What Do Palm Trees Grow?

What do palm trees grow? You asked! We're happy to tell you about that. The question may sound simple at first. But there's more to the answer than first meets the eye! Yet, it's not complicated.

The variety of palm tree forms are beautiful, & fascinate us. Yet palms have had practical uses over the centuries, up to today.

They produce fruits, oils, fibers & more. All along through history, and still, they play a noteworthy role in many cultures. For many reasons & in many ways, palms contribute to our world.

Let's see what they've got. For us & others. To not miss anything of what do palm trees grow, keep scrolling on down. OR choose your topic of interest...

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.

So - What Do Palm Trees Grow Anyway?

In many countries what palm trees grow is a natural part of their ecosystem. Providing benefits to human life.

PALM FRUITS

Palms grow fruits, because fruit contains seeds for continuing the species. So There Are Fruits produced by every palm tree.

Some palm fruit is used for making wine, other fruits you can make into jelly. Many palm tree fruits are good for various purposes.

Nearly every day I drink green tea with my lunch meal. It's one made with blueberries and acai palm berries. Both excellent for their antioxidants. And it tastes quite good!

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The Betal Nut Palm

One fruit called the Betel Nut is popular in Southeast Asia. Chewing it for the stimulation properties. Yet that's Not Necessarily a Good Betel Usage.

Betel nut palm with all its partsAreca catechu Palm Parts

Palm Oil

Palm oil comes from specific types of palm trees. Mostly widely known is the Genus Elaeis.

This Genus Has Two Species:

  • Elaeis guineensis - Commonly called African Oil Palm. There's only one cultivated economy-boosting palm that brings more income than this. It is the Coconut Palm.
  • Elaeis oleifera - The American Oil Palm hales from Northern South/Central America. Its oil output is substantially less than guineensis.
  1. Columbian indigenous women use the fatty dark oily fruit pith for a hair dressing. Said to prevent dandruff & keep hair from graying or falling out.

Attalea Palms

Attalea Genus

Attalea palms grow leaflets with tomentum along a single edge.

This palm tree grows large inflorescence brachts. Useful also for crafty people!

Attalea colenda - Native to Columbia & Western Ecuador. Fruits produce oil.

  • A contradictory fact is its endangerment. Resulting from land clearing to plant African Oil Palms.
  1. Guess it's because they say the African Oil quality is slightly higher & more lucrative.

Protective options are being studied. One usage has been in biofuel. It's lauric acid also makes it good for cooking.

Attalea crassispatha - Seriously endangered in its native Southern Haiti. Preservation projects are underway.

  • Factors leading to difficult new growth:
  1. Cattle love the palm's fruit. They also like its new growth seedlings.
  2. People snack on the palm fruit's seeds.

Attalea maripa - Cucurite palm, native to Northern South America. Many local uses.

Especially Its Edible, Yellow Oval Fruit.

  • Made into a cold drink. Also used in foods. 
  • Medicinally used as treatment for colds. Veterinarians find them useful.

Other Usage

  • Commercial oil production.
  1. Possibility for biodiesel. 
  2. Useful for cosmetics.
  3. Other locally valued uses are its thatch & Frond Parts used for blowgun darts.

Attalea phalerata - In Bolivia, much of Brazil, Colombia & Peru. Scheelea Palm has multiple uses, including for oil. Trunks are made into poles. Or used for building lumber for roughhewn countryside houses.

What other Scheelea parts do palm trees grow?

Leaves

  • Edible young leaves used as food.
  • Feather leaves valued for roofing thatch.

Roots

  • Adventitious roots help eliminate body's internal parasites
  • Helps with reproductive system health.
  • Aids the digestive system.

Fruit Usage

  • Oily fruit seeds eaten as a treat.
  • More Uses:
  1. People suck, then chew the ripe fruit's fibrous endosperm.
  2. Vivid yellow fruits used by local medics for various treatments.

How Are The Scheelea Palm's Oils Used?

  • Locally used in cooking.
  • Calms sore muscles, helps with infection & pest infestation. It's said to boost metabolism &  help breathing. It can help overcome bad nutrition.
  • Useful for cosmetics & lamp oil.

ONE DIFFERENT OIL PALM USAGE

Scheelea Palms grow for a particular local use.

  • People bury the fruit or scatter it on the ground. Attracting a palm weevil, which breeds larval grubs in the fruit. Several uses:
  1. Grubs are good as fish bait.
  2. Called Suri, they're a popular Peruvian Street Food. Maybe a delicacy?!

Attalea speciosa - Local people know Babassu palm for its fruit seeds. Which creates edible & otherwise valuable babassu oil. It's been verified a credible use for cosmetics & lotions.

  • Here's a comparison to coconut oil:

Palm Tree Leaves

Palm tree leaves are called fronds. Palms grow them from the trunk. But with different methods & results.

