Trachycarpus fortunei

Windmill Palm

Landscape Environment

Grow Region: 7b-11

Origin: Himalayas to Northern Thailand and China

Drought Tolerance: High

Cold Tolerance: Very high, 5 F

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Soil: Extremely adaptable

Light: High to Moderate


Mature Height: 30 to 35 feet

Trunk: , solitary

Leaf: deeply and variously divided almost to base, rigid segements, slighly bifid at tips, forming petticoat below crown

Leaf Petiole: 1.5 feet long, slender

Armature: teeth on margins

Color: Dark Green


Fruit: 1/2 inch, kidney shaped

Human Uses:


Subfamily: Coryphoideae

Tribe: Corypheae

Subtribe: Thrinacinae

Item #: 5561-1
Availability: In Stock
In Stock Quantity: 279

This Trachycarpus fortunei is native to mountainous habitat ranging up to 7000 feet in China and has evolved to tolerate prolonged freezing temperatures at elevation. The most cold hardy of all palms, it also thrives at the Grove in Riverside in hot summers and cold winter nights, unfazed by wind or other abuse nature offers.

This hardiness of the Chinese Windmill palm, or Chusan Palm, likely accounts for its prolific use in municipal or roadway landscaping. There are many dozen examples planted among Mediterranean fan palms along the median or side of Pacific Coast Highway between Huntington and Laguna Beach, California.

Though it has a straight, solitary stem that grows quite tall and is rather narrow by comparison, the Windmill palm bears some resemblance to older, well-manicured, single trunk Mediterranean fan palms. The leaf size, color and shape is similar, but with a slightly longer petiole. The armature is also far less aggressive than the pointed tips of the Mediterranean.

The trunk of this palm is a distinctive feature and has strongly persistent woolly fibers that form a thick coat.

The Windmill palm is capable of growing and thriving in an diverse range of climates, from the inland heat of Southern California to farther into the northern hemisphere than any other species of palm. In fact, it is often seen in photographs covered in a layer of snow and ice. Most palms would call it quits after a day of such conditions, or even a few hours, but this one survives.

Price: $75.00
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    Clear Trunk Height:

    How we measure palms

    Conditions for Growth

    This palm has the distinction of being the hardiest of all the palms. Capable of growing far into the Northern hemisphere, it is not uncommon to see images of this palm covered in a layer of snow. This palm perfers a loam soil, with a perference for clay over sand and good drainage. Our collection in Riverside responds well to the loam soil and hot summer temperatures.

    Growth Rate and Size

    The Windmill palm has a moderate to fast growth rate of 6 - 12 inches per year, with the faster rate being the standard among specimens in our Riverside grove. Total height can vary from 15 to 30 feet or more.


    Solitary trunk with persistent, fiberous, dark brown to black leaf bases that turn a shade of gray over time in the full sun. The net-like leaf bases form a cheesecloth, wholly matting. Not only is this an identifying characteristic of this palm, but it is also quite useful as a liner for the bottom of planter pots! Palmate leaves 2-3 feet across, stiff, dark green segments deeply divided atop relatively short petioles of 1.5 to 2 feet. When neglected, this palm looks a bit like a slightly taller version of Mediteranian Fan palm, but with solitary stem habit and blunt teeth on the petiole.