Recently, I’ve heard the palm trees were a type of grass, and also I to be curious to discover more. So, i did some research. Here’s what i found.

You are watching: Is a palm tree a tree or grass

Palm trees are not technically grass, but they space both family members of the very same group, dubbed monocots. Grasses belong come the Poaceae family, if palms belong come the Arecaceae family. So, they space in same standing, just in different families. Palm tree are connected closer to lilies and also orchids than they space to grass.

So, if palm tree aren’t technically grass, what makes them similar, and also why aren’t palm trees, well, trees? Let’s take a closer look.

How are Palm Trees similar to Grass?


Palm trees are similar to grass in that they’re both grouped together monocots. When they are in separate genetic families, you deserve to think that palm trees as really tall grass or flower plants. On the other hand, dicots encompass most of the vegetables, fruit trees, and also woody tree we commonly know.

One particle leafTwo seed leaves
Lack a vascular cambiumHave a vascular cambium (woody stems)
Fibrous rootsTap source system
Veins in the leaves are parallelLeaf veins space net or weblike
Flowers come in ones and also threesFlowers come in ones, fours, and also fives
Grasses and also palm trees are examples of monocots, if dicots include fruit trees, oaks, elm, rose, and also more. (source)

One that the best differences in between monocots and also dicots is the the sprouted seed for monocots only grow one leaf (hence the surname “mono”), if dicot seeds thrive two leaves.

You could have noticed this as soon as you seed her lawn vs when you seeds vegetables. The grass in your lawn just sprouts one, vertical leaf, when the veggies sprout two.

Another example of this is wheatgrass vs microgreens. Wheatgrass grows one initial leaf as soon as sprouting, when microgreens (baby execution of tree such as radish) have two early leaves before they prosper more.

Wheatgrass (monocot) vs microgreens (dicot).

Another big difference in between monocots and dicots is their leaves. Palm trees have leaf veins that grow in parallel, while tree such as oak have actually veins the grow likewise to a spiderweb.

Palm tree leaf contrasted to one oak leaf.

Other differences in between palm trees and other “real” trees are fibrous roots, various flower sets, and also the absence of a vascular cambium (what makes wood).

So, botanically speaking, palms are big grass. However, when discussing plants in the landscape, numerous palms are quite tall therefore they room designated together trees to different them from shrubs and also ground covers.

Tampa just Times

In the end, palm trees room not a form of grass, but they space genetically closer 보다 they room to woody trees such together oak. For simplicity, palm trees are frequently labeled as a grass.

For more context, right here are the close relatives of palm trees:

GrassesSedgesGrains (such as corn and rice)BambooLiliesOrchards

Do Palm Trees have Rings?

The inside of a palm tree’s trunk.

Palm trees don’t have actually rings, but instead have actually trunks through large, tube-like cells. This is since they absence a vascular cambium. As a result, rather of cultivation wood through rings, they thrive fibrous, spongey, and also wet trunks. This also makes lock extremely challenging to cut down and dry out.

“Some monocots appear to it is in woody, such together palm trees, yet the wood-like trunk is in reality an accumulation of sheet bases.”

If you’ve ever before pulled apart a piece of grass, you’d watch that there’s no woody structure, but instead, one the is fibrous and wet. You can even be able to see the huge plant cells within of the grass. Palm trees are similar.

These large, tubular cell in palm trees space what assist transfer nutrients and water up v the tree as it grows. ~ above the other hand, the vascular cambium from woody tree is much denser and also takes longer to grow.

The vascular cambium layer is the inner class of cell growth between the tree’s bark and wood. End time, new layers of cambium form rings in the tree’s trunk. Due to the fact that palm trees absence cambium, castle cannot flourish rings or true “wood”.

Also, when a lawn is cut, the high amount of moisture provides the blades of grass stick together easily. This is a similar experience of acquisition a chainsaw to a palm tree—a wet, difficult mess.

Because of this, plenty of landscapers often have to go through multiple chainsaw chisels to successfully reduced down palm trees.

What supports the Palm Tree’s Height and Weight?

Palm trees prosper as tall as they do as result of support from their vast and shallow roots and large plant cells, which contain high quantities of lignin. If woody trees space rigid and can snap under enough pressure, palm trees remain flexible and also can bend in the wind.

Palms count on overlapping sheet bases, thickened enlarged cells, and also prop root to remain up. This strategy is also used by cycads and also tree ferns.

University of California Museum the Paleontology

Even though palm trees aren’t woody favor true trees, their grassy nature and also fibrous roots are vital in exactly how stable they space at together a large height.

Palm trees frequently reach 30-50 feet tall, and while this pales in compare to tree such together oaks (commonly reaching 50-100 feet in height), palm trees flourish much faster and are better suited to survive solid winds.

This is since the palm tree’s tubular and huge cells substantially increase the versatility of the tree. On the various other hand, woody trees, such as oak, have the right to simply snap given enough pressure (usually either from its very own weight or the wind).

This reminds me of some cartoons as soon as they’d jump on a palm tree, bending it over to the ground, only for it to bounce earlier and catapult them away.

Additionally, numerous trees such together pine, birch, and fir prefer to flourish in woodlands where they can not only connect their roots and share nutrients yet lean top top each various other in time of solid winds. To compare this to palm trees, which can grow on your own as well as in groups.

So, when palm trees may not have actually “true” wood, your grass-like structure (containing plenty of lignin) and many shallow roots assist them extremely at resisting wind and also standing alone.

absence of conventional structure is what provides the palm that is flexibility and also makes the supremely adjusted … come the gentle island breezes the periodically coalesce right into ruthless hurricanes.

Hope Jahren, Geochemist, author of rap Girl

In the end, palm tree are extremely flexible and also aren’t most likely at all to break. Instead, it’s much more likely because that them to acquire uprooted native soaked, softened ground or flooding—removing the soil and exposing your shallow roots.

Where space Palm Trees native To?

Palm trees are aboriginal to tropical and also subtropical regions including the Caribbean, south America, and also some locations of the south Pacific and also southern Asia. While they can prosper in many climates, they favor moist and hot regions, generally including wet, lowland forests.

You deserve to trace palm trees’ origins earlier to areas of India, north Africa, south-east Asia, and the south Pacific islands.

Can girlfriend Burn Palm Tree Wood?

Palm trees have the right to be it is in burned, but they have actually a high water content and also quick burn rate, so they don’t make great firewood. Because that this reason, they create a lot of smoke and also take a lengthy time to dry out. As result of their grass-like structure, cutting palm trees down with a chainsaw deserve to burn through knives quickly.

If you shot to burn palm trees the aren’t completely dried, it will certainly likely cause a lot of smoke. This is since of the high quantity of fiber and water in the tree. What you obtain by burn palmwood is frequently the same an outcome as if you burned grass–lots that smoke and short fuel.

See more: What Was The Main Cause Of The Increased Productivity In The 1950S? ?

For more information around using palm trees for firewood, check out my recent post: can You usage Palm Trees for Firewood?.