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Canary Island Palm

Phoenix canariensis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Arecaceae (Palms)
Also in this family:
Evergreen tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
10 metres tall
Gardens, parks, seaside, towns.

Yellow, 3 petals
The flowers of the Phoenix canariensis, commonly known as the Canary Island date palm, are small and yellowish, arranged in large, branched inflorescences that emerge from the base of the leaves. Each individual flower features three petals, contributing to the plant's overall subtle floral display. Blooming in late spring to early summer, typically from May to June in the UK, these flowers are not particularly conspicuous but add a delicate touch to the palm's robust, tropical appearance. The inflorescences, though modest, play a crucial role in the reproduction and ornamental value of this striking palm species.
The fruit of the Phoenix canariensis, known as the Canary Island Palm, are small, oval-shaped drupes that turn from green to a rich orange-brown as they mature. Measuring about 1 to 2 cm in length, the fruits are typically not as large or sweet as those of the true date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). Inside each fruit is a single, hard seed. While the fruits are technically edible, they are generally considered unpalatable due to their fibrous texture and minimal flesh. Despite this, the clusters of ripening fruits add ornamental value to the palm, enhancing its exotic and lush appearance in gardens, parks, and urban landscapes.
The leaves of the Canary Island Palm are one of its most striking features. These leaves, known as fronds, are large, pinnate (feather-like), and can reach lengths of up to 3 to 5 meters (10 to 16 feet). Each frond is composed of numerous stiff, narrow leaflets that grow in a V-shaped pattern along a central stem, or rachis. The leaflets are dark green, creating a dense, lush canopy that provides excellent shade. The overall effect of the fronds is a graceful, arching appearance that enhances the palm's tropical aesthetic, making it a popular choice for ornamental planting in gardens, parks, and coastal areas.
The Canary Island Palm does not have a particularly notable fragrance. The flowers, though small and yellowish, emit a faint and subtle scent that is not strong or prominent. The primary appeal of this palm lies in its striking visual appearance, characterized by its large, arching fronds and ornamental fruit, rather than any significant aromatic qualities. As such, it is more appreciated for its aesthetic contribution to landscapes and gardens rather than for any distinctive fragrance.
Other Names:
Canary Date Palm, Canary Island Date Palm, Canary Palm, Pineapple Palm.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information

The Canary Island Palm (Phoenix canariensis) is a majestic palm species known for its large, pinnate leaves that form dense, arching fronds reaching up to 3 to 5 meters in length. Native to the Canary Islands, it thrives in mild coastal climates and is widely cultivated for its ornamental value in gardens, parks, and urban landscapes across the world. In late spring to early summer, it produces small, yellowish flowers arranged in branched inflorescences, followed by oval-shaped, orange-brown fruits that are technically edible but not commonly consumed due to their fibrous texture and lack of sweetness. This palm is prized for its tropical appearance and ability to provide shade and visual interest in diverse environmental settings.

Discovering the Canary Island Palm (Phoenix canariensis): A Majestic Addition to Your Landscape

The Canary Island palm, scientifically known as Phoenix canariensis, stands as a testament to nature's grandeur and resilience. Originating from the volcanic archipelago of the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa, this palm species has captured the imagination of landscape designers, garden enthusiasts, and casual observers alike with its striking presence and timeless elegance.

Origins and Habitat

Native to the Canary Islands, particularly prevalent on the larger islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, the Phoenix canariensis is adapted to thrive in subtropical and Mediterranean climates. Its natural habitat encompasses coastal regions and lowland areas where it enjoys abundant sunlight and well-drained soils. This robust palm has also found a welcoming home in various parts of the world, from Mediterranean Europe to California and Australia, where its resilience to coastal winds and moderate frost has made it a cherished addition to landscapes.

Distinctive Features

Foliage and Fronds: The hallmark of the Canary Island palm is its majestic fronds. These large, feather-like leaves can grow to impressive lengths of 3 to 5 meters, creating a lush canopy that provides excellent shade and a tropical ambiance. The deep green color and gracefully arching form of the fronds lend a sense of serenity and sophistication to any environment.

Flowers and Fruits: In late spring to early summer, the Phoenix canariensis produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are pale yellow in color. These flowers are clustered in branched inflorescences and give way to oval-shaped fruits that ripen from green to a rich, orange-brown hue. While technically edible, the fruits are not commonly consumed due to their fibrous texture and lack of significant sweetness.

