Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)
Location: Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
In my neighborhood, there are more varieties of palms than I can count. In addition to the palms that grow wild here and there, most people use at least a few palms in the landscape around their homes, and hardly anyone plants just one palm species. On our property, the area between our house and the road is planted with assorted palms. In fact we refer to that area as "the palm garden." Our palm garden is composed mostly of Arecas, Triangle Palms, and Royal Palms, with a few examples of other species planted here and there.
The palm in the foreground of this photo is a Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta). It is rather common here on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, partly because it is easy to propagate and grow. In fact, the local bird population plays a big part in propagating these palms. The birds eat the fruit of this palm, which is about the size of a berry. They digest the pulp of the fruit, but not the actual seed, which is very hard. So, the seed is distributed via bird droppings, and some of those seeds sprout where they land.
It's not unusual to see one of these palms sprout in a crack in a sidewalk, the middle of a patch of grass, or a gravel driveway. Some of these 'volunteers' are pulled up and discarded as nuisance plants. Others are rescued and transplanted to more appropriate places. The palm in the photo began as a volunteer near the edge of our driveway. We saw it when it was just a few inches tall, and transplanted it to our palm garden. It's now about 8 ft tall, but probably will turn into a giant over time. There are trees of the same species in our neighborhood that are nearly 100 ft tall.