Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm, windmill palm or Chinese windmill palm) is a palm native to central China (Hubei southwards), south to northern Burma and northern India, growing at altitudes of 100–2,400 m. It is a fan palm, placed in the family Arecaceae, subfamily Coryphoideae, tribe Trachycarpeae.
Trachycarpus fortunei grows to 12–20 m tall on a single stem the diameter of which is up to 15–30 centimetres. The trunk is very rough with the persistent leaf bases clasping the stem as layers of coarse fibrous material. It is a fan palm with the leaves with the long petiole bare except for two rows of small spines, terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets; each leaf is 140–190 centimetres long, with the petiole 60–100 centimetres long, and the leaflets up to 90 centimetres long.
It is a somewhat variable plant, especially as regards its general appearance and some specimens are to be seen with leaf segments having straight and others having drooping tips. The flowers are yellow (male) and greenish (female), about 2–4 millimetres ] across, borne in large branched panicles up to 1 metre long in spring; it is dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate trees. The fruit is a yellow to blue-black, reniform (kidney-shaped) drupe 10–12 millimetres long, ripening in mid autumn.
Trachycarpus fortunei has been cultivated in China and Japan for thousands of years, for its coarse but very strong leaf sheath fibre, used for making rope, sacks, and other coarse cloth where great strength is important. The extent of this cultivation means that the exact natural range of the species is uncertain.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.