Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (G-Z)

Notes:

  • -- indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida
  • © indicates Florida native plants
  • water drop indicates plants that can tolerate wet soils or occasional flooding. 

    Click on linked scientific names for photos and/or more information.

Common name
Scientific name

Size
(feet)

Light

Salt tolerance

Comments

Cuban belly palm --

Gastrococos crispa

30

Full sun

Moderate

Graceful palm with spiny trunk and leaves. Slow-growing at first, increasing as trunk forms. Trunk distinctly swollen in middle. Orange, golf-ball sized fruit.

Palm

Guihaia argyrata

2-4

Partial to full shade

Low

Small, slow-growing, clumping, trunkless palm with fan-shaped leaves, green above and silvery brown below. Can be mistaken for Rhapis. Not common.

water dropSagisi palm --

Heterospathe elata

30

Full sun to partial shade

None

Tall rainforest species from the Philippines and adjacent islands. Slow-growing when young; grows quite fast once trunk forms. Bears crown of gracefully arching leaves. Many small, white fruit produced nearly continuously upon maturation.

Doum palm, gingerbread palm --

Hyphaene coriacea

20-30

Full sun

None

Coarse palm with arching, palmate, gray-green leaves that have spiny petioles. Trunk with persistent leaf bases unique among palms, in that it branches up to 2 or 3 times. Orange, pear-shaped fruit in long clusters.

Cycad

Lepidozamia peroffskyana

20

Partial to full shade

None

Tall Australian cycad. Elegant, glossy green leaves grow to 10’ long, with narrow leaflets to 12” long. Use as specimen or accent plant. Requires well-drained soil.

water dropChinese fan palm --

Livistona chinensis

UF Fact Sheet (183KB pdf)

15-40

Full sun to partial shade

None

Medium-sized palm with large, palmate, light green leaves split at the tips. Relatively fast growing. Produces large quantities of olive-shaped blue seeds. Petioles spiny. Juvenile palm used as groundcover.

water dropAustralian ribbon palm --

Livistona decipiens

30

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Tall, slender palm with graceful, deeply segmented, fan-shaped leaves bearing long, thin ribbons. Best when protected from strong winds.

Dwarf livistona palm

Livistona muelleri

12-18

Full sun

Low

Medium-sized palm with stout trunk and crown of large, stiff, erect, bluish-green, deeply segmented, fan-shaped leaves. Striking red, branched inflorescences followed by equally striking blue, olive-sized fruit. Not common.

water dropFootstool palm --

Livistona rotundifolia

30-40

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Tall, slender, fan palm with broad, nearly symmetrical, shallowly segmented leaves. Bright red fruit borne on long, thin, arching, stalk.

Mazari palm --

Nannorrhops ritchiana

10-20

Full sun to partial shade

None

Medium-sized, shrubby palm with branching trunks and whitish-blue, fan-shaped leaves. Each stem flowers only once and dies back. Exceptionally cold-tolerant. Prefers cool, arid climate but tolerates south Florida quite well. Slightly susceptible to lethal yellowing disease.

Madagascar ‘palm’ --

Pachypodium lamerei

6-15

Full sun

High

Tall-growing, sparsely branching cactus look-alike. Spiny trunks bear showy white flowers upon maturity. Not a palm. Other Pachypodium also drought tolerant.

water dropScrew ‘pine’, screw ‘palm’ --

Pandanus utilis

UF Fact Sheet (164KB pdf)

15-25

Full sun

High

Many-branched, palm-like plant with saw-toothed leaves that resemble pineapple. Prefers moist conditions, but can tolerate drought. Not a palm. Occasionally susceptible to lethal yellowing disease.

water dropCanary Island date palm --

Phoenix canariensis

UF Fact Sheet

30-50

Full sun

Low

Tall, robust date palm with huge rounded crown of long, arching, pinnate leaves. Best for avenue plantings; not suitable for small lot.

water dropPygmy date palm --

Phoenix roebelinii

6-8

Full to partial sun

None

Dwarf date palm with elegant, pinnate fronds bearing impressive spines at base. Commonly planted in south Florida, often near the front door or in pool enclosures.

Cliff date palm

Phoenix rupicola

20

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Medium-sized palm with gracefully arching, dark green, feathery leaves. Like all Phoenix, has large spines at leaf base. Fruit ¾” long, purplish-red in color. Requires well-drained soil. Caution: Phoenix reclinata is FLEPPC Category II invasive.

Palm

Pseudophoenix lediniana

20

Full sun

Moderate

Medium-sized palm with long, graceful, pinnate leaves and smooth, gray trunk distinctly swollen in middle. Related to P. sargentii, but much faster growing.

Buccaneer palm -- ©

Pseudophoenix sargentii

10

Full sun

High

Slow-growing native palm. Grows naturally in sandy or limestone soils in areas that receive little rainfall. Gray trunk and prominent gray-green crownshaft, topped by sparse crown of silvery-blue-green leaves. Produces red, grape-sized fruit.

