Palms on the University of Arizona Campus

border-style: solid; padding: 5pxThe University of Arizona's trees represent species from every continent on earth and the palms are no exception. Several hundred palms line the main entrances to campus and provide a formal welcome to visitors and serve as iconic landmarks for the Tucson campus to residents and alumni. However, there are many other species of palms represented throughout campus.

Wherever one looks on the University of Arizona (U of A) campus, palm trees enter the view. Palms line the roadways and sidewalks and frame the doors of university buildings. With so many palms, they are often taken for granted and no one pays much attention to their diversity, or to their tremendous beauty. On the U of A campus alone, one can find as many as 25 species of palm trees, each with its own set of unique characteristics (although some look remarkably similar at first glance). The purpose of this report is to enlighten its reader about the palm family in general, and to facilitate easy identification of palms on the campus. The report is divided into three main sections. In the first section, I introduce the main features of the palm family, providing the context from which to understand palms in general. In the second section, I describe the Arecaceae subfamilies, as they are currently divided, and briefly discuss the current thought about relationships between different groups of palms. The third section deals specifically with the palm species found on the U of A campus. Here we provide a brief examination of the plant family Arecaceae and a Key to the Palms of the University of Arizona Campus. Species descriptions and campus locations are provided (2009). For current locations, search the Campus Arboretum map.


Arecaceae (alternately known as Palmae)
Palms Classification and Relationships
Subfamilies of the Arecaceae:

I. Coryphoideae
II. Calamoideae
III. Nypoideae
IV. Ceroxyloideae
V. Arecoideae
VI. Phytelephantoideae


PALMS ON THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA CAMPUS- Descriptions of Palm Species found on Campus


Brahea (formerly Erythea)
Brahea armata, Plates 1-7
Brahea edulis, Plate 8


Butia capitata, Plates 9 and 10


Chamaerops humilis, Plates 11-14


Jubaea chilensis, Plate 15


Phoenix canariensis, Plates 16-18
Phoenix dactylifera, Plates 19-21
Phoenix reclinata, Plate 22
Phoenix sylvestris, Plates 23 and 24
Phoenix zeylanica, Plates 25 and 26


Sabal palmetto, Plates 27-30
Sabal uresana, Plates 31 and 32


Syagrus romanzoffiana, Plates 33 and 34


Trachycarpus fortunei, Plates 35-37


Washingtonia filifera, Plate 38-42
Washingtonia robusta, Plate 43