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Trachycarpus fortunei - (Hook.)H.Wendl.

Common Name Chusan Palm, Chinese windmill palm, Windmill Palm
Family Arecaceae or Palmae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Montane oak forests to 2400 metres[200].
Range E. Asia - C. and E. China.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Trachycarpus fortunei Chusan Palm, Chinese windmill palm, Windmill Palm

Trachycarpus fortunei Chusan Palm, Chinese windmill palm, Windmill Palm


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Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Palm, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Trachycarpus fortunei is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from August to September. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


T. excelsus. Chamaerops fortunei. C. excelsus.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Young flower buds - cooked[2, 105, 178]. Used like bamboo shoots[183]. The fresh flowers and terminal bud are also apparently consumed[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Contraceptive  Haemostatic

The flowers and the seed are astringent and haemostatic[147, 218]. The root or the fruit is decocted as a contraceptive[147, 218]. The ashes from the silky hairs of the plant are haemostatic[147, 218]. Mixed with boiling water they are used in the treatment of haemopytsis, nose bleeds, haematemesis, blood in stools, metrorrhagia, gonorrhoea and other venereal diseases[147].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  Weaving

The fibres cloaking the trunk are used to make ropes and cloth[11, 46, 61]. The fibres from within the leafstalk are used for making brushes, ropes, coarse cloth etc[231]. A matting is made from the bark admixed with some of the stem fibres[178]. The leaves are woven into hats, rough coats and fans[46, 61, 178].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Industrial Crop: Wax  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Specimen, Woodland garden. Requires a rich moist but well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[188, 231], especially from the cold drying winds of the north and east[11]. Individual leaves live for about 3 years and, if they are damaged by wind will make the plant look very shabby as well as reducing its potential for photosynthesis[231]. This species is generally hardy in the southern and western part of Britain. When mature, plants have been known to survive occasional temperatures as low as -18°c[11, 231, 260] though younger plants are more tender and can be damaged by temperatures down to about -8°c, especially if the plant is not sheltered from cold winds[200, 260].Very young plants should be given some protection during their first winter or two outdoors[11] . A fairly slow-growing plant, though it self-sows in S.W. England[11]. Widely cultivated throughout China, Japan and S.E. Asia for the fibres within the leaf stalk[231]. Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants[231]. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates[231]. Palms can also be transplanted even when very large. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established - removing many of the leaves can also help[231]. The flowers are sweetly scented[231]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Industrial Crop: Wax  Water resistant, malleable substances. Currently, most commercial wax is made from paraffin - a fossil fuel.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plant Propagation

Scarify or pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water then sow in a cold frame in mid to late winter. Bring into the greenhouse about 4 - 6 weeks later and the seed should germinate in about 4 - 8 weeks at 25°c[133]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Pot up suckers in late spring and plant out in their permanent position 12 months later.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Trachycarpus martianus Tree12.0 7-10 SLMHSNM222

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Sun Nov 11 2007

There are many more varieties about Trachycarpus fortunei varieties from China

More Trachycarpus fortunei varieties from China Trachycarpus fortunei cv Tesan, Trachycarpus fortunei var Winsan, Trachycarpus fortunei var Misan.

   Sun Jan 30 17:02:50 2005

I believe this data to be inaccurate, Trachycarpus fortunei is monoecious not dioecious as stated above.

Ann   Tue Feb 21 2006

our company can supply trachycarpus fortunei ia 1-3, and we have already exported it to germany, holand and so on, our company can supply more and more reopic plant . if you interesting in them. pls sent email to me. I will supply some information. and you may enter into our webpage. you will find more and more our products. looking forward to your ealiest reply. best regards Ann [email protected] www.yuanmao-gardening.com

William Nana Akrofi   Sun Mar 19 2006

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Laraine Birtles   Thu May 3 2007

mine is in flower now for the first time and it is May.Is this unusual?

John Pedersen   Wed Feb 11 2009

Palms in Denmark / Silkeborgpalmer A exotic garden in Denmark / Silkeborg

GardenTreesNursery.com   Thu Jul 16 2009

Buy Trachicarpus Fortunei at http://www.trachycarpusfortunei.com

Trachycarpus Fortunei Nursery Buy cold resistant palm trees

peter mitchell   Thu Jul 23 2009

how deep and strong are the roots of fortunei. as there is a drain under mine. 1 mtr??

david (volunteer)   Sat Aug 15 2009

I don't know much about drains but the roots of this palm are "shallow rooted (and can be transplanted quite easily)" source: Botanica page 893

Bill   Mon Dec 7 2009

Mine has just flowered for the first time - in December! I live in Surrey, UK on the North Downs - the trachycarpus is planted in a reasonably sheltered spot. Is flowering in winter going to cause it problems? Should I remove the flower stems?

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