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Palm Trees of the Rio Grande Valley

Updated on September 3, 2016
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I had opportunities to visit or live in over one fourth of the world. I am writing about my experiences. Enjoy. Canita


Palm Tree

By Rabindranath Tagore

Palm-Tree: single-legged giant,
Topping other trees,
Peering at the firmament -
It longs to pierce the black cloud-ceiling
And fly away, away,
If only it had wings.

The tree seems to express its wish
In the tossing of its head:
Its fronds heave and swish -
It thinks, maybe my leaves are feathers,
And nothing stops me now
From rising on their flutter.

All day the fronds the wind blown tree
Soar and flap and shudder
As though it thinks it can fly,
As though it wanders in the skies,
Traveling who knows where,
Wheeling past the stars -

And then as soon as the wind dies down
The fronds subside, subside,
The mind of the tree returns.
To earth, recalls that earth is its mother:
And then it likes once more
Its earthly corner.

Cities of the Rio Grande Valley with palm trees

McAllen, Texas is called the City of Palms. Cameron county of the Rio Grande Valley has the largest population of palms and holds the cities of Harlingen, South Padre, and Brownsville. It is because of the many winters without freezing or even a frost that make the palms flourish in this Valley.

Sabal Palm

Sabal Palm
Sabal Palm | Source

Sabal Palm

Official name: Sabal Palmetto or Sabal Mexicana

Height: can reach up to 65 feet
Width of leaves: 5 - 6.5 feet
Diameter: 2 ft trunk
Number of leaves: 40 - 60 leaflets
Flower color/s: yellowish-white
Fruit: black with one seed
Edible or NOT: Edible

This palm produces a dark amber honey which is made from the flower and the fruit is bittersweet thin skinned, the size of a pea and tastes like prune juice.

This palm is drought tolerant and thrives on light watering. It is highly tolerant to salt water and cold, but not to salt water flooding.

Miniature Date Palm

Miniature Date Palm
Miniature Date Palm | Source

Miniature Date Palm

Official name: Phoenix Roebelenii

Height: slender get to 6 - 6.8 feet tall
Width of leaves: 24 - 47 inches long
Number of leaves: 100 leaflets
Flower color/s: small yellow
Fruit: small fleshed date fruit oblong and deep purple when ripe
Edible or Not: Edible

This palm is deer tolerant. It likes partial to full sun.

Triangular Palm

Triangular Palm
Triangular Palm | Source

Triangular Palm Tree

Official name: Dypsis Decaryi

Height: up to 119 inches in the wild
Width of leaves: 78 inches
Flower color/s: yellow and green
Fruit: round black and one inch in diameter
Edible or Not: round black NOT edible fruit

This palm blooms all year and loves rainy climates. It has three vertical columns at the base with leaves arching gracefully outward from the column tips. This palm is in a threatened status for survival.

Mediterranean Fan Palm

Mediterranean Fan Palm
Mediterranean Fan Palm | Source

Mediterranean Fan Palm

Official name: Chamaerops
Height: short and stumpy
Width of leaves: 1 - 1.5 inches
Number of leaves: 10 - 20 leaves
Flower color/s: green turning to dull yellow to brown when ripe (Sept. - Nov.)
Fruit: nutritious, wide woody layer, fleshy, fibrous pulp and thin outer layer
Edible or Not: Edible

This palm had numerous sharp needle like spines on each leaf. The flowers are very dense and short.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo Palm
Bamboo Palm | Source

Bamboo Palm

Official name: Chamaedorea Seifrizii

Height: 5 - 7 feet tall
Width of leaves: 3 - 5 feet
Number of leaves: 10 - 15 fronds
Flower color/s: yellow they emerge on the lower leaves
Fruit: red berries that turn black when ripe
Edible or Not: NOT edible and can cause an allergic reaction

Coconut Palm

Coconut Palm
Coconut Palm | Source

Coconut Palm

Official name: cocos nucifera

Height: 50 -100 feet
Width of leaves: 18 feet long and 6 feet wide
Number of leaves: 200 leaflets
Flower color/s: sweet scented yellow
Fruit: Coconut - three angled, 12 inches long and 10 inches wide
Edible or Not: most recognized fruit in the world

The coconut tree lives to be over 100 years old. At ages 4-6 years it begins producing a yellow flower. Then at the ages of 6 - 10 years it begins producing coconuts. Coconuts can be green, yellow, bronze gold to brown.