Ornamental Value

The Canary Island palm is highly prized for its ornamental value, serving as a focal point in both residential and public landscapes. Its towering presence and distinctive silhouette make it a natural choice for creating visual interest and providing shade in gardens, parks, and along streetscapes. Whether planted individually or in groups, these palms evoke a sense of exoticism and luxury, enhancing the overall aesthetics of their surroundings.

Cultivation Tips

For those considering introducing a Phoenix canariensis to their landscape, understanding its cultivation requirements is essential:

  • Climate: Thrives in subtropical to Mediterranean climates with mild winters and warm summers. While it can tolerate occasional frosts, protection may be necessary in colder regions.

  • Soil: Prefers well-drained soils with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Sandy or loamy soils are ideal, but the palm can adapt to various soil types with proper drainage.

  • Sunlight: Requires full sun to partial shade for optimal growth. Ensure adequate sunlight exposure to promote healthy foliage and fruit production.

  • Watering: Moderate watering is sufficient once established. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot, especially in poorly drained soils.


In conclusion, the Canary Island palm (Phoenix canariensis) represents not only a botanical marvel but also a testament to the enduring allure of tropical flora in diverse landscapes. Its graceful fronds, subtle flowering display, and hardy nature make it a versatile choice for enhancing both residential gardens and urban green spaces. Whether seeking to create a Mediterranean oasis or add a touch of exoticism to a coastal setting, the Canary Island palm stands ready to transform any environment with its timeless beauty and enduring presence.

30 Facts Regarding the Canary Island Palm

Here are 30 facts about the Canary Island Palm (Phoenix canariensis):

  1. Origin: Native to the Canary Islands, specifically Gran Canaria and Tenerife.
  2. Scientific Name: Phoenix canariensis.
  3. Common Names: Also known as Canary Island date palm or pineapple palm.
  4. Height: Can grow up to 20-25 meters (65-80 feet) tall.
  5. Trunk: Typically thick and stout, often with a noticeable bulge at the base.
  6. Leaves: Pinnate (feather-like) leaves that can reach lengths of 3 to 5 meters (10-16 feet).
  7. Leaflets: Numerous leaflets arranged in a V-shape along the central rachis (leaf stem).
  8. Fruit: Small, oval-shaped drupes that turn from green to orange-brown as they ripen.
  9. Edibility: Fruits are technically edible but not commonly consumed due to their fibrous texture.
  10. Flowers: Small, pale yellow flowers arranged in large, branched inflorescences.
  11. Fragrance: Flowers emit a subtle scent, not particularly strong or noticeable.
  12. Lifespan: Can live for several decades, with some specimens surviving for over a century.
  13. Growth Rate: Relatively slow-growing compared to other palms, especially in cooler climates.
  14. Hardiness: Hardy to USDA zones 9b-11, tolerating mild frosts but preferring warmer climates.
  15. Habitat: Thrives in coastal areas and Mediterranean climates with well-drained soil.
  16. Uses: Primarily grown as an ornamental plant for landscaping and garden decoration.
  17. Resilience: Can withstand strong winds and moderate drought conditions once established.
  18. Pests and Diseases: Generally resistant to pests and diseases, though susceptible to root rot in poorly drained soils.
  19. Propagation: Propagated from seeds, which can take several months to germinate.
  20. Cultural Significance: Symbolizes luxury and tropical ambiance in architectural and landscape design.
  21. Historical Use: Historically used by the Guanche people of the Canary Islands for various purposes, including shelter and food.
  22. Global Distribution: Found in Mediterranean climates worldwide, including parts of Europe, California, and Australia.
  23. Maintenance: Requires periodic pruning of dead fronds and regular fertilization to maintain vigor and appearance.
  24. Economic Value: Generates economic benefits through tourism and horticulture industries in regions where it is cultivated.
  25. Environmental Impact: Provides habitat and food for wildlife, enhancing biodiversity in urban and suburban areas.
  26. Symbolism: Represents resilience and endurance, adapting to diverse environmental conditions.
  27. Aesthetic Appeal: Adds a tropical touch to gardens, parks, and urban landscapes with its lush foliage and striking silhouette.
  28. Architectural Integration: Often planted near buildings and streets for its aesthetic and functional benefits, such as shade and wind protection.
  29. Cultural Associations: Featured in art, literature, and film as a symbol of exoticism and paradise.
  30. Conservation: Recognized as an important cultural and ecological resource, prompting conservation efforts in its native habitat.

These facts highlight the Canary Island palm's significance, versatility, and enduring appeal in both natural and cultivated environments around the world.


Canary Island Palm trees filmed in Penzance, Cornwall on the 8th June 2024.


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