Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Washingtonia filifera

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Arecaceae (Palmae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: PALM FAMILY
Habit: [Subshrub, shrub], tree, evergreen; dioecious (monoecious), or flowers bisexual. Stem: erect [subterranean, creeping, climbing], slender to massive, smooth or covered with fibrous or prickly remains of leaf bases. Leaf: palmately or pinnately dissected or compound, alternate, forming a terminal crown; base sheathing; petiole generally long; blade including leaflets folded lengthwise. Inflorescence: panicle (spike), axillary; peduncle sheathed by 1+ large bracts; flowers many, generally +- sessile. Flower: generally small, +- radial; sepals, petals each generally 3, similar or not, fused at base or free; stamens generally 6; pistils 1, compound, or 3, simple, ovaries superior, if 1, generally 3-chambered, styles free or fused. Fruit: generally a drupe, fleshy or dry. Seed: generally 1.
Genera In Family: 1914 genera, 2500 species: tropics, subtropics. Note: Cult worldwide for food, ornamental, building material.
eFlora Treatment Author: Scott Simono
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: WashingtoniaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: FAN PALM
Leaf: petiole 1--2 m, generally armed, bases persistent on trunk; blade 1--2 m, generally persistent as brown "skirt," palmately divided nearly to middle, segments 40--60, margins folded upward, with thread-like fibers, tips +- reflexed. Inflorescence: within crown, > leaves, flowers borne singly. Flower: bisexual; calyx lobes +- erect; corolla lobes reflexed, white; pistil 1, ovary 3-lobed. Fruit: drupe, oblong or ovate, black, +- fleshy.
Species In Genus: 2 species: deserts of southern California, Arizona, northern Mexico. Etymology: (George Washington, 1st president of USA, 1732--1799)

Washingtonia filifera (Linden ex André) H. Wendl. ex de Bary.
Stem: trunk < 20 m, +- 100 cm diam. Leaf: 1.5--3 m; petiole green, sharply toothed at base; thread-like fibers of leaf segment margins many. Inflorescence: to 5 m.
Ecology: Groves, moist places, seeps, springs, streamsides; Elevation: < 1200 m. Bioregional Distribution: DSon, introduced s SNF (Kern River), SCo (Santa Ana River), DMoj (Death Valley National Park), expected elsewhere; Distribution Outside California: southeastern Arizona, northern Baja California. Flowering Time: Feb--Jun
eFlora Treatment Author: Scott Simono
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Previous taxon: Washingtonia
Next taxon: Washingtonia robusta

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botanical illustration including Washingtonia filifera


Citation for this treatment: Scott Simono 2017. Washingtonia filifera, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 30, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 30, 2017.

Washingtonia filifera
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© 1999 California Academy of Sciences
Washingtonia filifera
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© 1998 Christopher L. Christie

More photos of Washingtonia filifera in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Washingtonia filifera:
DSon, introduced s SNF (Kern River), SCo (Santa Ana River), DMoj (Death Valley National Park), expected elsewhere;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.