  • Fronds are fan-shaped. Termed: palmate. These leaves are eye-catching.
  • Or they're feather-like, termed pinnate. With pairs of pointed lined-up leaflets. Typically with arching petioles, giving them a classy air.
Example of pinnate frond and palmate frondPinnates are feathers - Palmates are fans!

SOME GROW THEIR OWN HOUSEKEEPER

Some palm trees are The Type That Do “Self-Cleaning”. Which means if you worry about trimming leaves - don't! It's a nonstarter.

Because some palms are self-starters when it comes to chucking dead fronds.

Palm tree with a crownshaft in the middle of a grassy fieldThis Crownshaft Palm Keeps a "Clean House"!

Two Types of Palms are Self-Cleaning.

  • Palms with a crownshaft automatically drop dead fronds.
  • Some non-crownshaft palms also rid their trunk of dead leaves. Be patient! It takes a few years to get this action going.
  1. Washingtonia filifera, the California Fan Palm or Desert Fan Palm can do this.

PALMS GROW LEAVES FOR MANY USES

Fan palm fronds can be turned into actual fans for waving, to cool down! Here's one example:

Corypha umbraculifera's common name is Talipot Palm. Has the world's largest fan fronds.

  • Locally used for thatch, in Southeast Asia south into Australia.
  • Creative people use fronds for handy household items & crafts.

What Do Palms Grow?
Yes - Coconuts

COCONUT PALM

Beloved, popular palm tree. With its tall & slender, slightly curving trunk. When people envision a Tropical Beach Vacation, this is the palm in view.

Everyone knows its iconic fruit. Native to the tropics, its oil & fibers are also useful.

Scientific name is Cocos nucifera.

Three coconut palm trees with green fruitsCoconut Palms Showing Their Oh So Useful Fruit

Many people use products that the coconut palm grows, especially the fruit. Have a look:

Cooking

  • Dried (desiccated) coconut fruit for toppings (think atop cakes or on shrimp). 
  • Incorporating coconut into baked items like cookies & pies.
  • Coconut oil for cooking.
Jar of coconut oil with wooden spoonCoconut Oil in a Glass Container - Squooshily Solid at Room Temperature

Various Types of Creams

  • Beauty products
  • Made into coconut cream for sweets. Or usage in sauces.
  • Turned into whipped cream for dairy intolerance replacement.
Various beauty products made from coconutsBeauty Products From Coconut

Drinks

  • Coquitos, traditional Holiday Drink
  • Instilled into alcoholic spirits (like rum or Palm Wine)
  • Coconut water or milk
Glass of coconut milk with the milk container and a coconutYou Can Purchase Coconut Milk. Try a Glassful!

Snacks

  • Toasted coconut chips are often added to trail mix.
coconut chipsWhat do palms trees grow?
Fruits to make coconut chips! Yummy snack!

Palm Trees Do Grow Dates

DATE PALM

Phoenix dactylifera is popular. Middle Eastern native.

  • Palm grown for its chewy, sweet fruit. 
  1. Eat them fresh or dried. Have you tried them?
  • What else do these palm trees grow? Dates for many products.
  1. There's even an Arizona town dedicated to growing dates, called: Dateland! We've been there several times.
Date Palms growing in a desert areaGroves of Date Palms in Dateland Arizona

More of What Date Palms Grow:

Frond Parts

  • Leaves useful for thatch in making baskets & woven goods.
  • Frond petioles used in fencing.
  • Leaf bases sourced for fuel.
  • Frond parts make rope & packing filler.

Edible Palm Heart

  • Bud's heart is edible. But best with non-productive palms, set for razing.
  1. Retrieving the heart as a vegetable food leaves a hollow. It fills with thick fluid. Tastes sweet & refreshing. Drink that, or try it after fermentation!
Heart Of Palm Serving

Trunk/Stem

  • Felled trunks good for building lumber.
  • Trunks tapped a limited amount of times. Getting sweet sap, called Date Honey. Tapping constricts palm fruit development.
  1. Honey is used fresh, or processed into sugar.
  1. Throughout history has been fermented into a strong alcoholic beverage. It's called "The Drink of Life." Ancient Egyptian cuneiform writing mentions it.

Seeds

  • Sprouted, then used as cattle fodder.
  • Sometimes ground to use in place of coffee.
  • For personal ornamentation, like jewelry.
date palm products showing the fruit and the seed

Economic Value of Palm Trees

What palm trees do grow is important to growing economies of many countries. From palm products made from oils, fruits & leaves, to bringing out cravings for the tropics. Like in the tourist industry, which benefits from these tropical trees.

