Random Plant: Florida royal palm

Close to the eastern entrance of Everglades National Park is a location called Royal Palm. This spot hosts the trailheads for the Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo trails. Fittingly it also hosts a number of Florida royal palm trees (Roystonea elata or R. regia, Arecaceae):

Florida royal palms (Roystonea elata, Arecaceae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park, Florida.

Within the continental United States these trees are restricted to southern Florida. Their intolerance to cold prevents their spread (either natural or cultivated) farther north.

One notable feature that separates these palms from others is the long, bright green crownshaft just below the leaves:

Florida royal palm (Roystonea elata, Arecaceae) photographed 04/08/2012 at Everglades National Park, Florida.

These trees also grow to impressive heights of up to 100 feet, so they’re appealing for urban planting. Although native trees are present in the Everglades, they are also cultivated commercially. I saw a number of nurseries near Homestead with large stands of trees:

Florida royal palms (Roystonea elata, Arecaceae) photographed 04/09/2012 east of Homestead, Florida.

These palms are widely used as ornamentals in yards and along roadways. There were many boulevards in southern Florida lined with these stately palms:

Florida royal palms (Roystonea elata, Arecaceae) photographed 04/09/2012 near Homestead-Miami Speedway, Florida.

Some of these trees had conspicuous bulges along their trunks.  I suspect this is caused by relatively good and bad growing conditions during certain years.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, National Parks, Random Plant and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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