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Plants of the UNF Campus

Washingtonia robusta - Washingtonia
Family Arecaceae


Two species of Washingtonia are native to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. The other species, Washingtonia filifera grows poorly in Florida but thrives with southern California’s dry climate. This species is from Mexico. It is fast-growing compared to most palms. The old leaves hang on the palm for many years, a condition termed marcesence. Scientists have speculated that palms with marcesent leaves provide a hiding place for nocturnal animals and benefit from the droppings of those animals. In the wild, the small, black fruits of this plant are an important wildlife food.


See plants at parking lot 2 near the library and above the fountain at building 1.


Large tree capable of reaching seventy-five feet or more in height.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun

Water: very drought tolerant when established

Soil: well-drained, very adaptable, no other special requirements

This is an attractive, cold hardy palm for north Florida gardens where space permits. It thrives in a sunny, dry site. In Florida, it is suseptible to fatal fungal diseases in especially rainy years. The skirt of dead leaves that are retained is natural. Some people consider it unattractive and it may be trimmed.

Washingtonia robusta