Chamaerops humilis

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Figure 1. C. humilis


Common Names:

Dwarf Fan Palm,
European Fan Palm,
Mediterranean Fan Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

Rocky headlands and low hills around the Mediterranean coast. Its range extends from Africa's Atlas Mountains in Morocco to Spain and France and eastward to Turkey (see humilis in Sicily).


A very variable species, usually clumping, however, also occasionally single trunked, to about 3m high. Small, palmate leaves, to about 50cm across, at the end of a heavily spined petiole.


Prefers full sun in a very well drained position. Not suited to the true tropics, but will thrive in a sub-tropical climate with a good dry season. One of the most cold tolerant palm species, withstanding even heavy frosts, so it is very popular in Europe, and the USA. Quite slow growing. A very good container plant.

Figure 2. C. humilis leaf close-up.
Figure 3. A very ancient C. humilis in habitat, Morocco.

Contributed by:

Rolf Kyburz (Figure 1&2)
Antonius Verhoeven, [Global Palms] (Figure 3)


External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown, Wikipedia Images

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk