The Essential Memphis Palm

No matter where I go in the Memphis metro area, if a trunking palm is to be seen, it’s probably a Trachycarpus fortunei. They are by far the most common in the area with my estimate at several hundred established around town.

A local motel near where I work has done a good job associating our city with a palm culture.


There are actually two motels next to each other that have palms. There are about a dozen or so in total. This one below is in a very open spot and saw 9F in January 2015, open to winds from the North. Any lower and the palm would have gone from a bit ragged to being much more damaged.


Across the street from these motels (Sycamore View & I-40 area), there is a local restaurant that has about a dozen large Trachycarpus as well. Mixed in between the windmills are juvenile Sabal palmettos, which also endured 9F with no issue. They should grow in a few years into very hardy trunking palmettos due to maturing in the local Memphis climate rather than being shipped in from a place more tropical and being shocked by our cooler winters.

Here is an excellent trio of very tall windmills at the Memphis Botanic Gardens.


Clearly, the Trachycarpus fortunei is the very best trunking palm for the Memphis area. There are specimens in Memphis that go back to the mid 1990s, but in the last five to ten years, they have become very common and quite numerous.

6 thoughts on “The Essential Memphis Palm

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