Ajuntament de Barcelona

Washingtonia robusta

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Spanish name: 
    Palmera mexicana
    English name: 
    Mexican fan palm
    Species characteristics
    Northern Mexico (Sonora area)
    Seacoastal arid areas

    Slender palm tree 15-25 m tall with greyish brown thin and slender stipe (non-branched trunk with a  final leaves bunch).

    The leaves, measuring 1 m in diameter, are palmately lobed and fan-shaped. They are divided, to the middle, into pointed segments, with forked apex and white long threads when young that disappear when aging. The long petiole, 1 m long, has curved teeth on the margins.

    The cream-coloured flowers appear pretty long (2-3 m long) hanging inflorescences that sprout between the leaves base.

    The fruits, numerous, are bluish black ovoid drupes measuring less than 1 cm in diameter.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    In its homeland, the leaves where used in burials.

    Nowadays, this palm is grown for decoration both in gardens and on the street.

    Its hanging rotten leaves are typical.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name Washingtonia robusta comes from the genus name Washingtonia, in honour of George Washington (1732-1799), first president of the United States, and the Latin term robusta, “robust, strong, solid, sturdy, growing”.

    The Spanish conquistadores taught the Northeastern Mexican natives how to eat the Mexican fan palm apical buds, which caused the destruction of many palm groves.

    The collection of Mexican fan palms located at Miramar road is a unique plantation in Barcelona, made in the late 60s and designed to be integrated into the arid landscape of Montjuïc mountain East side, framing the Gardens of Costa i Llobera.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    CAÑIZO, José Antonio del. Palmeras. Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2002