Well known in popular culture as the backdrop of deserted islands and glamorous warm climate cities, palms are trees, shrubs and scrambling climbers in the botanical family Arecaceae. They are found throughout the world’s tropical and subtropical regions, with a majority of species being found in moist forests, but extending into Mediterranean and desert landscapes as well. Los Angeles is home to many ornamental palm species, such as the iconic Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta) from oases in the central desert of Baja California, Mexico. The nearest wild native palm is the California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) which can be found in desert oases throughout Southeast California.

Our palm garden occupies a sloping hill in the center of the Garden. Over 30 species can be seen from many parts of the world. Highlights include the characteristically swollen trunked Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis) and the spiny fiber palm (Trithrinax acanthocoma) from South America. In addition to these large palm specimens, the Garden maintains a diverse collection of Chamadorea palms along the stream in an area adjacent to the Palm Garden. This group of tropical American palms thrives in moist, shady conditions.


The UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a promoter of nature at a California land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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