European fan palm
European fan palm (Eng), palmito (Spa), margalló, bargalló (Cat), astapalma (Baq), palma-das-vassouras (Glg), palmeira-anâ (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The European fan palm is the only palm native to the Iberian Peninsula.
The European fan palm is a shrubby palm that can reach the size of a small tree, up to 4 m tall, exceptionally reaching heights of 8 m, with a diameter of up to 35 cm. In its natural state, the trunk is covered by old dried (marcescent) leaves or their remains. The leaves resemble fans. They are simple, persistent, palmate and very large. The leaf blade is 11-43 cm long and 7-60 cm wide. Approximately three quarters of the leaf radius is divided into very narrow, more or less triangular strips that are accompanied by some brown fibres. They have a spiny leaf stalk that is 8.5-55 cm long and 0.2-1.5 cm wide. The flowers are borne on flowering branches between the leaves. They are protected by a modified leaf or cylindrical spathe that is broader in the central area and which opens when it ripens. The flowers are arranged spirally around the branches and are cream or yellowish in colour. The fruit are brown-reddish, fleshy (dates), 1.2-4 cm long and 0.7-1.6 cm wide.
This palm grows in very sunny dry or arid areas. It is indifferent to the soil type and can take root in very rocky or sandy areas. It can also withstand the salty winds typical of areas close to the sea. It grows in formations known as “palmitares” and lives from sea level up to altitudes of 1100 m.
It is found in the Mediterranean region, from Portugal and Morocco to Malta, although it has also been recorded in Cantabria.