Description: Palm-tree, stems solitary, erect, grey, partly or completely covered with persistent leaf bases and marcescent dry leaves forming conspicuous skirt around trunk.
Leaves: sheath fibers soft; abaxial hastula (flap of tissue from petiole apex at junction with surface of blade) absent; adaxial hastula irregularly shaped, margin becoming tattered, fibrous; costa (midrib) prominent; blade costapalmate (intermediate between palmate and pinnate), induplicate; segments lanceolate, basally connate, bearing fibers between segments; apices 2-cleft or irregularly tattered into fibers; petiole split at base, conspicuously armed with teeth along margins, sometimes unarmed in tall plants.
Inflorescence axillary within crown of leaves, paniculate, much branched, arching beyond leaves; rachis bracts very conspicuous, tubular at base, distally flattened and leathery, long; rachillae glabrous. Flowers bisexual, borne singly along rachillae, short-pedicellate; perianth 2-seriate; petals 3; stamens 6; carpels 3; styles fused.
Fruit a drupe.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 2 species, both native to western North America and north west Mexico. Australia: 1 species (naturalised).
|One species in NSW: Washingtonia robusta|