Washingtonia filifera H.Wendl.
Bot.Zeit. 37:68 (1879)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Helen Coleman, Thursday 30 April 1998

Tree-like monocot (palm), 12-25 m high, dense crown of fan-shaped, palmate leaves, old leaves forming "shag" below. Riverine deltas and floodplains.


Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, Northern Province, South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Pilbara, Swan Coastal Plain, Victoria Bonaparte.

IBRA Subregions: Chichester, Hamersley, Perth, Roebourne, Victoria Bonaparte P1.

IMCRA Regions: Central West Coast.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Ashburton, Joondalup, Karratha, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Wanneroo, Wyndham-East Kimberley.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Monday 18 July 2016

General Biology. Growth form. Tree. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Water, rodents, birds, mammals, contaminated mulch. Time to first flowering. 9+ years. Vegetative regeneration strategy. Does not resprout or produce root suckers. Seedbank persistence. Soil, short/medium, days - 6 years. Fire response. Fire resistant, fire removes the dead thatch material but plants are rarely killed. Fire encourages flowering and fruit production.

Notes. Highly adaptable, growing in a range of climates and soil types. Drought tolerant when fully established. Readily fruits and germinates easily. Seedling recruitment often occurs in a flush during wet years. Hybridises with W. robusta to form Washingtonia x filabusta. Can form dense thickets. Very hardy, drought and frost tolerant. Fruit allelopathically inhibits germination and growth of other species under laboratory conditions.

Additional information. Origin. South-western USA, north-western Mexico. History of use/introduction. Garden escape, widely planted as a landscape ornamental. Similar exotic species. Washingtonia robusta.

Suggested method of management and control. Hand pull seedlings and small plants. Cut older plants at base when not in fruit. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecComments
FloweringYYO       OY 
Fruiting  YYYY       
Germination      UYYY   
Optimum TreatmentYYYYYYYYYYYY 

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Howard, J.L. (1992) Washingtonia filifera. In U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System. URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants - Accessed December 2007.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Navie, S. & Adkins, S. (2008) Environmental Weeds of Australia, An interactive identification and information resource for over 1000 invasive plants. Centre for Biological Information Technology, The University of Queensland.
  • Randall, R.P. (2002) A global compendium of weeds. R.G. & F.J. Richardson, Melbourne.
  • Starr, F., Starr, K. & Loope, L. (2003) Washingtonia spp. Mexican fan palm and California fan palm. United States Geological Survey - Biological Resources Division, Haleakala Field Station, Maui, Hawaii. URL: http://www.hear.org/Pier/pdf/pohreports/ - Accessed July 2008.
  • The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (2004) California Fan Palm. The Living Desert Palm Desert / Indian Wells California. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, California. http://www.livingdesert.org/plants/california_fan_palm.asp.

Project information and acknowledgements