The Windmill Palm Tree – Trachycarpus fortune
- Seen in many hotels and resorts the Windmill Palm will add that touch of the tropics to any garden. Windmill Palm trees are easy to grow and thrive in the climate of Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and the Sunshine Coast. The Windmill Palm is considered to be the hardiest and most wanted palm tree in Vancouver.
- Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan Palm, Windmill Palm or Chinese Windmill Palm) is a palm native to the mountainous regions of central China (Hubei southwards), south to northern Burma. It grows to 15 m tall on a single stem up to 20-35 cm diameter. The trunk is very rough with the persistent leaf bases clasping the stem as layers of coarse fibrous material. It is a fan palm (Arecaceae subfamily Coryphoideae), with the leaves with the long petiole bare except for two rows of small spines, terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets; each leaf is 140-190 cm long, with the petiole 60-100 cm long, and the leaflets up to 90 cm long. The flowers are yellow (male) and greenish (female), about 2-4 mm across, borne in large branched panicles up to 1 m long in spring; it is dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate trees. The fruit is a yellow to blue-black, reniform (kidney-shaped) drupe 10–12 mm long, ripening in mid autumn. Although not the northernmost naturally occurring palm in the world (Chamaerops humilis grows further north in the Mediterranean region, and Rhapidophyllum and some Sabal species further north on the Atlantic coast of North America), it is one of the hardiest, as it grows at much higher altitudes, up to 2,400 m in the mountains of southern China. This brings it into a climate not only with cold winters, but also cool, moist summers; while Rhapidophyllum may possibly tolerate slightly lower temperatures in winter, it needs much greater summer heat to grow successfully.
- There are new species of Trachycarpus being discovered that come from India, most notably Trachycarpus takil.Trachycarpus takil has been a true life mystery plant following a series of seed collecting expeditions to its home at 7,000′ elevation in remote Northern India over the past few decades. The main difference between Trachycarpus takil and Trachycarpus fortunei is that Trachycarpus takil has no long brown trunk hair at the crown, and has dramatically more leaf segments than Trachycarpus fortunei.