The Palms of Naples Botanical Garden
The Palms are one of the most useful groups of plants in the world. Almost all are native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the world where they are used for food, fiber, crafts, shelter and landscapes – even medicine!
With over 2600 species of palms in the world they can be found in all shapes and sizes and growing in habitats from deserts to tropical rainforests and even in standing water. Naples Botanical Garden has over 200 species of palms in its collection. This guide will introduce you to just a few of the palms you’ll find throughout the Garden.
Smith Children’s Garden
The entrance of the Children’s Garden is covered by an arch of Florida’s native Saw Palmetto, Serenoa palmetto. These palms are estimated to be over 60 years old.
They are called saw palmetto because of the cutting edges of their petioles, the stem that connects the leaf to the trunk. The extract from the fruits have multiple medicinal uses and have been used in the treatment of prostate issues.
Some of the most prominent plants throughout the Brazil Garden are the American Oil Palms, Attalea spp. The feather duster-like form of these palms provides a dramatic skyline to the Brazil Garden. The inner part of the fruit is similar to a small coconut which, in their native regions, is cooked down for its coconut-like oil which is used for cooking. The leaves are often used for thatching. The Mule Palm, x Butyagrus nabonnandii is a hybrid between Jelly Palm and a Queen Palm. The name Mule Palm comes from the fact that it is sterile.
A little further down the path is the Jelly Palm, Butia capitata. The jelly palm get its name from the sweet flesh of the fruit which can be eaten fresh or turned into jam.
Kapnick Caribbean Garden
The Old Man Palm, Coccothrinax crinita, is named from its resemblance to an old man’s beard. This Cuba native is very slow growing and can take up to 10 years to reach just 5 feet. The Puerto Rican Hat Palm, Sabal causiarum, is a towering giant. Even though these two palms are over 40’ tall they were only planted here in 2011. These mature palms were donated to the Garden from a house in downtown Naples. The leaves of this palm are used in its native Puerto Rico for making woven hats.
The Cuban Petticoat Palm, Copernicia macroglossa, is only found growing naturally in Cuba. The unusual petticoat look of this palm is from the leaves that stay attached to the trunk for several years even after the leaves die. The Buccaneer Palm, Pseudophoenix sargentii, grows throughout the northern Caribbean and can even be found in the wild in the Florida Keys. It’s bluish green color, strong form and tolerance of dry conditions makes it a great landscape palm for South Florida gardens.
Scott Florida Garden
The Bismarck Palm, Bismarckia nobilis, native to Madagascar, is one of the most beautiful palms in South Florida landscapes. Its giant silvery blue fronds are truly stunning and its tolerance to drought make it great for those South Florida gardens that are large enough to show it off. Cabbage palm, Sabal palmetto, grows all the way from South Texas, across the Gulf states, into South Florida and even up into the southern coast of North Carolina. It is the state tree of both Florida and South Carolina and can be found of the flags of both states.
Lea Asian Garden
The Sugar Palm, Arenga pinnata, is native to India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines. It gets its name from the sweet sap extracted from the flower spikes which is converted into sugar, wine or vinegar. The black fibers around the trunk of the tree are also used as a traditional thatching material in Java and Bali and can be seen on some of the lanterns in the Asian Garden. Coconut, Cocos nucifera, is the palm that needs no introduction. It grows throughout the world’s tropical regions and its uses are many.
The meat of the coconut fruit is eaten fresh, sweetened or toasted for desserts and snacks or even processed to create a milk-like juice. The water from the coconut is used as a refreshing juice everywhere it is grown. The fiber or coir inside the fruit is becoming more and more popular as a peat moss replacement in horticulture. The inner shell around the meat is often used for carvings, crafts and jewelry. Also, the leaves of the coconut, in addition to providing a shady spot to lounge under, can be used for making thatched roofs.
The main path as you enter the Garden is called the Palm Walk. Here you can see a variety of palms from all over the world.
From Christmas palms, Adonidia merrillii to African Oil Palm, Elaeis guineensis, here you will find palms of all different sizes and varieties so take your time, walk slowly and enjoy all the variety of palms (and other plants) in this area.
Open Daily 9am - 5pm
From US 41 east, take Bayshore Drive south. Travel 1.5 miles to stop sign at Thomasson Drive. Keep straight, staying on Bayshore and enter Garden on the right.
ADA accessible paths through all cultivated gardens, paved paths to birding tower. Scooter rentals are available on a first come first serve basis for $12/day.
Parking available inside of the entrance gate.
Adults - $12.95
Children 4-14 - $7.95
3 and under free
Helpful phone numbers