Chamaerops humilis

13 Mar

Chamaerops humilis (22/10/2011, Rome, Italy)

Chamaerops humilis (22/10/2011, Rome, Italy)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Late spring to early summer

Eventual Height: 3m

Eventual Spread: 2m

Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a

Family: Arecaceae

Chamaerops humilis is an evergreen palm tree with a shrubby bush-like habit. The plant has broad, pinnate, blue/ grey green leaves and will produce suckers when mature. The tiny 3 petaled flowers are yellow and produced in almost hidden panicles on the lower leaf axils. A brown date-like drupe occasionally follows these.

Chamaerops humilis, commonly known as the European Fan Palm or Mediterranean Dwarf Palm, is native to the dry scrub and sandy or rocky slopes of the Western Mediterranean region. Chamaerops humilis is the only species within this genus. 

The etymological root of the binomial name Chamaerops is derived from the Greek chamai meaning ‘on the ground’ and rhops meaning twig. Humilis is derived from the Latin for ‘lowest’ or ‘dwarf’.

Chamaerops humilis seed (22/10/2011, Rome, Italy)

Chamaerops humilis seed (22/10/2011, Rome, Italy)

Chamaerops humilis can be used by the landscape architect as a specimen plan due to its strong architectural form. Care must be taken however as although it is frost tolerant it cannot withstand long periods below freezing and must be taken indoors during winter at northern latitudes.

Ecologically, Chamaerops humilis fruit is attractive to numerous mammals.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Chamaerops humilis their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Chamaerops humilis prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate poor rocky soils.

Chamaerops humilis requires little maintenance. Dead leaves may be removed from the stem, however pruning of this palm should be avoided.

Davis Landscape Architecture


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