Palms inhabit nearly every type of habitat within their range from rainforest to deserts. Contrary to their typical coconut tree like appearance, palms exhibit an enormous diversity in physical characteristics.
Palms are of high ornamental value. There are several species suitable for decoration of verandahs, for avenue planting, for indoors and for the decoration of shade gardens.
Though a majority of palms attain great heights when planted outside, they may be kept in pots as they look beautiful and have prolonged growth. Palms, in general, create a feeling of tropics in any landscape planting.
Examples of different types and utility palms:
(Note: There will be a repetition of names as one palm may belong to different species.)
The palm with unbranched, erect, tall, cylindrical and columnar stem called the trunk. Cocos nucifera (Coconut), Phoenix, Elaeis, Roystonias, Hyphrobe, Aphianes etc.
Areca lutescens, Ptychosperma macarthurii, Crostachy renda, Chamaedorea seifrizii, Raphis humilis etc.
Hyphaene indica (branches above ground), Nypa fruticans (branches below ground)
Phoenix acaulis, Phoenix pusilla, Chamaedorea radicalis & Syagrus liliputiana.
Feather Leaved Palms:
Areca lutescens, Caryota mitis, Cocos nucifera, Roystonea regia, Roystonea oleracea etc.
Fan Leaved Palms:
Borassus flabellifer, Chamaerops excelsa, Hyphaene thebaica, Licuala grandis etc.
Palms Which Can Tolerate Deep Shade:
Areca catechu, Caryota mitis, Chamaedorea elegans, Licuala grandis, Livistona rotundifolia, Rhapis excelsa etc.
Palms Suitable for Avenue Planting:Arenga saccharifera, Roystonea regia, Roystonea oleracea, Hyophorbe verschaffeltii, Livistona rotundifolia, Phoenix dactylifera, Washingtonia filifera, Washingtonia robusta.
Chamaerops humilis, Cocos nucifera, Hyophorbe verschaffeltii, Livistona rotundifolia, Phoenix dactylifera, Roystonea regia, and Washingtonia filifera.
Palms for Tropical Climates:
Borassus flabellifer, Caryota urens, Hyophorbe species, Roystoneas.
Palms for Moist Boggy Wet Soils:
Cyrtostachys renda, Licuala spinosa, Livistona decipiens and Nypa fruticans
Palms for Indoors:
Caryota urens, Chamaedorea elegans, Hyophorbe verschaffeltii, Licuala grandis, Livistona rotundifolia, Rhapis excelsa, and Washingtonia filifera.
Read More About Growing Parlor Palm Plant.
Apart from ornamental use, palms are of high economic value. The importance of coconut and dates is well known. Some of them offer food, shelter, clothing fibre, timber, oil, sugar, starch, wax, wine, resin, tannin-dye-stuffs and many other great utility products.