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  • Writer's pictureVerdant Tree Farm

What's the difference? Palms vs Trees

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

It's not uncommon to mistake a Palm for a Tree. There's a lot of similarities, especially when it comes to the large sweeping Medjool or the Sylvester! They can get very large, they create substantial canopies for shade and even resemble trees! However, these characteristics are not enough to classify palms as trees. So what's the difference and why should you care?

Well, technically the Palm is not a tree rather grass!

Difference #1: There are several distinctions between actual trees and palms.  For example, unlike trees, palms do not grow bark (woody tissue). Palms do not produce a cambium layer (which is the part of a tree between the bark and the interior) that produces new growth each year.  If you were to cut through a palm's trunk horizontally, you'll see no rings like a tree, which is often used to determine the age of the tree. A palm’s trunk isn't really a "trunk", and if you were to cut into it you'd see a mass of spongy, hardened material that expands as the palm grows.

Difference #2: Unlike trees, Palms do not have the ability to resist death due to disease or injury. Trees can ‘seal off’ a damaged portion of themselves if they experience trauma, quarantining it from the healthy part of the tree, allowing it to live and grow. Palms lack this "super" ability altogether.

Difference #3: The common tree experience a secondary growth phase as the functioning tissues are replaced with younger cells (much like human cells regenerate).  Palm trees, however, do not undergo this "cell replacement" process.  Instead, a palm tree’s cells live for the plant’s entire lifespan of 100-740 years.

As you can see, knowing how the palm grows and lives might prevent you from pruning it improperly (knowing its injury may be detrimental to it's growth), and how you plant the palm as you consider these distinctions.

In short: A tree is distinguished by a) bark b) secondary growth and c) the ability to heal its wounds


Here is a list of Just a few of our trees we carry: Medjools, Phoenix Dactylifera, California fan palm, Pindo, Sylvester, Mediterranean fan, Pygmy, Queen, Live oak, Red Oak, Bald Cypress, Green Ash, Mexican Sycamore, Bottlebrush, Cedar Elm, Magnolia, Mule Palms, Texas Sabal, Windmill Palm, ect.

We are Houston's largest nursery (20 acres). If you are in the market for large or small trees this is where you want to come. You'll get to hand pick the trees and if you need, we can even install them for you. We offer the best warranty in the industry and we actually stand behind our work. We are Veteran owned! Come by and see us today!

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Patrick Amery

Serving Houston, tx Katy, tx Texas city, tx Galveston, tx and all surrounding areas

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