The Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta), or Palma blanca in Spanish, is a species of palm tree native to Baja California and Sonora, Mexico. It is a cousin to the shorter and stockier California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) yet is a tall growing desert palm tree.
It grows in areas with good drainage and permanent water, either above or below ground, and is not considered as drought tolerant as one might expect. Introduced to southern California in the 1930s to help beautify the streets of Los Angeles while putting people back to work during the early years of the Great Depression, it has become an iconic image of southern California.
To see more photos of the Mexican Fan Palm, visit the San Diego Natural History Museum’s San Diego County Plant Atlas.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Melli, SDNHM