Cherry palm, wine palm --

Pseudophoenix vinifera

20-30

Full sun

Moderate

Similar to P. lediniana, except slower growing and more robust overall. Produces many red, grape-sized fruit.

water drop

Traveller’s tree --

Ravenala madagascariensis

UF Fact Sheet (80KB pdf)

30

Full sun

Low

Bright green, banana-like leaves up to 10’ long, forming two opposite rows and held on long, tightly overlapping stalks. Spreading form reminiscent of flat fan of foliage. Clusters of white flowers between leaf bases in summer. Not a palm.

water drop

Lady palm --

Rhapis excelsa

UF Fact Sheet (82KB pdf)

5-10

Partial to full shade

None

Small, densely clumping fan palm with numerous slender, dark brown trunks bearing distinctive fibers and leaf scar patterns. Small, deeply segmented, glossy dark green leaves on thin, delicate petioles. Often used as shrub or potted plant.

Puerto Rican hat palm --

Sabal causiarum

50

Full sun

Moderate

Large palm with massive, smooth gray trunk up to 4’ in diameter. Large, fan-shaped leaves up to 6’ long, deep green in color, deeply segmented, drooping at ends. Not for small lots.

Scrub palmetto -- ©

Sabal etonia genus

UF Fact Sheet (42KB pdf)

3-4

Full sun

Moderate

Small, native, trunkless, shrub-like palm resembling Serenoa repens but with smooth petioles.

water dropDwarf blue palmetto -- ©

Sabal minor

UF Fact Sheet (97KB pdf)

3-4

Partial shade

Moderate

Small, native, trunkless, shrub-like palm resembling S. etonia, but smaller and with bluish-green leaves. Can tolerate wet soils.

water dropCabbage palm -- ©

Sabal palmetto

UF Fact Sheet (117KB pdf)

30-80

Full sun to partial shade

High

Common, native, tall palm with rounded crown of fan-shaped leaves and smooth or rough trunk. Highly adaptable. Florida’s state ‘tree’.  Plant only from containers or known field-grown plants. Do not plant cabbage palms taken from natural stands.

water dropSaw palmetto -- ©

Serenoa repens

UF Fact Sheet (97KB pdf)

3-8

Full sun to partial shade

High

Native clumping fan palm with subterranean, prostrate, or upright trunks. One of the most abundant and widely-planted palms in Florida. Green and silver forms. Spreading tendency can be problem when left uncontrolled.

water dropKeys thatch palm -- ©

Thrinax morrissii

UF Fact Sheet (88KB pdf)

15

Full sun to partial sun

High

Native to Florida Keys and the Caribbean. Grows naturally in alkaline soils, sometimes on limestone outcrops. Leaves are bluish-green above and silvery below. Small white fruit produced in the fall.

water dropFlorida thatch palm -- ©

Thrinax radiata

25

Full sun to partial sun

High

Native to Florida and the Caribbean. Grows naturally in sand or on limestone. Differs from T. morrissii by having leaves that are green on both sides.

water dropVeitchia palm --

Veitchia spp.

50

Full sun

None

Fast-growing palms from South Pacific. Widely planted in south Florida. High tolerance of hurricane-force winds. Wide adaptability to varying soil, water, and nutrient conditions. Caution: Avoid Adonidia merrillii (also known as Veitchia merillii), due to its high susceptibility to lethal yellowing disease.

Washintonia palm --

Washingtonia robusta

UF Fact Sheet (97KB pdf)

50

Full sun

High

Tall, fast-growing, common palm. Leaves large, palmate, with toothed petioles. Caution: Do not plant within 500’ of beaches or coastal wetlands in Miami-Dade County.

Cycad --

Zamia amblyphyllidia

3-4

Partial shade

High

Mounding, clumping cycad with elegant leaves to 4’ and wide, paddle-shaped leaflets. Requires well-drained soil.

Florida coontie -- ©

Zamia floridana

UF Fact Sheet (80KB pdf)

1-5

Full sun to shade

High

Florida’s only native cycad. Host for atala hairstreak butterfly. Comes in a variety of sizes. Narrow to wide leaflets. Separate male and female plants; both bear reddish-brown cones; male cone small, elongate; female cone larger and wider. Also known as Z. pumila, Z. integrifolia, Z. sylvatica, Z. umbrosa. Requires well-drained soil.

Cycad

Zamia herrerae

3-4

Full sun

High

Medium-sized, rare, subterranean cycad from southern Mexico and Central America. Has good landscape potential, with long, stiffly erect, slightly twisting leaves and shrub-like appearance.

Cycad

Zamia inermis

3-5

Full sun

High

Medium-sized, rare, stem-forming cycad from Veracruz, Mexico. Has good landscape potential, with long, upright leaves and shrub-like appearance.

Cycad

Zamia loddigesii

3

Full sun

High

Small, durable cycad from Mexicao. Similar in appearance to cardboard palm, but with narrower leaflets. Extremely drought tolerant. Requires well-drained soil.

Cardboard palm --

Zamia maritima

UF Fact Sheet (57KB pdf)

3-6

Full sun to partial shade

High

Medium-sized cycad with broad, stiff, cardboard-like leaflets. Commonly planted in south Florida as shrubs, specimen plants, or in large planters. Name recently changed from Z. furfuracea. Can be weedy if both male and female plants are in the same vicinity. Requires well-drained soil.

Cycad --

Zamia vazquezii

3-4

Partial shade

Low

Small to medium, fern-like cycad with delicate, green or brown emergent leaves. Name recently changed from Z. fischeri. Requires well-drained soil.

Zombie palm --

Zombia antillarum

8-20

Full sun

High

Tall, clumping palm with characteristic narrow trunks bearing rings of 2-3” yellow-beige spines attached to woven, fabric-like leaf sheathes. Leaves palmate and mid-green. Produces clusters of olive-sized, white fruit.