Windmill PalmTrachycarpus fortunei


Origin China, Japan, Burma, Northern India
Type Palm
Soil Moist

Watering Frequency Not necessary

Suitable for Bonsai


Min. Temperature

-20 °C

H6 Hardy

The Windmill Palm is a species of palm tree that is native to central China, Japan, Burma and Northern India. It is a high altitude plant, and can be found from 100–2,400 metres (328–7,874 feet) above sea level.

It is a fairly tall plant, reaching heights of 12–20 metres (39–66 feet), and grows well in temperate climates. The trunk is tough and fibrous. It is one of the few palms that cannot tolerate heat.

The leaves look like the sails of a windmill, hence the name. They are 14–19 cm long (55–75 inches) and can vary in appearance from plant to plant.

The flowers are small and yellow or green depending on gender, yellow for the male and green for the female. They grow on 1 metre (3 feet) long stalks that sprout from the crown stem.

The fruit is a small kidney-shaped drupe, turning from yellow to blue-black as it ripens.

This plant has been cultivated for thousands of years in China and Japan for its strong, coarse leaf sheath fibre, which is used for making rope, sacks and other cloth.

It makes an excellent ornamental palm for temperate climates, and can be successfully grown as far north as Scotland.

Fun Fact

  • This plant is named after Robert Fortune, the Scottish botanist who first smuggled a specimen out of China and gave it to Kew Gardens. He also introduced tea plants from China to India

Safety Precautions

  • The fruits this plant produces are not edible
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