Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: California Fan Palm, Southern washingtonia, Washington palm, Mexican Fan Palm.

+ Tree Species

Washingtonia robusta

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Washington palm is native to the desert mountain valleys and canyons of Sonora and Baja Mexico.It prefers a moderately rich well drained soil but can survive on poor soils, even sand. Light: It does best in bright sunny conditions but Washington palm will tolerate some shade. It is also drought resistant when established, but looks better and grows faster when given adequate moisture. In Kampala, Washington palm can be found along Nasser road, Nkurumah road, Phillip road, within Makerere II zone C private residences among other places.

+ Description

A very tall, slender, solitary palm that attains dominant heights of over 30 m tall with a diameter of up to 30 cm. It has a trunk on which many old fronds remain attached.

BARK: thin, long, slender, brownish-grey, ringed with closely set leaf scars (although usually at least part of the trunk remains covered with dead leaves that hang in a thatch). 

LEAVES: bright green above and dull green beneath, palmate fronds with gracefully drooping tips, reddish-brown sheaths armed with thorns. As the fronds die, they fall against the trunk to create a "hula skirt" or "petticoat" effect for which this palm is famous for. 

FLOWERS: inflorescences 2 to 3 m long, cream, originating from among the leaf bases; flowers about 0.5cm. 

FRUIT:  globular, about 10 mm in diameter, ripening from white to brownish-black.

+ Uses

An ornamental palm.

Young plants can be grown in containers and give a tropical look to patios and decks.

+ Propagation


+ Management

Fast-growing. Pruning of fronds.

+ Remarks

Frond removal must be done carefully to protect the health of the tree. Trees that are pruned this way again and again can lose vigor and the upper trunk can become spindly such that the crown dies or breaks off in a high wind. Therefore, it is necessary to leave at least 50% of the green fronds intact.

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