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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonWashingtonia filifera
Family common name(s)palm
Genus common name(s)washingtonia; washingtonia palm; Washington-palm; Washington palm; Washington's palm; Washington fan-palm; Washington fan palm; Washington fanpalm; Washington's fanpalm; cotton palm; American cotton palm; American petticoat palm; desert fan palm; desert fan-palm; desert palm
Species common name(s)California fan-palm; California fan palm; California fan palms; California washingtonia; California washingtonia palm; California Washington-palm; California Washington palm; California petticoat palm; California desert fan-palm; California desert fan palm; California desert palm; California palm; California cotton palm; Californian fan-palm; Californian fan palm; Californian Washington-palm; Californian Washington palm; Californian cotton palm
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxafan palm, fan-palm, fanpalm, petticoat palm are applied to multiple Arecaceae taxa
NotesCalifornia, Californian, Washington, American are proper names, so upper case preferable
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