Grugru Palm


Grugru Palm

Official name: acrocomia aculeata

Height: 50 - 60 feet
Width of leaves: 20 -40 inches long
Diameter of trunk: 20 inches
Number of leaves: numerous slender leaflets
Flower: small
Fruit: yellowish-green
Edible or Not: Edible

The inner shell of the fruit is very tough and hard to break. It is dark brown and nut-like. The inside is a dry white filling that tastes vaguely sweet like a coconut.

Palm Trees of the Rio Grande Valley

Foxtail Palm

Foxtail Palm
Foxtail Palm | Source

Foxtail Palm

Official name: wodyetia

Height: up to 30 feet
Width of leaves: 7 - 10 inches in length
Flower color/s: white flower that grows from the crown shaft
Fruit: two inches long is olive green to green, then to orange when it is ripe. It is the size of a duck egg.
Edible or Not: Edible

The foliage is shaped like a foxtail thus how it got its name. This is a rare palm. It has a smooth, thin closely ringed trunk. The rings are dark gray to light gray in color later turning white. This palms crown shaft is light to bright green and slightly swollen at the base.

Queen Palms

Queen Palms
Queen Palms | Source

Queen Palm

Official name: Syagrus romanzoffiana

Height: up to 49 feet
Flower color/s: yellow
Fruit: hard round nut within a thin layer of fibrous flesh that is orange and sticky when ripe. The flavor is described as a mixture of plum and banana.
Edible or Not: Edible

The flower are all on one stem and are used as fodder for milking cows.

Royal Palm Trees


Royal Palms

Official name: Roystonea oleracea
Height: 60 - 70 feet tall 5- 10 feet wide
Width of leaves: 18 -36 inches in length
Flower color/s: yellow
Fruit: purple to black ½ inch fruit, showy
Edible or Not: NOT Edible

This palm can take really strong winds. It stems is likened as to a stone column and are smooth.

Palmyea Palm

Palmyea Palm
Palmyea Palm | Source

Palmyea Palm

Official name: Borassus flabellifer

Height: up to 98 ft tall
Width of leaves: 9 -10 feet across, green-bluish in color
Fruit: is borne in a cluster of three and is covered with a black husk. It is 4 - 7 inches in diameter.
Edible or Not: Three parts of this palm are editable the fruit, the sprout, and the tubular.

This is a robust palm and can live up to 100 years. The fruit is known by many different names. The English call it the ice-apple. The fruit is three sacks with no pits, it is a yellowish jelly covered with a brown skin. The outside is fibrous layer of the fruit can be eaten raw, boiled or roasted. It makes a sweet yellowish fluid. The palm tubular is a sugary sap that is juicy and fermented and made into a toddy. The sprouts are boiled and roasted. This is a fibrous and nutritious fruit.

Mexican Palm

Mexican Palm
Mexican Palm | Source

Mexican Fan Palm

Official name: Washingtonia robusta

Height: up to 82 ft tall
Width of leaves: 3.3 ft. long
Flower color/s: small pale orange-pink
Fruit: thin-fleshed, blue-black and around ¼ inch in diameter
Edible or Not: Edible

This palm is very drought and salt resistant.

Canary Island Palm

Canary Island Palm
Canary Island Palm | Source

Canary Island Date Palm

Official name: Phoenix canariensis

Height: 40-60 feet tall,
Width of leaves: 20- 25 inches in length
Flower color/s: white
Fruit: fleshy yellow-orange to red in color and 1.5 inches in length
Edible or Not: Edible

This palm has a diamond design on the trunk.

Beautiful and Unique

There are thirteen identified palms in the Rio Grande Valley. Each beautiful and unique in their own way.


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    • Canita Pro profile image

      Canita Prough 2 years ago from Pompano Beach, Florida

      Thank you for check it out.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Beautifully done! Great poetry!