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Chamaerops humilis - L.

Common Name Dwarf Fan Palm, European fan palm, Hair Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm
Family Arecaceae or Palmae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Nutritionally poor, dry sandy or rocky soils on mountain slopes to 1000 metres[50, 89, 166, 200].
Range Europe - Mediterranean.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Chamaerops humilis Dwarf Fan Palm, European fan palm, Hair Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm
Chamaerops humilis Dwarf Fan Palm, European fan palm, Hair Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm


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

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Chamaerops humilis is an evergreen Tree growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to June. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses:

Very young leaf buds are cooked as a vegetable[46, 61, 105, 183]. The young shoots or suckers from the bottom of the plant are also used[2, 183]. Fruit - dried[177, 183]. No further details.


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.

None known


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Other Uses

Fibre  Hedge  Hedge

A strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for cordage and brushes[46, 61, 89, 100, 171, 231]. The whole leaf can be used in weaving. Plants have been used to form hedges in Mediterranean areas[260].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Hedge  Hedge


Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Pest tolerant, Massing, Specimen. Easily grown in a rich strong loam enriched with leafmold and sand[1]. Plants grow in poor dry soils in the wild[200]. Requires very good drainage with abundant moisture in the summer and a sunny position[1, 11]. Another report says that plants grow well in dry conditions and are drought tolerant[260]. Tolerates low light levels and can be grown in the home[200]. Requires a position sheltered from the wind and cold[166]. This species tolerates occasional short-lived lows down to about -10°c[200, 231]. It will not tolerate recurring bouts of freezing over several days, nor does it survive freezing of the root system[231]. Plants are hardy in the milder areas of Britain, succeeding from S. Hampshire south and westwards[1, 11, 59]. Plants growing outdoors at Kew fruited in October 1989[K]. 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]. Another report says that this species dislikes root disturbance[132]. Some botanists recognise a sub-species C. humilis arborescens (Pers.)Steud. (a taller growing form) and a cultivar 'Nana' which is smaller than the type and suckers. It is likely that these are no more than phenotypes and that this variety of habit can be induced in cultivation, plants in stressful situations such as near the coast duplicating the 'Nana' form whilst plants in optimum conditions are more like sub-species arborescens[200]. Plants in the wild are usually found in poor soils and seldom exceed 1.5 metres tall. When grown in better soils in gardens, however, they can grow up to 5 metres tall[260]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, 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!
  • 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.


Temperature Converter

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Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe, the old seed can be slow and difficult to germinate. Scarification or pre-soaking stored seed for 1 - 2 days can be helpful[133]. Sown in a warm greenhouse, the seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 months (but can take longer) at 25°c[133]. The seed produces a long root some time before a shoot appears above ground and it can be potted up at this time[164]. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Suckers, removed in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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

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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