Common Name: Chusan palm, windmill palm
Origin/Ecology: Native to central and eastern China
Habit: Can grow to 20-40′ tall with a solitary trunk, shorter in colder climates (10′ or so).
Leaves: Large fan-shaped dark green leaves (to 3′ wide) push outward in all directions from top of trunk, on 2-3′ long petioles in a form resembling a windmill. Leaves are segmented about half way, with segment tips often drooping.
Leaf Arrangement: spiral
Flowers and Fruit: Attractive yellowish flowers in drooping panicles (to 2′ long) bloom in summer. fFemale flowers (plants are dioecious) give way to dark blue drupes, blueberry-sized, turning green to black by autumn. Seeds are rough-textured.
Bark: Trunk densely covered with hair-like fibers from old leaf sheaths.
Water Use, Soil: Well-drained.
Exposure: Requires some protection from cold, drying winter winds, only hardy to about -20C, but hardiest of all palms. Needs sun.
Landscape Uses: Specimen, small groups, framing entrances, winter interest.
Other Features: Number and size of retained leaves and stiffness of petioles is an indication of age and health. Named for Scottish botanist Robert Fortune.