  • Palm oil is a primary export for some countries.
  1. There is controversy about its use.
Two types of oils from African Oil Palm created from fruit pulp and seed
  • Palm products made from coconuts & dates also bring value.
  • Tourism benefits from palm trees. Many hotels & resorts are surrounded by growing palm trees. For that tropical atmosphere.

SEEING NATURAL HABITATS WHERE PALMS GROW USEFUL STUFF!

Going to see palm trees in their natural habitat is a fabulous bucket list item. Whether you...

  • Live where palm trees grow, but want a different palmy point of view?
  1. We're like that!
  • Or want a trip where there's endemic palms.

Many places around the world where you can do that!

The Tropics are Best to See Palm Trees. Because there's such a wide, natural variety of palms that grow there.

But they're found elsewhere: Palms Grow in the Desert. Where we live in Tucson's Sonoran Desert, we see palms at every turn. Including at local resorts! We've been to a few for "Staycations" & these are those we love. They'll surround you with stunning palm tree & mountain views.

We always use Booking.com to find places to stay. We think they're the best. Because we always find great deals. The more we use it the more we save.

You can, too - Including Airfares.

Or take a sight-seeing trip to see Palms in Their Natural Habitat. Does travel to far-afield exotic places interest you? Try these spots:

  • Any Island of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean. Home to several unique palms.
  • Anywhere you want to go in Australia. Aussie Tropical Coasts are usually best for palms.
  1. We especially loved staying in Darwin's "Top End" and in Port Douglas, Queensland.
  • Amazon Rainforest Areas may be the most novel of all. Here's a place for access...
Booking.com

PALM TREES IN POPULAR CULTURE

Palm trees, with their long-time association with a tropical paradise. It's shown visibly in popular culture.

  • Palms are in Fashion & interior design. A popular ornamentation in clothes or around the home.
  • You'll note them in movies & TV shows. Those set in the tropics.

IMPORTANT PALM ENVIRONMENTAL FUNCTIONS

Have you ever thought that what Palm trees grow may be important for the environment? In several ways...

  • Majorly important is palm's contribution to air quality. By absorbing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere & replacing it with pure oxygen. 
  1. Happens during photosynthesis Within the Fronds which palm trees grow.
Basic Photosynthesis Explained using a Leaf

What Do Palm Trees Grow - Takeaways

With so many species of palm trees, some are more well-known than others. The most popular for what do palm trees grow are:

Coconut Palm & Date Palm for their fruit. And their other byproducts.

Oil Palms are also important. Native to West Africa for its oil. Now grown in many areas of the world. Palm oil is useful for many products, from food to cosmetics.

Many palm tree species have been used for centuries. Helping people by providing fruit, oils, fronds, fibers & more. They still play significant roles in many cultures around the world.

They even contribute to the air we breathe. Palms grow very valuable products along with providing related economic value to many. 

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Can you eat the fruit of palm trees?

Many palm tree fruits are edible. Some might need getting used to, if they're not familiar to you. Others cannot be shipped away from where they grow, as they won't last. More are edible by livestock, birds & other animals. Check our Palm Fruit Page for more details.

What are the little orange balls that grow on palm trees?

They're a palm's fruit. Many palms grow round orange fruit, like the Jelly Palm (Butia capitata). Other palms produce fruits of many colors! Red, purple, dark blue, black, brown, etc. It depends on the species. They often begin with a green color before ripening.

What palm trees grow coconuts?

It's the Coconut Palm! That's the easily remembered common name. The scientific name is Cocos nucifera. Other Cocos varieties are grown for their own sorts of coconuts. For example, C. nucifera var. Tall Jamaican. There's also coconut palm varieties. Like Panama Tall, Maypan, Golden Malayan Dwarf & Green Malayan Dwarf. More About the Coconut Palm>

How do palm trees' roots grow?

They grow out widely, anchoring the palm into the ground. They've been known to spread out 50' beyond the trunk. The palm seedling establishes adventitious roots. Then the palm develops the root initiation zone. Where the plant creates needed roots. Palms don't have taproots. See One Palm's Wide Roots>

How fast do palm trees grow?

Palm tree growth varies depending on the species. Some grow relatively fast. Others grow relatively slowly. Sometimes there's an advantage to slow growth.

If you're looking for a pretty fast growing palm, some choices are:

  • Any Fishtail Palms (Caryota genus)
  • Solomon Ivory Nut Palm (Metroxylon salomonense)
  • Any Veitchia genus. But check out Niusawa Palm (V. simulans), Winin Palm (V. winin) & if you can find it: Kaivatu Palm (V. vitiensis)
  • Queen Palm aka Cocos Plumosa Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
  • Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)

Most of these are only suitable for tropical plantings. The Mexican Fan grows well in deserts. There's one important thing to remember. Whatever the palm you plant. For quick and healthy growth, learn its needs. Then give it that.