Where does the heart of palm grow in Spain?

The heart of palm is native to Spain

Image – Wikimedia/Olaf Tausch // Heart of palm in the Sierra de Tramuntana (Mallorca).

The palmetto is one of the two palm trees native to Spain, along with the Canary palm tree. But unlike this one, it has a lower size, more than a single stem (false trunk), and fan-shaped leaves. Why? Because it has had a different evolution, since its habitat is a little different.

And it is that plants, like animals, adapt as best they can to the place where they live, doing things that have served their ancestors hand in hand with genetics, because it is there, in the genes, where they are recorded. all the improvement mechanisms that have been happening since they began to evolve. That's why, the palmetto in Spain is an amazing palm tree, as it is capable of withstanding summers that, in addition to being hot, can also be very dry.

What is the heart of palm called in Spain?

The palm is a multicaule palm

Image – Wikimedia/ANE // Palmetto in the Sierra de Cabo de Gata (Almería).

The heart of palm is a plant that receives many names depending on the province, such as: margalló, garballó, palmereta de secà, dwarf palm tree, palm tree, date palm, palm tree, palm tree, palmetto palm, broom palm, margallón, escobilla, or tamaras, among others.

As you can see, there are many, that's why it is important to know the scientific name, since there is only one which, moreover, is universal. Is this: Chamaerops humilis.

Chamaerops humilis, salinity resistant palm
Related article:
What types of palm trees can we find in Spain?

Varieties of palm

Two varieties are known Chamaerops humilis, but you must bear in mind that they are NOT native to Spain. Now, for this article to be more complete, we want you to know them because they are also very beautiful:

Chamaerops humilis var cerifera

The blue palmetto is African

Image - Wikimedia / MPF

Also known as Atlas Mountain palm, or blue palmetto, it is a plant that grows in northwest Africa. As we can deduce from its name, its leaves are bluish (rather glaucous) and it prefers mountainous regions.

Like the Spanish heart of palm, it reaches a height of approximately 5 meters, with stems about 30 centimeters thick.

Chamaerops humilis var vulcano

The Chamaerops humilis vulcano has no spines

Image - Flickr / Scott Zona

The 'vulcano' is a thornless fan palm that grows in southern Italy. It has a more compact size, reaching a maximum length of 2 meters. Its leaves are green on the upper side and somewhat pubescent on the underside.

The truth is an ideal plant to grow in a garden that is enjoyed by children and / or animals.

Where does the heart of palm grow in Spain?

The heart of palm is native to the Mediterranean region, where it grows in the driest regions. In our country we find it in the south and southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as in the Balearic Islands.. It is a common species of the Sierra de Cabo de Gata, in Almería.

But, it is also very present on the island where I was born, Mallorca, specifically, in the Sierra de Tramuntana, where it grows in pine forests, thickets, and a few meters from the sea.

What uses is it given?

The palmetto is an ornamental palm

Image – Flickr/Jesús Cabrera // Heart of palm cultivated as an ornamental plant in the Canary Islands.

It is a palm tree that has several uses, which are the following:

  • Products: Being a plant with thorns, it serves as protection for the native fauna, since it serves as a refuge. Also, the fruits serve as food for many animals, such as rabbits or badgers.
  • Ornamental: It is widely used as an ornamental plant in gardens, since it hardly needs any type of care.
  • Edible: both the fruits and the heart (heart of palm) are suitable for consumption. Now, you should know that the extraction of the heart of palm ends with the palm tree.
  • Other uses: the leaves are fibrous, so these fibers are used to make brooms, ropes and also as padding.

What are the basic needs of hearts of palm?

If you would like to have this palm tree in your garden, below I will explain what its needs are so that you know how to take care of it in the best possible way:

Direct sun

If you can give it throughout the day, the better. It is a palm tree that will not be able to grow well in the shade, so it is very, very important to place it in a place where it receives the sun's rays directly from when it is young, even from when it is a seedling.

water, but little

It is one of the palm trees that resist drought without difficulty, but for that it must be planted in the ground; that is, a heart of palm grown in a pot will have to be watered from time to time, otherwise it will dry out. Therefore, although it lives in places where a minimum of 300mm of precipitation falls per year, if we have it in a container we will water it a couple of times a week during the summer, and less the rest of the year; and if it is in the garden, during the first months it will be convenient to water it once a week.

soil with good drainage

The heart of palm does not support excess water in its roots. For this reason, we should not plant it in compact or heavy soils. And if it is going to be in a pot, we will fill it with a mixture of peat and perlite in equal parts, or with a universal growing substrate that you can buy here!.

Mild weather

El Chamaerops humilis It is a Mediterranean palm tree, therefore, it needs a temperate climate. It can withstand frost down to -7ºC and high temperatures up to 42ºC (if it has some water), but it is also important that the relative humidity of the air is high.

The palm is a multicaule palm

Image - Wikimedia / Hans Hillewaert

We hope you have found interesting what we have told you about the heart of palm in Spain.


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