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Useful Temperate Plants

Chamaerops humilis

L.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Chamaerops arborescens (Pers.) Steud.

Chamaerops bilaminata Gentil

Chamaerops conduplicata J.Kickx f.

Chamaerops elegans Hook.f.

Chamaerops macrocarpa Tineo

Phoenix humilis (L.) Cav.

Common Name: Mediterranean Fan Palm

No Image.

General Information

Chamaerops humilis is a spiny, evergreen, shrubby palm that produces one to many short, unbranched trunks topped by a cluster of fan-shaped leaves. 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 6 metres tall with a trunk up to 35cm in diameter[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
].
The plant is the source of a good quality fibre, and is often found growing in extensive wild stands. It has been harvested on a large scale in N. Africa, where it is also sometimes cultivated. The plant is also harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of fibre, and is often grown as an ornamental.
Populations of Chamaerops humilis are declining in parts of its range as a result of urbanisation, but declines are not thought to reach the threshold for a threatened category. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2017)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.

Range

Western and central Mediterranean - Portugal and Spain to Italy, Morocco to Libya.

Habitat

Mainly in coastal and subcoastal areas, growing amongst shrubs and on scrubland, often on nutritionally poor, dry sandy or rocky soils on mountain slopes; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
89
Title
Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Huxley. A.
Publisher
Hogarth Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7012-0784-1
Description
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
,
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height1.50 m
Growth RateSlow
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Semi-cultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Chamaerops humilis is one of the most cold-hardy palms, known to tolerate short periods with temperatures falling as low as -10°c. It will not tolerate recurring bouts of freezing over several days, however, nor does it survive freezing of the root system. It is a plant of semi-arid regions in a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, moist to wet wnters[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
231
Title
Palms for Cooler Climates.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Trebah Enterprises.
Year
1993
ISBN
0 9521952 0 8
Description
An excellent little booklet on the subject, though it does not mention many plant uses.
]..
Easily grown in a rich strong loam enriched with leafmold and sand[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Plants grow in poor dry soils in the wild[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Requires very good drainage with abundant moisture in the summer and a sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Another report says that plants grow well in dry conditions and are drought tolerant[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
]. Tolerates low light levels and can be grown in the home[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Requires a position sheltered from the wind and cold[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
].
The plant is slow-growing but long-lived, with some specimens believed to be more than 100 years old[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
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
Title
Palms for Cooler Climates.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Trebah Enterprises.
Year
1993
ISBN
0 9521952 0 8
Description
An excellent little booklet on the subject, though it does not mention many plant uses.
]. 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
Title
Palms for Cooler Climates.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Trebah Enterprises.
Year
1993
ISBN
0 9521952 0 8
Description
An excellent little booklet on the subject, though it does not mention many plant uses.
]. 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
Title
Palms for Cooler Climates.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Trebah Enterprises.
Year
1993
ISBN
0 9521952 0 8
Description
An excellent little booklet on the subject, though it does not mention many plant uses.
]. Another report says that this species dislikes root disturbance[
132
Title
Fruits of the Earth.
Publication
 
Author
Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
].
Some botanists recognise a sub-species, Chamaerops humilis arborescens (Pers.)Steud. (a taller growing form), and also a cultivar 'Nana' which is smaller than the type and produces 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
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Young leaf buds, known as palm hearts are cooked as a vegetable[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
,
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.
]. The palm heart (the inner core and growing bud of the plant) is harvested. It provides a crispy food, rich in nutrients, that can be eaten raw or cooked. Harvesting the heart will lead to the death of the stem it was harvested from, though in multi-stemmed plants such as this the rest of the plant will continue to grow and often produce new stems[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The young shoots or suckers from the bottom of the plant are also used[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Fruit - dried[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Rich in tannins, they have an astringent taste[
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.
].
Heart of palm dates are astringent because they are rich in tannins. The leaves are used for their fibers (vegetable hair) to make utensils such as brooms, baskets, hats or cloths. The apical bud (palm heart) and the young spathes (fig, fig or jiga em Andulacía) are edible. It is also used as an ornamental.

Medicinal

The plant (part not specified) has been used t treat conditions such diabetes, gastric pain and constipation[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Plants have been used to form hedges in Mediterranean areas[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
].

Other Uses

A strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for cordage and brushes[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
89
Title
Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Huxley. A.
Publisher
Hogarth Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7012-0784-1
Description
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
,
100
Title
Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1969
ISBN
0192176218
Description
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
,
231
Title
Palms for Cooler Climates.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Trebah Enterprises.
Year
1993
ISBN
0 9521952 0 8
Description
An excellent little booklet on the subject, though it does not mention many plant uses.
]. The whole leaf can be used in weaving.
The fibres in the leaves (known as crin vegetal, or vegetable hair) are used to make utensils such as brooms, baskets, hats or cloths[
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.
].

The leaves are used in local handicrafts for weaving baskets etc[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]

Propagation

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
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. Sown in a warm greenhouse, the seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 months (but can take longer) at 25°c[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. The seed produces a long root some time before a shoot appears above ground and it can be potted up at this time[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
]. 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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-10-07. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Chamaerops+humilis>

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