Tree.

I know we don't like planting palms that need excessive maintenance. 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 Palms That Will Scare You!

Maybe these Scary Palm Trees are the strangest palms of all! They look scary, they look odd. People say they do weird things. But after all they're just palm trees.

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

The Walking Palm: Does it Really "walk"?

Socratea exorrhiza is nicknamed the Walking Palm. Can a strange palm tree like that really walk? It's what everybody asks!

What happens is, if you look at it, you'll immediate notice its unique adaptation. At first glance it looks different: fascinating & mysterious.


Around the bottom of its trunk you'll see the cone-shaped staking of smaller trunks. These are actually a form of roots. Called "stilt roots" or "prop roots" or "aerial roots."

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


In a sense, it's been found to "walk." 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. Saplings do this to save being smothered by large forest growth. Plus they try to reach for a bit more sunshine.

Beware of Those Phoenix Palms!

The genus Phoenix has 13 (!) species that can attack you!! Some pinnate leaflets have converted themselves into sharp, ferocious spines. Others are on the stem. But a few Phoenix species are the scariest!


  • Phoenix loureiri is a little less scary. A smaller variety with dark green leaflets having pointy sharp tips.
  • Phoenix paludosa is referred to as the Mangrove Date Palm. As it enjoys swampy climes. It densely clumps. But watch out for those spiky needles at the leaf bases.
  • Phoenix sylvestris has many common names. Like Toddy Palm, Sugar Date Palm, Wild Date Palm & Silver Date Palm. One of the taller growing, to 50'. The leaf petioles are 3' long & armed with spines.
Spiny petioles of the Wild Date PalmSee That Spiny Petiole Army?


  • Phoenix dactylifera is called the Date Palm or Edible Date Palm. Yes, the source of dates your can purchase. But, 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. Watch for the long fronds Armed Along The Petiole with brutal spines.
Edible Date PalmThose leaflet tips are very sharp, so watch out!


Phoenix canariensis is named for the Phoenix Palm's Native Land. Called the Canary Island Date Palm. It's commonly planted in semiarid areas with good groundwater.

Very short petioles carry lengthy brutish spines.

Besides its danger it has other palm oddities:

  • Normally massively grows arrow-straight. But if a seedling begins on a hillside, it can curve. With maturity may fall over!
  • Also nicknamed the Pineapple Palm, because a young trunk is reminiscent of that fruit.
  • In old age aerial roots develop at the trunk's bottom.

This Strange Palm Tree is a Zombie

Zombia antillarum grows In Hispaniola. It's struggling because of the destruction of its habitat. It is referred 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.

You may like these