Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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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: Cultivated 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.
Etymology: (George Washington, 1st president of USA, 1732--1799)
Unabridged Reference: Clarke et al. 2007 Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs; Henderson et al. 1995 Field guide to the Palms of the Americas; McCurrach 1960 Palms of the World: 264--265; Zona 2000 FNANM 22:105--106
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
Jepson eFlora Author: Scott Simono
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Washingtonia
Next taxon: Washingtonia robusta

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Jepson Video for Washingtonia filifera

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Botanical illustration including Washingtonia filifera

botanical illustration including Washingtonia filifera

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Citation for this treatment: Scott Simono 2012, Washingtonia filifera, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 26, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 26, 2023.

Washingtonia filifera
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© 2015 Keir Morse
Washingtonia filifera
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© 1999 California Academy of Sciences
Washingtonia filifera
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© 2012 Neal Kramer
Washingtonia filifera
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© 2015 Barry Rice
Washingtonia filifera
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© 2008 Gary A. Monroe
Washingtonia filifera
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© 2015 Barry Rice

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
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).