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Washingtonia robusta H.Wendl.
Family Arecaceae
Common name: Mexican Fan Palm, Washington palm

Washingtonia robusta H.Wendl. APNI*

Description: Palm-tree, to c. 20 m high, trunk erect, usually tapered, to about 80 cm diam., ringed by close leaf scars.

Leaves sometimes with a few dead hanging leaves. Adaxial hastula large, papery, more or less triangular, the margins irregular. fraying with age; leaf blades uniformly shiny green on both surfaces, nearly flat, the free portion of the segments usually drooping. Petioles of juvenile to half-grown trees armed with strong, sharp, orange-brown teeth 10–15 mm long along the full length, some teeth double-pointed; petioles of taller trees often reaching 1.4 m long, the margins entire or with some basal teeth to 3.0–3.5 mm long.

Flowering branches often reaching c. 2.6 m long, arching well beyond the leaves, then drooping with weight of the fruits. Flowers white, short-pedicelled; calyx cupulate, 3-lobed, apices and margins irregular; petals basally connate into tube; stamens adnate briefly to petals; styles connate; stigma inconspicuous.

Fruits ellipsoid, 7.5–10 mm long, blackish when ripe, the thin fleshy pericarp edible and sweet like a date, the fruits mostly falling with the dry, persistent calyx and short pedicel. Seeds 4.7–6.5 mm long, ellipsoid to globose, dark red-brown.

Distribution and occurrence: Recorded as naturalised at the Albury Sewerage Works, Albury.
NSW subdivisions: *SWS
AVH map***

In its native range it is recorded from semi-arid, desert regions, usually forming colonies near water in gorges or canyons. Washingtonia robusta is grown as an ornamental in NSW.

Text by S F McCune (July 2021)
Taxon concept: Flora North America vol 22 (2000)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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