The Palm Identifier

In this compact study guide and identifier by Martin Gibbons, founder of The Palm Centre, 120 of the most common palms are described and illustrated in colour.

The distinguishing features of each are explained, together with characteristics such as height, leaf shape, origin and seed type, all of which will help the amateur and professional alike to differentiate between them.

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Everyone knows what a palm looks like. It’s that familiar symbol of the tropics we see everywhere, on billboards, in magazines and on television, advertising everything from exotic holidays to toothpaste. Not everybody knows, however, that there are nearly 3,000 species of palms, and that they are all different.

They come in different sizes, from a few inches tall at maturity, to a height of over 200 ft. With trunks that vary from the thickness of your finger to massive columns that three men could not link arms around. With seeds that vary in size from that of a matchhead, to huge seeds that weigh 50 lbs. And with leaves no bigger than a paperback book to giant fronds 60 ft long. Species that are covered with spines, that are brilliantly covered, that are fan or feather-shaped, that grow in deserts, swamps, on snowy mountain tops or dark gloomy jungles.


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