The Chinese Windmill Palm, native to China, is one of the hardiest palm trees and is found all over the world. This palm is easy to cultivate and adapts to a multitude of climates from very cold to tropical environments. The palm generally grows to a height of between 12 to 20 m with a stem diameter of 15 – 30 cm. It has an attractive, compact crown that can spread to 2.5 m. The hairy, matted trunk can be stripped bare to show a more exotic character and this will not impact the growth of the tree. Trachycarpus fortunei has fan-shaped fronds and the tree is named for the shape of the leaf.
Flowers appear annually within the crown of leaves and are typically yellow or tan in colour. When pollinated, the female palms produce hundreds of black, kidney-shaped seeds in large bunches looking somewhat like grapes. The germinated seeds are spread by birds all over the garden.
The Chinese Windmill Palm is a superb architectural tree and is often used to soften the outlines of buildings. This versatile palm can be containerised as a houseplant or planted poolside for a tropical feel.