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This palm tree has been grown in my parents' yard for more than a decade (perhaps two). I'm not sure of its identification.

It has grown a lot (perhaps too much, for the surrounding space), and, though we tried to constantly prune the lower leaves with the hope to make it develop a trunk and make it go up, we have not been very successfull.

Any information and advice would be appreciated.

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Update: to aid with identification: the yellow-brownish thing is a cluster of fruits (drupes), about 2 or 3 cm long. The lower leaves are hard, like spines (or daggers!). The description of the Phoenix palms fits quite well, I'm thinking.

Update 2 (Jan-2018) : Two years later. It looks healthy, but it keeps growing wider and still no trunk.

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You're right, it's Phoenix canariensis, I think - they can grow 30 cm in a year, but are usually much slower, particularly when young, or comparatively young. Not much you can do to make it hurry up and get to its eventual height of 20m, it just takes time. You might consider removing it and replacing with something else if its a nuisance. Bit more info here (with lots of photos further down, scroll down enough and you'll find one that looks just like yours)

http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Phoenix_canariensis

The article in the link below might be of interest!

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB108690570014334423

  • Thanks (the ssj.com is behind a pay wall, sadly). It indeed seems to be that one (but it could also be the Phoenix dactylifera). From what I read, I guess that pruning has litte or no influence on trunk growth. – leonbloy Dec 12 '15 at 12:35
  • Could you kindly provide a summary of the WSJ link? – hoc_age Dec 12 '15 at 12:56
  • @hoc_age Hmm, well that's very odd - I clicked on the link to provide the summary, but now its asking me to sign in or subscribe, when it didn't initially. It was just a silly article about a landscaping guy driving round parts of America trying to cadge off people their Phoenix palms if they didn't want them so he could transplant them elsewhere.. hence the title of the article, one man's weed is someone else's twenty k dollars.... it was just for fun, no real info otherwise. – Bamboo Dec 12 '15 at 13:44
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It looks like a sable palm to me. I had several when I lived in Florida. It's a great bee tree when the flowers bloom.

Keep trimming it like you are, and eventually once the tree gets tall enough, the base of those petioles will start to come away and you'll see the trunk. But it's going to take some time.

You can rush it, but it will look very ugly so I am not going to tell you how :-)

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